Blu-ray Review: “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” Is Contrived And Forced But Still Full Of Laughs

“The plot holes did more damage than the lively action could repair. Humor is not missing, but again the plot holes and forced nature of some parts drag the story down.”


 

Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

Five movies in and Johnny Depp continues to show why he is the King of Pirates as Jack Sparrow. His inspiration for the eccentric pirate, Keith Richards, is not in the movie this time; instead, Paul McCartney shows up as a friendly prisoner. What makes episode five in the Sparrow Saga wonderful, is the return of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Kiera Knightly), albeit their roles are just barely bigger than cameos. Pirates four, despite wonderful actress Penelope Cruz, was a lacking in the people who make the series special. New characters are introduced: Henry Turner (the son of Will and Elizabeth) is played by Brenton Thwaites known for “Gods of Egypt” and “The Giver.” New sassy co-star Carina Smith is played by Kaya Scodelario known for “The Maze Runner.”

What good is a pirate without someone to save, someone chasing them, and a treasure to hunt? While Pirates Five does manage to cover all the mentioned bases, the plot was too contrived to follow in the other films footsteps. Enjoyable yes, but maybe number five should have released straight to DVD instead of contending with the big screen. Johnny holds his own, but the rest of the cast have more of a TV movie aptitude. The 3D adaptation was not well executed and not worth the extra price for the tickets.

Young Henry sets off in his boat to find his detained father in the upside down sea. The audience, previously having been told Will Turner would be released from his bonds after ten years, is being forced to assume he was held a prisoner for some reason known only to the pirates and their crew. Will begs his son to go home and leave him to rot under the sea, but the precocious boy is unwilling to let his father slave on the ship for eternity. Nine years later Henry finds a ship to work on before the ship is overtaken by zombie pirate Salazar (Javier Bardem) on the hunt for Jack Sparrow. He leaves one survivor on the ship, young Henry of course, before gaining the teen’s promise to deliver the thief of the sea to Salazar’s cold, rotting hands.

Already heading to St. Martins to find the infamous troublemaker he believes will help him save his father, Henry finds the Buccaneer in prison for robbing a bank. Also wanted by the British soldiers is a girl perceived to be a witch for her high intelligence and understanding of the stars. Carina finds her way to the hanging plank as Jack makes his way to the new French invention the guillotine. Young Turner swoops in just in time to bungle up the rescue along with Jack’s crew (sans Eyeball and Stupid). The group makes their way to sea with a common purpose: to find Poseidon’s Trident.

The Trident holds power to break every curse in the sea. Carina needs the Trident to be reunited with the father she never met, with only a book by Galileo to know the man loved her before dropping her on the orphanage steps. Sparks fly between Carina and Henry as is common practice in swashbuckling films and for those with a common purpose. For these two, finding daddy is the dream.

Barbossa returns to help muddle the plot. For some unknown reason, he decides to help Salazar find Jack to save his own hide. He seems to have just been tossed in to give the audience a familiar face. Both groups, along with the British constantly at their heels, search the stars for the path to the Trident, while bickering back and forth between them. At one point, Jack finds himself the target of several dead sharks, while the British ship is eaten and spit out by a dead ship; not realistic but highly enjoyable to watch, despite the lack of the “Jaws” soundtrack.

Once on the island leading to the treasure, the race is on to see who will find the Trident first for their personal purposes. Salazar, hoping to return to the land of the living, Henry to save his father, Carina to find her father, and Jack, well, because he is a pirate and wants to protect himself from Salazar, and hunt for buried treasure. The credits end with an Easter Egg showing a potential return of an old adversary.

I’m going to be honest, my favorite part of the film was the return of Orlando Bloom. After that, Jack was highly entertaining, despite his exaggerated drunkenness. The Barbossa plot line was over the top and forced, at best. Henry was a treat for the eyes, but his over-eagerness was annoying. The romance between him and Carina lacked chemistry. I would have preferred a romance for Jack, despite the failed attempt with Penelope Cruz’s character in the last movie. Maybe if he had an “inkling,” he could have left a little in the bottle. The plot holes did more damage than the lively action could repair. Humor is not missing, but again the plot holes and forced nature of some parts (which I am unwilling to reveal to those who have not seen the film) drag the story down. Enjoy the slightly shorter screen time at just over two hours as opposed to the almost three-hour sagas we have become accustomed to; Johnny does fill up the screen quite nicely as a swashbuckler.

Available on Digital HD September 19th & 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray October 3rd


 

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