Ok so straight up, nobody will ever believe me but five years ago a friend and I had a game where we had to write a premise for a sequel to a big franchise movie, focusing specifically on making it as lame and laughable as possible. Mine was for Pirates 5, unannounced at the time but we knew it was imminent. I thought that doing a storyline about the Trident of Poseidon was the stupidest and the most impractical and confusing element to add to the Pirates lore, and after the exercise was done, we laughed and went on with our lives.
Now, cut to 2017 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is now showing in cinemas. Johnny Depp returns, as does Orlando Bloom (albeit briefly) and Geoffrey Rush, in a story about the new guard; two young twenty-somethings in Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario, both smart and determined individuals – as well as being the most attractive people in the whole Caribbean who are hunting… well… the Trident of Poseidon. Say what you will there, is that a slight on me or on the film? I think the latter.
An abridged review of this film is; better than the fourth (On Stranger Tides), marginally as average as number three (At World’s End) and far below par of the first two instalments. I’m at a loss to pinpoint exactly what doesn’t work about the movie, but it probably has a lot to do with it having $230 million budget – more than the GDP of Kiribati – and to what purpose?
It’s pitifully cartoonish at times, and I’m at pains to remember that these are films based off a theme park ride after all – something that continues to translate into wacky and weird set pieces on screen, going full-on Disney with the zany dialogue and slapstick humour which for anyone over 11 years old will cringe at.
I think I’ve put my finger on it – Jack Sparrow is perhaps the worst part of the whole thing. Belligerent, slurring his words and movements, getting out of any death-defying situation out of pure surreptitious luck or happenstance and adding nothing to the plot except being the driving force of the villain. He has the least amount of growth and is the least interesting to watch and is quite unlikable. It’s a shame that the guy who used to be this series’ meal ticket is now its death notice.
Despite my lambasting of Pirates of the Caribbean 5, I have to say I was impressed with the casting, cinematography and soundtrack. Especially rapt with the passing-of-the-torch from Depp to the younglings and the film doesn’t run too long, getting out just as it needs to. We get a bit of Captain Jack backstory and also tie up loose ends from previous films.
But I must implore the Producers, let this be it – please – no more.
Or you can take the other idea I had for this movie several years ago and add some Nemo and Dory or Ariel from The Little Mermaid and you’ve got a Disney cross-over franchise you can milk for another decade. You’re welcome.