There’s a lot of fun going on in the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” They involve a guillotine, which breaks and now plays like a pendulum ride; a bank robbery, which means taking the whole bank; and a boat being pulled by ghost sharks.
Unfortunately, the fun ends up being mushed by a story, which splits cantankerously. It involves Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), who promises to break his father’s Will (Orlando Bloom) curse, which left him on the Flying Dutchman. To do that, he must find the legendary Trident, which can break any curse. He ends up being accused of treason, and must rescue the others up for execution: the now drunken pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), and the female astronomer Carina (Kaya Scodelario), who is accused of being a witch.
The reason that otherwise nice set-up ends up leaving you bored and confused is because it involves a cursed pirate Salazar (Javier Bardem), who wants Jack for revenge; and it has Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) leading him to him. Salazar’s deal is that when he attacks ships, he and his crew leave one man alive to tell the tale. Barbossa could be next if he doesn’t bring him to find Jack.
I’ve enjoyed the other “Pirates” movies, some I would like to consider guilty pleasure, but this movie was sort of difficult for me to take it seriously. Depp has a few funny moments, but his character is too wasted for me to read him. You can barely read the villain’s persona, other than his rage. And the insults against the female astronomer have gotten a bit on my nerves.
I’ll always appreciate the sets, water, and production designs of the series, as well as the goofiness it usually offers. And I think Scodelario’s character is both beautiful and smart. But inspite of these bright spots, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” needed more or less.