Dead Men Tell No Tales is a true return to form for the franchise. It is ridiculous and laughable and never for one moment believable and that’s why we love it.
The plot? A young Henry Turner is looking for Neptune’s Trident which will free his father and all those under a curse of the sea.
Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) has been hanging out under the curse of the Flying Dutchman for almost 20 years. His young son will never give up til he has released him from it. But that is far easier said then done. The help of an astronomer who is fleeing the law under the shadow of being condemned to death for being a witch, and an all too familiar pirate who is also fleeing the law under the shadow of being condemned to death for just about every breach of law that there is on the books is exactly what he needs.
What could go wrong?
The answer is, for a Pirates movie, surprisingly little.
Oh of course they get captured and almost die of hanging and the guillotine (still not sure how I feel about laughing about a scene where a man is under threat of being beheaded so gruesomely but they manage it!), and of course they get chased by the Undead Spaniard Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) with revenge on the brain and a British soldier with the might of Britain on the brain, but with the help of old faithful Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who is out to regain his mastery over the sea from the Undead Spaniard, it seems that the only thing truly against the crew is the sea itself and the lack of a master map reader.
Will Turner’s son Henry (Brenton Thwaites) is sadly ineffectual and annoyingly skill-less. He doesn’t know how to swordfight, he is not a seaman, and clearly no-one ever gifted him “Rescuing Your Friends for Dummies”. He does however know all the tales of curses and magic of the sea and that a thing called Neptune’s Trident exists which can free everyone from being cursed by the see and that a map exists that No Man Can Read exists that can lead him to it. This knowledge, in the end, honestly, isn’t a lot of help.
The mysterious Carina (Kaya Scodelario), who has no past and is suffering from both a hefty dose of intelligence and chutzpah that is unappreciated by the powerful, intellectual men around her, is on the run as a witch. She can’t seem to catch a break even from a fellow astronomer she finds herself in the house of. While Will Turners son knows of Neptune’s Trident and of The Map No Man Can Read it’s Carina and the one clue she has from her past that will lead them to it. (Although the use of it’s a woman who can read the map that no man can read, to me, has a clear heritage in Eowyn & the Lord of the Nazgul who no man born of woman can kill from Lord of the Rings, and hence only a woman can kill him.)
Jack (Johnny Depp) is up to his usual ridiculousness that is a combination of too much rum and too much plotonium, his crew can’t decide to love him or leave him and he is a pirate without a ship (kind of). While he certainly is no hero, our heroes would be unable to achieve their goals without him. Johnny Depp continues his mastery of this character that he probably wakes up in the morning with at this point, and should they ever even think of rebooting in the distant future, I will say the shoes would be almost impossible to fill.
The writing and pacing of Dead Men Tell No Tales is quick and clever enough to keep everything moving along. I can only think of one 15 minute section near the end where I actually began to fidget in my seat and look at the clock.
You’ll want to look for the cameo by Sir Paul McCartney and remember to sit all the way through the credits! It may not be a Marvel movie, but just about every movie seems infected by end credit scenes these days.
While Disney won’t yet confirm whether a Pirates 6 is in the making, they have made sure to leave the possibility open.
Conclusion: Go and watch it, I think you’ll like it!