Review: Pirates of the Carribean – Dead men tell mediocre tales

If you haven’t watched a Pirates of the Carribean before, the film is about an alcoholic, homeless man named Jack Sparrow and his quest to run away from unpaid debt he owes to people. Dead Men Tell No Tales, the 5th in the series, is not much different. Claiming to “have not had a wash in years” Jack Sparrow drifts around – wholly indecisive about what he wants to do with his life, except for getting drunk. In a drunkard’s mind, the world probably revolves around him. So, it makes one wonder if all that happens in the story – him robbing a bank (literally pulling the entire building across town by a few horses), him fighting undead pirates (and water-skiing on the back of undead sharks), him being sought by every major and minor character in the story (along with the entire British empire) – is actually only taking place his mind…

But then again, perhaps that is exactly what the movie is going for. It doesn’t quite matter if anything makes sense as long as there are regularly intervaled “holy shit” moments. And there is certainly a crowd for that – the 5 film series has grossed over $4.24bn on total production budget of $1.27bn.

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“… and then the bank just came in and repossessed my house.”

As plots go, the narrative is convoluted and riddled with subplots (7 of them beyond the main plotline, I counted). As I understood it, Jack Sparrow is being hunted by some pirate sea police who is jelly because Jack gets to see more daylight (!?) than him, while Will Turner’s son teams up with a random chick because the plot required a bit of forced romance, and then Captain Barbossa is there as the token bad guy who turns good,  and in the middle of all this Jack’s compass has some secret agenda of its own…. wait what? There’s more story here than the entirety of The Hobbit trilogy. And the thrill of the ride comes only from the epilepsy-inducing pace at which the director shifts from one very convenient plot piece to another.

Having said that, the film offers some great-looking visual effects work. This also surely helps Johnny Depp successfully pull off some unusually athletic stunts – which all look quite unbelievable. But then again, this is a PG-13 film about pirates killing other pirates with never a witty remark missed, so it requires a bit of suspension of disbelief.

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“The dentist said I had a minor porblem with gum bleeding”

Should you see it?

Maybe. But maybe only if you fondly remember the genius of first Pirates film and have now become a bit clingy. Otherwise, if you must see something with pirates, maybe watch something like the real life story of piracy in the brilliant Captain Phillips – with Tom Hanks and sober Somali pirates.

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