It has been six years since the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow was seen on the big screen in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Now he is finally back on the big screen in the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (also known as Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge outside of the US). I know that I was curious to see where the franchise could go after the third movie, At World’s End, because the story tied up all the loose ends in my opinion. When I saw On Stranger Tides, I felt as if Disney didn’t know where to take the story after the Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner arc was completed so I wasn’t too sure where this movie could go. So how did Dead Men Tell No Tales stack up against the previous installments?
The story takes place nineteen years after At World’s End, where Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the son of Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Kiera Knightly), embarks on an adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) to find the Trident of Poseidon. This Trident is able to break his father’s curse. We are first introduced to Henry as a ten year old child promising his father that he will break his father’s curse and set him free from The Flying Dutchman. Then flash forward where Henry, now nineteen years old, is warning the captain of the British Royal Navy warship to not sail into the Devil’s Triangle. The captain dismisses Henry’s concerns and states Henry has committed treason and orders for him to be locked up. Not too soon after the British warship enters the Devil’s Triangle, we are introduced to Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his crew. They kill everyone on the ship but leave only one survivor, Henry Turner, so their message can be delivered – Death is coming for Jack Sparrow.
Then we meet Carina Smyth, an astronomer and horologist, who is charged as a witch for her scientific knowledge and is placed in a cell. She manages to escape just to run briefly into Jack, who is attempting to rob a bank with his crew. She also manages to find Henry who has been chained to his bed and sentenced to death for treason. After this, the story of the movie slowly starts to come into focus but it doesn’t really pick up until the middle and the end. The story does take some queues from the first Pirates movie but there are a few missteps along the way such as taking a bit too long to explain why Captain Salazar wants to kill Jack and waiting until near the end to pack in all the action. But overall, the story is better than the fourth movie and a bit more memorable.
As for the characters, Jack Sparrow is up to his same shenanigans, except he doesn’t have The Black Pearl which Blackbeard trapped in a bottle in the previous movie. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is now a wealthy pirate with several other ships since we last saw him in On Stranger Tides, but we do get a glimpse of how his character ticks. Captain Salazar is slightly more memorable, but we don’t see his motivation until about halfway through the movie. Other than that, he is slightly more memorable than Blackbeard, but not by much. His crew is forgettable even though the CGI is amazing. Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann briefly make an appearance in the movie. For the two new protagonists, they’re both very reminiscent of Will and Elizabeth. Henry Turner is slightly different from is father in a sense because he trusts Jack a bit more than his father. Carina Smyth on the other hand, is a bit more feistier than Elizabeth. But as the movie progresses, you start to care about the two new protagonists and you hope that they all make it out of the journey alive and well. Quite frankly, I hope that we’ll see more of Henry and Carina if there are more movies in the franchise because I would love to see how those two character’s progress.
The music is composed by Geoff Zanelli who worked with Hans Zimmer on the previous installments of Pirates. There are lots of reprises from the various themes found in the first three movies. There are some memorable pieces scattered throughout the soundtrack like Salazar and The Power of the Sea. Overall, the soundtrack is very nostalgic with many reprises of the themes found in the first three movies and a few memorable pieces.
Overall, I did enjoy the movie more than the fourth installment. Is it my favorite movie? No, not really, but it is a good movie that works as a soft reboot of the franchise. Personally, my favorites are The Curse of the Black Pearl and At World’s End but this movie ties with Dead Man’s Chest for third place on my favorite Pirates movie list. The movie introduces us to two new characters that are likeable as the story progresses, even if the story does take a bit too long to progress. As for the post-credit scene, it seems that the fifth installment is not the final installment like Disney was marketing it as, but there is possibly a sixth movie on the way to hopefully close out the series. I can only hope that we’ll see the two newcomers make an appearance in the eventual sixth movie along with Will and Elizabeth. In the end, if you’re a Pirates fan, you’ll enjoy the movie, but if you’re not, you may enjoy the movie for it’s action sequences and it’s characters.