Since elementary school, I have heard many things about “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and have seen dozens of my fellow classmates dress up as Jack Sparrow for Halloween. During those past few years, I have never actually harbored an interest in the series. So, for the longest time, the only three things I knew of the subject were: pirates, Sparrow and a creepy-looking octopus-man, whose name I later learned to be Davy Jones. Because of my fairly limited knowledge regarding the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, I was skeptical about being able to understand the events of the fast-paced, fifth movie of the franchise, “Dead Men Tell No Tales.”
Fortunately, the fact that I was a newcomer to the series did not inconvenience my understanding of the movie in any way. Well, maybe excluding Sparrow’s three or four bad pirate jokes that only viewers of the previous movies would be able to understand. Although it did take a couple of minutes into the movie for the characters and names to sink in, the majority of the plot seemed pretty straightforward.
Unsurprisingly, the movie centers around the spontaneous Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), whose swashbuckling past as a young pirate is revealed piecemeal throughout the packed action. His history serves as an interesting subplot to to the main storyline, in which he and his crew look for Poseidon’s trident — a powerful tool that allows the beholder to control the seas, including its curses. From the start, the audience is introduced to two passionate young characters: dashing Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) — yes, “Turner,” as in the son of the pirate Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) — and Carina Smith (Kaya Scodelario), both of whom find themselves literally bound in ropes to Jack’s ugly disgrace of a ship after causing a ruckus in the isolated Caribbean island of St. Martin; the promising couple eventually become Sparrow’s valuable sidekicks in his precarious and perilous pursuit of the fabled trident. However, acquiring Poseidon’s prize is by no means a small accomplishment, as the boisterous trio and Sparrow’s notably foolish crew must compete with and overcome the infamous Spanish ghost-pirate, Captain Salazar, who seeks to obtain the same treasure.
Although I have not watched enough of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies to be able to fully judge Depp’s acting, it is easy to see the extent to which he is able to convey Sparrow’s multifaceted character even after a lengthy five-year break from the last “Pirates of the Carribean” movie, “On Stranger Tides”; little details like the drunken swagger of Sparrow’s gait to the lazy drawl of his words are perfectly played and add a fresh element of classic humor to the fast-paced plot.
By the end of Sparrow’s exciting and exhausting fifth journey, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” is thankfully not a complete “let-drown” of a franchise addition. Of course, the movie has room for improvement, considering how forced the chemistry between Thwaites and Smith seemed, and that the ending seemed as if the director was trying to tie up loose ends left hanging from the series as a whole into one messy knot. Ultimately, factors like the movie’s creative yet predictable storyline and the inclusion of new characters are what save the fifth movie from falling off the plank.
As the seemingly-invincible Sparrow once said: “[his] spirit will live on.” but preferably without the installment of another movie this time.