Advertisement
  1. Arts & Entertainment

Please, let 'Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales' be the last

In this image released by Disney, Johnny Depp portrays Jack Sparrow in a scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” 
Disney
Published May 24, 2017

Zombie sharks are jumped by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, our fifth and hopefully final ride through Disney's theme park franchise. You can cut in line ahead of me, if you like.

Dead Men Tell No Tales appears to bring closure to a saga cobbled on the fly after 2003's opener genuinely surprised. Back when Capt. Jack Sparrow was a fresh costume for Halloween and Johnny Depp seemed like Brando's second coming. Were we ever so young?

Depp sleep-sashays through the performance this time, reciting beats that were extraordinary three movies ago. Jack's rum-slurred bon mots have become almost indecipherable, not that Jeff Nathanson's screenplay offers much clever to say. Once a bracing new movie hero, Jack is now just another cog in a contraption.

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the amusement ride movie we expected when Curse of the Black Pearl kicked off the series and were grateful when it wasn't. The movie operates with the hydraulic precision of chaos triggered every hour on the hour then reset for the next herd of park visitors. You'll notice how many of "Depp's" laughs result from a stunt man's risk.

Two maritime myths are invoked this time around, neither to thrilling effect. The fabled Flying Dutchman gets supernaturally raised by young Henry Turner, son of Will Turner, previously played by Orlando Bloom, who had better ways to spend more than one day on set. Nine years later, Henry seeks his lost father and a ghost said Jack knows how to find him.

Another search is on for Poseidon's trident, a stalagmite Super Soaker coveted by cursed Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem). Salazar can rule the seas with the trident but needs Jack's charmed compass to find it. Undead mateys in tow, Salazar forces Jack's rival Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to find the pirate.

From there, Nathanson's plot is tangled by Henry's infatuation with feisty astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), her abandonment issues and spoilable links to other characters. It's a cumbersome mix of new legend and coincidental back stories with faint emotional payoff.

Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg previously showed creative sea legs with 2012's Oscar nominated Kon-Tiki, dramatizing Thor Heyerdahl's raft crossing of the Pacific Ocean. A reported 15-fold budget increase adds nothing to their talents but elaborate props and CGI wish fulfillment.

Granted, some effects do impress, like Jack's Buster Keaton-esque encounter with a guillotine and a zombie shark frenzy featuring the film's only memorable 3-D jolt. Better to skip the tinted eye wear and settle for Paul Cameron's murky underwater-at-night cinematography.

Calling Dead Men Tell No Tales the most entertaining Pirates of the Caribbean movie since the original is a backhanded compliment with all the bilge water under the bridge since then. Time to deep six Capt. Jack Sparrow. This franchise should tell no more tales.

Contact Steve Persall at spersall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.


REVIEWS: What's good, and bad, in theaters

REVIEWS: What's good, and bad, in theaters

SEARCH: Special screenings, series and movie events

SEARCH: Special screenings, series and movie events

FOLLOW: Things To Do on Facebook

FOLLOW: Things To Do on Facebook

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. George R. R. Martin poses in the press room with the award for outstanding drama series for "Game of Thrones" at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) JORDAN STRAUSS  |  Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    The ceremony was brisk but, without a host, was overly reliant on the hit-and-miss jokes of presenters.
  2. The Spooky Train returns to the Concourse on Alric Pottberg Road in Shady Hills, as part of the Spook-A-Thon event offered Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 26, plus Oct. 27. MONICA MILLS  |  Monica Mills
  3. The Who, with Roger Daltrey, left, and Pete Townshend, right, perform at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2019. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend delivered an enormous performance with a 48-piece symphony. | Concert review
  4. Asante Blackk as young Kevin Richardson in a scene from "When They See Us." ATSUSHI NISHIJIMA  |  AP
    ‘Thrones,’ ‘When They See Us’ and ‘Veep’ look like front-runners, but the outcome is anyone’s guess.
  5. Phil Collins performs in Tampa's Amalie Arena on Thursday, the first time in 15 years.
    Pop legend Phil Collins returns, the Florida Orchestra kicks off its season and author Salman Rushdie is in Tampa to talk about his new novel.
  6. Emilia Clarke, left, and Kit Harington in a scene from HBO blockbuster "Game of Thrones." HBO via AP
    The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience and the Who come to town, plus a ‘Greatest Showman’ sing-along at Tampa Theatre.
  7. In this Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 photo, Esme Goldman, 13, streams an episode of the '90s sitcom "Friends" via Netflix in her bedroom at her home, in Pasadena, Calif. “Friends” marks its 25th anniversary Sunday, Sept. 22 and the quintessential 1990s sitcom has attracted a new slew of viewers who are barely half that age. Tween and teen girls in particular have embraced the show with huge enthusiasm, taking a show that belonged to Generation X and making it their own.  (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) CHRIS PIZZELLO  |  Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
    “It is old but you can’t tell that much when you’re watching,” said 15-year-old Sammy Joyce.
  8. "House Hunters," shot at a home in the Bayshore Beautiful area.  (Times | 2007) Tampa Tribune
    Whang, 57, was also a comedian and actress.
  9. On Saturday, Disturbed will perform at Amalie Arena in Tampa. TRAVIS SHINN  |  Warner Records
    The Bucs Beach Bash goes down in St. Pete Beach, Disturbed plays Amalie Arena and the Dance Hall Festival continues at the Studio@620.
  10. Visitor Sara Crigger of Nashville views the Dali masterwork painting "The Hallucinogenic Toreador" (1969-1970) this month with the aid of the Dali app on her smartphone. "Using this is like holding an art history class in your hand," Crigger said. The "Visual Magic: Masterworks in Augmented Reality" exhibit runs through Nov. 3 at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    With augmented reality, 19th century prints, bronzes and food photography, a well-rounded experience awaits.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement