It’s been six years since the last Pirates of the Caribbean films and since then Johnny Depp’s had a few issues with a costly divorce and his managers allegedly mishandling his earnings as well as allegations of imbibing ludicrously expensive bottle of wine and appearing in films where his lines have been fed to him via an earpiece. So part of the fun of this 5th film in the franchise is trying to spot any ear piece he might be wearing (he isn’t) .
Much like the Fast and Furious franchise this has an ever expanding cast with new members now including Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner & Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth, a kind of vanilla lite Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightly (which is no mean feat) though Scodelario is far better here. In a lengthy pre title sequence we see Henry Turner as a boy in a boat tying rocks to his feet and plummeting to the sea bed to see Dad, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and finds that it is only the Trident of Poseidon that will get him a new lease of life. Problem is there’s only one man who can get it which is of course the mascara mad Captain Jack Daniels …um… Sparrow who in a nod to Fast and Furious 5 is involved in a safe robbery where it’s not the safe that gets dragged through the Caribbean town but the entire bank. With his ever dissatisfied crew abandoning him Sparrow agrees to help out Henry Turner in the quest for the Trident whilst at the same time trying to evade a vengeful and very dead Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his decomposing crew who are after Sparrow for having bought about their demise hence the film’s title in Europe thought he US gets it as Dead Men tell no Tales. As ever Bardem is reliably excellent in a role which first sees him walking through a gated door a la T1000 in Terminator 2. Bardem’s captain is all floaty hair, flaky skin (either it’s the sea salt air or lack of moisturising) and black fluid leaking out of his mouth like he’s been sucking on a leaky biro and chews the scenery as good as anything as Depp can do. Admittedly the drunken Captain Jack Sparrow act is starting to wear a bit thin now, if not for the fact that every child entertainer sees it as a default dressing up mode for kid’s parties and it can’t be long before Keith Richard’s surely takes over the role. It’s well known that the rock n roll legend was the basis for Depp’s performance and here the film has roped in another music legend namely Paul McCartney in a fleeting cameo as the pirate Uncle Jack who frankly looks more like Ian McShane gone to seed.
The plot ploughs on via relentless set piece after set piece through some spectacular production design with barely any let up and some of the set pieces are extremely inventive with Captain Jack spending much of the film veering from one death defying calamity to the next and there is an especially good set piece with him about to be guillotined and another enjoyably daft one with zombie sharks. The problem here is similar to that of its predecessors most of which ran for almost 2 and half hours (and the third one running for almost 3hrs!) this one winds it in a bit at two hours and nine minutes but its climatic sequence is just too long and you are bludgeoned with bloated spectacle and it’s all a bit much but the film makers have confidence that this will do well as a sixth film is already in pre-production. If nothing else it’ll keep Johnny Depp in mascara.
Here’s the trailer…….