“Dead Men Tell No Tales”

Courtesy Disney

After nearly six years since they last graced the big screen, Captain Jack Sparrow and his band of buccaneers are back with “Dead Men Tell No Tales”, the fifth instalment of Disney’s Pirates of The Caribbean “Dead Men Tell No Tales” has a storyline which incorporates familiar characters, introduces new characters, and reflects themes that have been present throughout previous offerings. However, it has many subplots that see the main characters each take lead but leaves the viewer confused as to whose story the film is about.

A washed-up down-on-his-luck Jack Sparrow must embark on a quest to save his own life or face his greatest fear and be killed; Captain Balbosa, whom we first encountered as the main antagonist of the first film of the franchise, takes on the role of supporting antagonist as he has done in the last three sequels; The dead Captain Salazar, once formidable captain of the Spanish fleet and Jack Sparrow’s adversary, haunts the sea, hellbent on exerting revenge on Jack Sparrow and ridding the sea of all pirates; Henry Turner, a new addition to the franchise , is the grow up son of Will and Elizabeth Turner , on a quest to free his father from the curse of the Flying Dutchman; Carina Smyth, another new addition, is a determined astronomer and aspiring scholar on a mission to find the father she never knew.

The characters’ paths all cross. Driven by their own motives, they each race to find the trident of Poseidon which is fabled to hold immense power. As expected, what follows is the formation of alliances, the blossoming of love as well as betrayal, which have all been recurrent themes in the franchise.

The love that blossoms between the two new additions to the cast is in keeping with the franchise, however, from the moment the characters make their appearance one can predict that they will end up together. There is no suspense. Their romance feels forced and comes across as a watered-down version of the great love between Will and Elizabeth Turner.

The swashbuckling antiques are grand and well effected. Some of the action sequences however seem a little unnecessarily stretched out. For instance, an entire building is drawn through the streets for several good minutes in a bank robbery gone wrong, and a guillotine swings up and down almost decapitating Jack Sparrow one too many times in a foiled execution.

The film is a lot better than its 2011 predecessor and possibly the one that came before that too but as is the case with many sequels in a franchise of this magnitude, it fails to re-capture the brilliance of the original Pirates of the Caribbean offering. The ending does bring much needed closure for most characters. Retiring them for good would not be such a bad idea. As Captain Jack Sparrow sails off into the sunset and next adventure, one wonders if “Dead Men Tell No Tales” will indeed be the last instalment of the franchise as it has been billed or if Disney will make yet another attempt at beating life out of a dead horse.

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