It’s been a full six years since we’ve gotten a good dose of Captain Jack Sparrow. I was beginning to wonder if producer Jerry Bruckheimer was over it, even with all the cash still pouring in. Normally, the wait has been 3 years — 4 at the max — between film releases. I had almost given up but was quite excited to go see the newest edition.
The last production in the series, On Stranger Tides, left a bad taste in the mouth as it wasn’t quite the epic tale of hilariousness the others have been. I have always been a fan of Ian McShane and particularly loved him as Swearengen, the foul-mouthed “barkeep” on the critically acclaimed Deadwood on HBO. However, as a pirate (of the Caribbean), he was a bit of a disappointment — meaner than anything and rarely humorous.
I also imagined the director was giving us a more human side to Johnny Depp’s Sparrow by showing the vulnerable side of the man in love, but I didn’t buy it. And Penelope Cruz was only marginally lovable.
Dead Men Tell No Tales, however, brought back precisely what I love about these movies — the dead. I was addicted the first time Barbossa swigged the bottle of wine and it ran through his fleshless ribcage and onto the floor. Javier Bardem was a fearsome evil pirate and the special effects that created his rotting undead crew were nothing short of electrifying and nauseating.
While it followed the same old storyline — everyone looking for the same treasure — the added characters Henry, a beautiful combination of the insanely good-looking Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly, and Carina, the hottest witch I’ve seen in a long time, make this familiar flick more enjoyable than it should be.
Depp is up to his old antics — ruining his liver, bluffing his way out of sticky situations, and flashing his golden-toothed smile — and his drawling dialogue never gets old. Pirates bluff much like poker players, especially Captain Jack Sparrow, who has a very loose way of playing his hand. He uses his quick words and confusing (drunken) thought patterns to convince his captors or enemies that he is always holding the better hand.
What I found most amusing was that the treasure everyone was looking for Poseidon’s Trident, which would actually solve all of their problems combined. It has the power to control the seas and reverse all the curses cast upon the seafarers. What this means is that it can release Will from the Flying Dutchman, bring Salazar and his men back to life, and give Carina her relative back.
If they just worked together to find it instead of battling left and right to outsmart each other, everyone would get what they wanted. But then, that wouldn’t make a good movie now, would it? There would be no satisfaction in the good guys winning and the evil pirates being taken by the sea.