Saturday, May 27, 2017


          The fifth entry in the franchise is one of the best.
          Upshot: To escape the dead Capt. Salazar (Bardem) and his ghostly crew, Capt. Jack Sparrow (Depp) must find the Trident of Poseidon.
          Meanwhile, a young woman named Corina Smyth (Scodelario), called a witch for her knowledge of astronomy, crosses paths with one Henry Turner (Thwaites), spawn of Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner, two of the main characters in the first three entries of the franchise.
          The first one remains unsurpassed. The trick has always been to try to match its magic, and it's never worked. But, even so, even without reaching the quality of the first one because of having too many magical seafaring things all over the place and being too self-aware, all of the four sequels are still more entertaining than the average release.
          Somehow the construct of a POTC movie requires, among other things, huge, strange machinery moving dangerously about with characters fighting each other in and around the apparatus. One of the films has a waterwheel rolling down the world's longest hill with guys trying to fight while having to run like hamsters. This one has that sort of thing, roughly. And it does feel self-aware, but then certain things always have to happen in a James Bond movie, and those always work.
          Bardem, who's been a Bond villain, makes a great villain here. The special effects--no point giving anything away, just needs to be seen--are in keeping with the brand and bring a nice touch for being visually appealing and original. In life, Salazar chased down pirates. But a young Jack Sparrow tricked him and created a monster...
          No, the story isn't as strong as one might hope. But Dead Men Tell No Tales does have laughs and lots of action with great characters and splashy production quality. Plus it ties up a lot of loose ends.
          Great way to kick off the summer.

Starring Johnny Depp,
Javier Bardem,
Geoffrey Rush,
Brenton Thwaites,
Kaya Scodelario,
Kevin McNally,
David Wenham
Directed by Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg
Written by Jeff Nathanson, Terry Rossio, Ted Elliott,
Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert
Runtime 129 minutes
Rated PG-13

Stewart Kirby writes for

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