Friday Movie Review: Pirates "The Next Generation"
Everyone’s first time is special. Ask anyone you know and they still remember the first time they watched the original Pirates of the Caribbean. The first time you sit there and absorb the magic and wonderment of the pirates life, of magic treasure, and smarmy shenanigans of Captain Jack Sparrow, you wonder how you’ve gone that long without that movie. Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell No Tales tries to rebottle some of that same lightning that sparked the series. An accomplishment they felt short of, but only slightly. By incorporating the mythos of the seas, new, yet familiar characters, and of course the whimsical misadventures of Sparrow the Pirates managed to make a movie just as fun and exciting as the original. They forgot, however, to structure it around a coherent story. It was close though.
The hodgepodge story centered mostly on Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of the illustrious Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Determine to free his father from his curse of roaming the seas for eternity, Henry sets out to find the legendary trident of Poseidon, rumored to be able to accomplish such feats. Knowing there is only one man in the world who can find such a treasure, he dedicates his life to hunting down the elusive Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Jack, however, is dealing with some (literal) demons of his past, and together the two of them team up with an astrologist (Kaya Scodelario) to both avoid Jack’s curse and hunt down everyone’s chance of redemption: the trident.
All-in-all not a bad way to do a fifth movie in a franchise. They were able to bring back all of the audience favorite characters, while still introducing new ones. The new characters, Henry and Carina, even had a lot of the same qualities that made us fall in love with Will and Elizabeth. We even had a good bit of character development for Barbossa (Geoffery Rush) The problem resided with Jack Sparrow. Now don’t misinterpret: Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow is one of the best things to happen to movies in the last 20 or so years, however this film cemented the fact that Jack is not a character as much as he is a plot device. Aside from not doing anything but enabling Henry and Carina for their own adventure, the movie begins with Jack very depressed with his life. They never again address this, and just ignore Jack as a person and continue to use his magnetic personality to draw the story along. A real shame as he could be the greatest cinematic character of all time if he was utilized properly.
Outside of this however, this is the most fun film of the year yet (and yes, I remember Guardians of the Galaxy 2). The Rube-Goldberg type exploits and knee-slapping wisdom of Sparrow fill up a lot of the screen-time while the movie keeps moving. As this is likely his last portrayal of Sparrow, he really gave it his all and this was his definitely his swan-song of Jack Sparrows. Nearly every line he said was memorable, which is not an easy feat for anyone.
This alone doesn’t make it the instant classic that the first one was, but it definitely warrants it a few viewings. Like the end of a beautiful day, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales offers that last warm ray of sunlight to bask in before the sun sets completely on this quintology.