The Pirates of the Caribbean films have been huge hits. Based on the Walt Disney ride, it has amassed a fortune since the first movie in 2003. That’s just as well because it has cost a fortune to make. With gargantuan-sized budgets thrown mostly towards the actors and CGI, they truly embrace the word spectacle. Every penny of the money spent is clearly seen with its efforts in creating colourful romps obviously appreciated. Dead Men Tell No Tales is in the same vein as it offers glorious entertainment other rivals can’t afford to match.
Still sailing the high seas like a piratical scallywag, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is on a new mission. Discovering an old enemy, Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), has risen from the depths, Jack is worried. Knowing Salazar tends to kill every pirate at sea, Jack goes in search of an ancient artefact to enable him to defeat Salazar. In his quest, Jack is helped by Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) who is on his own crusade to free his father Will (Orlando Bloom) from a bygone curse. What follows is adventure aplenty among the high seas with Jack’s pirate skills firmly affixed to the mast.
As entertaining as previous entries, the fifth outing for the colourful pirates generally scores. You know what to expect with the series by now, which isn’t a bad thing. Those wanting action, romance, dazzling CGI and lashings of humour will find it. It may be looking a little tired around the edges with Depp’s Sparrow now more caricature than true character. But there are a few new wrinkles maintaining freshness. Henry’s journey to reunite his family ties in well with the film’s overall theme, with depth seen in a series not usually known for it.
Pirates 5 is hardly a sombre experience, with fun and colour evident. Whilst the zippy energy of initial outings feels lost, the performers never over-play the humour in spite of their cartoonish roles. Unlike the previous film, Sparrow doesn’t dominate proceedings which allow other characters to come to the fore. This is a wise move as it makes the film different.
The CGI out-does itself. The pacing is occasionally sluggish but the visual feast displayed ensures the story maintains engagement until its soggy conclusion.
An entertaining slice of expensive escapism, Pirates 5 does exactly what the posters promise. It might not rank among the best but it offers the grandiose epic one expects. Although things are neatly wrapped up, another outing wouldn’t be amiss with the pirate’s flag showing little sign of flaying.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 6