Another entry in this mostly terrible franchise. I wasn’t excited at all at the prospect of a fifth ‘Pirates‘ film. Not even the return of some more of the original cast I didn’t like returning could pique my interest. With that being said, this isn’t the worst sequel. It’s better than ‘On Stranger Tides‘, but fails to recapture fully the spirit of ‘Curse of the Black Pearl‘.
In a way (read: lots, almost all, ways) all of the sequels have been an effort to try and remake the first film. It is the best one, after all. And like that first film, this one also finds Captain Jack and his ragtag crew, a kind of handsome guy trying to save his father and a girl also looking for something are on the run from a crew of undead cursed sailors whilst looking for some mystical McGuffin that will save them all. It’s the exact same story really, just with some added fluff. Johnny Depp is back as Jack (sigh), Orlando Bloom is back as Will (barely), Keira Knightley is back as Elizabeth (literally for two seconds and thankfully doesn’t speak), some of the random crew members are back but most importantly, the best actor of the franchise is back: Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa. He is easily the best and his role in this film, while at first not too interesting, does blossom into something that does actually have some emotion. It’s a real first for these films!
The undead ghost baddies chasing them this time are some Spanish pirate hunters led by Javier Bardem. He is the worst part of this film maybe, if you don’t count Paul McCartney’s awful cameo. Bardem mumbles and breathes his way through lines making him barely understandable and his weird half missing CGI body just looks weird. His motivations are okay I guess, I mean who doesn’t want revenge on Captain Jack these days?! But some of the stuff that happens just doesn’t make sense. I mean, what does Jack’s compass actually do? I won’t say what it is but I’m sure it shouldn’t do that. Some things just seem forced into this film to further the plot and move the story along.
That being said, the story is… okay? Look, it’s fine. It makes some sense, even if it is just retreading familiar territory. I will say in its favour that it has little to no double crossing and hidden motives and all that confusing stuff that plagued the other sequels. But a lot of the same problems (and even good points) are the same. Depp is still annoying, the design and special effects are still really great except for the CGI bad guys, the music is still great and the story is mostly the same. There are two new characters introduced who aren’t all bad though. Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner, a guy trying to save Orlando Bloom from his curse and Kaya Scodelario as Carina, an astronomer with an interesting backstory. They’re the new Will and Elizabeth, where the guy is exactly the same but the girl is much less annoying and far more engaging. I quite like them.
While I can’t say that I like this film, I do think it may be slightly above the other sequels in terms of quality and maybe enjoyability. Granted, that might just be because it’s the closest any of them have come to being the same as the original film, but still. It may not be funny, it may not be all that engaging and it certainly isn’t 100% enjoyable, but it’s slightly better than the other trash that spawned from ‘Curse of the Black Pearl‘. I guess this is kind of a good review then? Barely…
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5