Franchise Runs Aground with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Blu-ray

The Jerry Bruckheimer franchise seems to have finally capsized. The motion picture, budgeted at $230 million ($20 million less than it's predecessor, ON STRANGER TIDES), grossed $172 million at the box office, compared to the $241 million grossed by the previous film. Those are numbers that don't bode well for there being a fifth film in the franchise--unless it's a rebooting, and honestly who could see Captain Jack Sparrow as anybody but JOHNNY DEPP?

The first thing that's a bit off about the film is the title: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES. Given that the entire run has been filled with ghosts who relate stories of curses, and that the plot of this movie hinges on one Captain Salazar (JAVIER BARDEM) who perished in the Devil's Triangle pursuing a young Jack Sparrow, it would seem that dead men tell quite a few tales at sea.

Jack is brought into the fray when two different people's paths converge: Henry Turner (BRENTON THWAITES) is determined to rescue his father, Will Turner (ORLANDO BLOOM), from the curse of serving on Davy Jones' ship. And Caryna Smyth (KAYA SCODELARIO) is a scientist seeking an island talked about in her father's diary. Both seek the Trident of Poseidon, which is said to be able to undo any curse of the sea. But the island where it resides is found only on the map "no man can read," which makes it inconvenient. Except obviously the map can be read, you just have to know where the map actually is.

When Jack, down on his luck and desperate for a drink, relinquishes the cherished compass, it releases Salazar and his crew from the Devil's Triangle, and they begin their hunt. They start by attacking pirate ships under the control of (the now very wealthy) Captain Barbossa, killing all the crew save for one to "tell the tale" that they are hunting Jack Sparrow.

At this point you have all the players you need to know. Yes, the British are also seeking the Trident so that they can control the seas, but you'll see very little of them, and the only thing you'll come away remembering is "ghost sharks" and "bank robbery," being the only scenes that put any effort of excitement into them. KEIRA KNIGHTLEY reprises her role as Elizabeth Swann in a non-speaking cameo appearance, which further serves to bring the franchise full circle to its beginning, another sure sign that we can put a harpoon in this one: it's done.

One of the highlights of ON STRANGER TIDES was seeing Keith Richards play Jack's father, Captain Teague (Jack assumes the "Sparrow" moniker in a flashback tale in this movie). Since that went over so well, why not do it again? This time they pull in Jack's uncle, Uncle Jack, portrayed by The Beatles' icon PAUL MCCARTNEY. The results this time, however, were less than stellar, as McCartney--much as we love him--doesn't have the same type of mystique as has Richards that lent itself so well to a PIRATES role.

This Blu-ray release includes numerous bonus features. Under the major heading of "Dead Men Tell More Tales" we get a handful of interviews with the cast and crew, as well as the effects team to get behind the making of the ghost sharks. These are followed up with the obligatory blooper reel and deleted/alternate scenes.

Grade: 
2.5 / 5.0