by Sean Nelson
*spoiler free review*
Since the first movie in 2003 became a sleeper hit for Disney, and each movie has generated a whole heap of money for the company it’s no surprise that a fifth instalment was going to be made. While the first movie was an ensemble cast, to no surprise, the series has become the adventures of Johnny Depp’s ‘Jack Sparrow’ a breakout character which used to be entertaining and fun.
For this movie we have Jack, and the son of Will Turner on the search for the Trident of Poseidon. Barbosa is also along for this adventure, as well as new villain, Captain Salazar played by Javier Bardem. Everyone plays their roles well, some better than others except for Johnny Depp who has become more apathetic and just moving from scene to scene. It feels like he doesn’t have his heart in it, or that at the very least he’s written that way. Given that this is a spoiler free review I won’t go into any more of the storyline, except to say it’s pretty lacklustre for both fans and non-fans of the franchise. Though for the most part the action sequences are on point, minus a dud third act for what it was built up to be and like the rest of the series, the special effects are on point and will no doubt get an Oscar nod. Salazar’s crew in particular look quite amazing and draw your attention to the background of any scene they are standing around in.
In the first movie of the series, Sparrow was bumbling, drunk but conniving, resourceful and double crossing without a moment’s notice. It made for a more fascinating character and kept the attention of the viewer as you weren’t sure what the end game was in the characters mind. As the series has progressed, Jacks wit and ingenuity has changed into a rum-loving alcoholic who fumbles from scene to scene, accidentally succeeding in whatever he was doing. It’s not the character people enjoyed at the beginning and instead is just an exaggeration or shadow of what made Depp’s Sparrow great.
There’s a scene midway through the movie showing a young Jack Sparrow, it is shown briefly in the trailer. During this it shows him being similar to how he was in Curse of the Black Pearl, the first movie of the franchise, though more sober. We get a glimpse, and it shows that the writers knew how he was and it’s disappointing they couldn’t extend that scene, or make the whole movie that.
There’s a few things to like in this movie, but poor writing and lack of acknowledging the lore set up in previous movies makes it hard to like. It’ll make a lot of money, especially in internationally where it tends to make bank in Asia but the series, much like Depp, has grown tired and is phoning it in. Geoffrey Rush was great though.