The fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie recently joined my country’s Netflix line-up. For me, the first four movies can be summed up as ‘Wow’, ‘Hmmm?’, ‘Huh?’, and ‘Errr?’ So what was this one like?
At the end of Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) became the new Davey Jones to survive being stabbed in the heart. He spends his time ferrying those drowned at sea around.
Some two decades later Will’s son Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) is determined to free his father, by finding Poseidon’s Trident, which can end all curses at sea. He quickly runs into Carina Smyth (played by Kaya Scodelario), who is also looking for the trident. As a baby, she was left on the doorstep of an orphanage with Galileo’s diary. Galileo apparently found the trident and hid clues to its location in his diary.
The british sentence Carina to death for witchcraft, because her astronomy and personality have frightened the local British soldiers. Henry and Carina team up, and adventure ensues.
Wait, where’s Jack Sparrow?
Meanwhile, completely unrelated to the above events, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is hatching strange schemes to make money. He messes up, and his crew dumps him, leaving him at rock bottom.
He goes to a local pub and trades his magic compass for a bottle of booze. Abandoning the compass triggers a curse, sending what the bearer fears most after him. In the case of Jack Sparrow, that’s the cursed sailor Salazar (Javier Bardem), whom Jack outwitted and killed long ago.
When Jack runs into Henry and Carina, trouble follows him and things unravel from there.
The movie looks great and the set pieces are fun to watch. The visual style of the movie and the effects are very good. The story, however, has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
At the very start of the film, Henry drowns himself to get on board Will Turners ship. He tells will he’s going to save him. The thing is: why not just save Will instead of this elaborate scheme that nearly kills him?
For unclear reasons, The British sentence Carina to death for witchcraft. It seems to come from her sassy demeanor, which she keeps up instead of explaining herself. Apparently, being sassy is more important to her than living.
Then there’s Jack’s role in the story. In the fourth Pirates movie, Jack had no role. He literally spent most of the movie trying to run away while the story happened around him. In this movie it’s better in some ways, and worse in others. The good thing is that he actually advances the plot in this movie. The bad: his actions are the driving force for the antagonist Salazar, but he’s not the one having a character arc. The result is that the antagonist is only tangentially interested in the main characters, and that the main character arcs are not driven by the antagonist, but more by other events.
The result is a big train wreck of a story. Essentially, everything would have been fine if Jack hadn’t butted in. Jack * Sorry, minor SPOILER inbound, stop reading if you don’t want a part of the ending spoiled * gets away scot-free, without growing, and his big climactic moment is pushing another character to sacrifice themselves so that Jack and the main characters can live. So, the only reasons he isn’t the antagonist himself, are that he’s too busy not caring about anything but himself and Javier Bardem looks cooler as a ghost.
Pirates of the Caribbean is a good-looking movie that has a lot of cool scenes, but the story and characters suck donkey balls. Which gave me the double pleasure of watching interesting special effects and being able to bitch about the terrible writing mistakes. So, sort of fun, but also sort of terrible.
I hear there’s going to be sixth one as well. Dang.