Susan Granger’s review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (Walt Disney Pictures)
This is the fifth installment of the floundering franchise which has become a lengthy commercial for the newly revised ‘ride’ at Disney theme parks.
The journey revolves around Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, who is determined to find a legendary artifact known as Poseidon’s Trident, which can lift the curse that has trapped his father’s Flying Dutchman on the bottom of the sea.
That involves convincing rapidly decomposing Spanish Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), who drowned in the Devil’s Triangle, to spare his life so he can locate down-on-his-luck Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a quest that also intrigues Sparrow’s old nemesis, cranky Capt. Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).
In the meantime, corset-clad Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) is a fair ‘n’ feisty damsel who is accused of witchcraft because of her knowledge of astronomy and horology. Apparently, her father’s diary with its celestial chart holds the key to finding that magical Trident.
So Henry and Carina team up with the swaggering, staggering, perpetually soused buccaneer Jack Sparrow, who’s in the midst of a bank heist on the colonial island of St. Martin since his beloved Black Pearl is still secreted inside a bottle – as the preposterous plot lurches toward its drawn-out conclusion.
Norwegian directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, best known for the Oscar-nominated “Kon-Tiki,” are saddled with Jeff Nathanson’s muddled script, filled with incoherent curses and contrived genealogy, so they’re forced to rely on special effects and makeup to propel the sea-faring action.
Along with all-too-brief glimpses of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, there’s a pointless cameo by Paul McCartney and a post-credit scene that hints at more adventures to come.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” sails off-course with a soggy 4. It’s a surreal shipwreck – Argh!