“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

Release Date: May 26, 2017

MPAA Rating:  PG-13 (for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content)

There were some rumblings that this fifth installment of the “Pirates” franchise would the last.  But given the box office success globally of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and with a post credit roll hint pointing in the direction of another installment, the likelihood of Pirates 6 seems all but certain.

That’s too bad on many levels, as this flick seems to close the loop nicely on the epic adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and his fellow buccaneer ne’er-do-wells. It’s also a shame since this installment has the franchise literally jumping the shark.  To say there is apparent creative fatigue is as certain as saying that Johnny Depp’s performance as Sparrow has become tired and, dare I note, downright uninteresting? 

While this film has generally received negative reviews by critics, there is a little doubt that there remains an audience for such cinematic offerings.  This unabashed popularity means big profits for Disney, and the studio will want to continue milking this cash cow for all it’s worth, whether or not there is artistic merit in doing so.

The plot of “Dead Men Tell No Tales” is somewhat convoluted, and without providing spoilers, suffice it to say that Sparrow is pitted against a villain, here in the form of ghost Captain Salazar, portrayed by screen heavy Javier Bardem who delivers some unintelligible dialogue in this role.  The scenes thankfully come alive anytime Geoffrey Rush as Barbosa appears. 

Central to the plot are characters Henry (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), although I’ve seen better chemistry in a high school laboratory.  It’s also good to see Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley return, albeit briefly, as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, respectively. 

The movie would have benefitted from some additional editing, as well.  With two directors at the helm (Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning), it feels about 30 minutes too long.

But then, at this point, the “Pirates” franchise feels about three films too long. 

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