Seen 28th June
It’s strange to think that somehow Disney was able to look at a ride in their theme park and somehow come up with 5 movies worth of stories. Now if only they’d learn how to tell that story in under 2 hours.
Pirates of the Caribbean is, by now, a franchise built solely on the back of 1 performance. Johnny Depp, his Jack Sparrow character is at this point an icon and also kind of a cartoon character. In this movie more than ever they have created this insane live action cartoon that never seems to let down. Personally, I’m OK with that. I like that this is the movie where big name actors get to eat the scenery until they’re full. I like that Geoffrey Rush looks like he hasn’t even read the script, he’s just playing. It feels like everyone on set had a ball and that infectious energy comes through in the movie.
The main story is honestly pretty simple, Will Turner has been cursed to be on the Flying Dutchman forever and the only thing that’ll get him back is the Trident of Poseidon that his son goes on a quest to find. It’s your basic “Search for the thing to save (Insert family member here)” story that we’ve seen a dozen times and it works, it’s a good foundation to let our main characters have fun and be the madcap over the top creatures that we’ve come to expect from this franchise. Except the problem with that is that we have to introduce Henry Turner and Carina Smyth and that takes up a large amount of the run time, making us care about them and, in turn, care about their inevitable romantic subplot. By the 5th movie, I really don’t want to be giving a damn about new leads. There is genuinely no reason I can think of that the same movie couldn’t have been done with Will and Elizabeth (Who are both relegated to cameo’s) but for what it’s worth, the new two are fine. They serve their purpose and have a few good scenes but in general, they’re there to keep the plot moving while Johnny handles the actual entertainment.
Along with Johnny and Geoffrey reprising their roles, the newest addition as the villain is Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar and, much like the other two, he is chewing scenery and loving it. He creates a surprisingly intimidating character considering he spends the entire movie with his hair flowing about like he’s in a Pantene Pro-V commercial. There is one scene in particular where he’s threatening Geoffrey and says something to the effect of “Every time I tap my sword, one of your men will die” and proceeds to do this powerful speech, breaking every few lines to tap his sword on the ground which causes one of Geoffrey’s crew to be killed. He is really great at playing villains and I think this one might be one of the more entertaining just because of how he plays it.
The downside of him as the ultimate villain, however, is that every other antagonist that the main characters come across seems almost trivial by comparison. The other ‘main’ villain might be the British soldiers trying to capture Jack throughout the movie but really, they end up being pointless padding that serves no purpose after halfway through the movie, other than to pad out the already insanely long run time. Same goes for a admittedly funny scene where Jack is forcefully married off to settle some old debt, I’m unsure if this was brought up in previous movies but here, it’s filler that we didn’t need. The movie clocks in at a solid 2 hours, this weird little 5 minute scene could’ve been cut cos it serves no purpose.
The dialogue is incredibly good, a lot of fun adult jokes and innuendos (“Horticulturalist” takes up the bulk of those… because the writers are 12). It’s easy to catch yourself laughing at a lot of the movie which makes it feel a fair amount shorter, which is a good thing when your movie is 2 hours long. Every comedic set piece really works, especially the bank heist and attempted hanging scenes, both play really well. They both also feel very cartoony, as do a fair few moments in the movie which is fine but it makes the serious moments feel jarring and out of place.
Overall it’s a good fun movie, a lot of over the top hammy performances and a decent story. Just needed a little editing and maybe the old leads back. Maybe they’ve signed up for part 6.