of the Caribbean: Dead Men
Tell No Tales
This series continues to thrive at the box office, despite the
tricky balance of being pirates while parodying pirates.
It’s all kind of tongue-in-cheek fun, and Johnny Depp, as Jack
Sparrow, has created a now-iconic character by somehow convincing us that
his legendary reputation is almost entirely accidental, as if he just
happened to stumble on to the set. Ah,
but he makes for such a stylish slacker.
The plot is almost nonsensical.
Something about a quest for Neptune’s trident, which, if found,
would have the power to remove some long-standing curses, including the
one where dead pirates are caught in some kind of Bermuda Triangle Limbo,
devouring hapless opponents because they are invincible, but really, what
are they going to do with captured treasure, anyway?
Now throw in a little boy searching for his father and an orphan
girl happening on hers, and a botched bank robbery turned slapstick, and a
comical rescue from a guillotine, and a compass that points to the
holder's true desire, and you’ve got quite a hodge-podge for a
The great strength is the secondary casting, particularly Javier
Bardem and Geoffrey Rush, who have enough star power to command the lead
roles themselves, and bring enough gravitas to the screen to prevent the
whole production from floating away into silliness.
Throw in a little flirtatious romance, and some uptight British sea
captains, and a treasure map nobody can read, and walking the plank, and
arrrgh, you’ve got some standard pirate elements, not to mention the
great CGI spectacle of the ghost ship rising out of the sea.
This “Pirates” episode hasn’t forgotten its self-deprecating
sense of humor. Though the 3-D
effects enhance the visuals, unfortunately the sound is muddy, hampering a
clear hearing of the dialogue. Some
of the witticisms get lost somewhere in the swashbuckling.
And the bumbling British seamen seem like tiresome plastic
villains, maybe even to themselves.
Though “Pirates” is highly stylish and stylized, there’s not
much substance here. Don’t
try to figure everything out, just enjoy the fantasy ride on the magical,