What's it rated? PG-13
What's it worth? Matinee
Where's it showing? Galaxy (6/29/17)
The mediocre reviews of the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie shouldn't suggest to potential viewers that it is a bad movie. It's just one audiences have kind of already seen.
The newest installation of the franchise (which started in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) is directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who previously directed Kon-Tiki together.
The film picks up with a young Henry Turner (Lewis McGowan) rowing himself out to sea and throwing himself overboard to find his dad. Little Henry has been spending years researching ghosts and pirates, trying to find a way to save his dad. Fans will remember Turner's dad is the still-cursed captain of the Flying Dutchman, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom).
Henry is determined to free the OG Turner and winds up years later on a British ship, looking for Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and heading into a pirate shitstorm. Henry (Brenton Thwaites) meets up with Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) who makes him promise to deliver a message to Sparrow and then delivers the movie title in the cheesiest way imaginable. We're now in full Scooby Doo zoinks, a g-g-g-g-host territory here.
From there, Henry heads off find Sparrow and encounters Carina Smyth (a very miscast Kaya Scodelario). Carina is accused of being a witch because she knows astronomy and is about 300 years too early for the Beyonce album she so desperately needs to listen to. They quickly discover they both just happen to be looking for Trident of Poseidon, which (wouldn't you know it) just happens to be able to remove every curse ever put on anyone or anything in the ocean. How convenient and how weird that no one in any of the other four movies has brought this fact up despite seemingly knowing about it for decades.
Meanwhile, Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) gets wrangled into all of the drama and realizes he needs to find the trident, too. Plus, there's a stodgy British naval officer, Scarfield or Scarface or Scarham or whatever (David Wenham) chasing them all down for reasons, too. Of course this all leads back to Jack Sparrow, who everyone needs so they can find the Trident or get them free passes to Ladies Night at the Viper Room; it's not quite clear.
The overall comedic tone is on point, even if some of the jokes fall a little flat (except for Uncle Jack's joke; that is perfection) and feel like they were written by a 12-year-old boy on Twitter. But there are glimpses of that sweet spot, when Depp lights up and actually gets into the scenes, instead of swaying like a background prop. Plus, the action scenes are downright incredible and make up for all the wonky moments in the script.
So, was it a bad movie? Not really. For fans of Jack Sparrow, the movie is a fun revisit that provides what it promises: Pirates, cursed ghosts, and lots ships blowing up, swordfights, and of course, Depp stumbling around and undulating to some unheard Oingo Boingo song. (135 min.)