PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
Running Time: 129 mins.
Premise: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) chases down a McGuffin - er, the trident of Poseidon - with an old enemy (Javier Bardem) hot on his trail and out for revenge.
Behind-the-Scenes: Though the series has seen diminishing box office returns domestically, the last film in the series, 2011's On Stranger Tides, still grossed over $1 billion worldwide, so a return to the well was inevitable. Previous directors Gore Verbinski and Rob Marshall step aside for the new directing duo of Joaquim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki). Original trilogy stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley pop up in well-publicized cameos here.
The Good: It's blessedly short for a Pirates movie (though over 2 hours, so still plenty of bloat). The $230 million production features solid craftsmanship in the art direction and most of the action sequences. Depp retains the charm of Jack Sparrow, even if he does seem to be slurring most of his lines. Zombie sharks!
The Bad: The new characters fail to pop. Bardem isn't given much to do - he was a more interesting and intimidating baddie in Skyfall and No Country. The climax is all sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's dull and repetitive, with weak CGI and almost no stakes. It really wears you down. Why is Geoffrey Rush still in these movies? He's appeared in every one, even though his Barbossa character was really only integral to the first.
Should You See It?: If you enjoyed other Pirates movies, you'll enjoy this one. If not, skip it. Pretty simple.
Star Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars.
Better Than: At World's End, On Stranger Tides
Worse Than: Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest
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