Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 1.0 stars

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie poster

Johnny Depp stumbles, staggers, lurches, leers, preens, pratfalls, and melancholily mugs his way back into the role that made him rich: Captain Jack Sparrow, the poncy pirate. But he’s no longer particularly clever nor particularly funny (“Think Captain Jack is washed up, eh? I’ve not had a wash in years!”), and he certainly isn’t having much fun. Neither is anybody else: Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario serve as paler echoes of the original’s Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, Javier Bardem strains to overcome the swirl of effects that surround his vengeful villain, and Geoffrey Rush is reduced to sentimental slop as various parties run around searching for a trident that will break every curse of the sea. The bounty of bawdy bits feel borrowed from Benny Hill (“No woman’s ever handled my Herschel before!” says a stunned telescope operator), while the slapstick violence skews toward the Three Stooges. (The bit with the guillotine was funny the first time…) But fans of the Black Pearl and Depp’s black eyeliner may feel a twinge of nostalgic pleasure all the same. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg direct. 2017.

Matthew Lickona

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