MOVIE REVIEW: Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell Tales is the fifth outing for the franchise which has been both a powerhouse of how much they cost to make as well as how much they earn. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer probably never guessed just how enduring the movies featuring Johnny Depp as pirate Jack Sparrow would be. The first movie in 2003 was a delight in story, action, acting and swashbuckling. Directing the movie this time is the Norwegian tandem team of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki). The screenplay comes via Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can).

The subsequent sequels after the first movie have been some of the most expensive movies filmed and have netted Disney over $4 billion. However, the sheer joy of the first, the clever word play and the stunts and physical humour have given way to increasing special effects. There was entertainment to be sure but the inventiveness and character acting of the first shines bright in comparison.

The newest outing of Pirates is an improvement over the last movie. This time there is the introduction of some younger blood in the form of Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites, Gods of Egypt) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario, Maze Runner). Turner, son of Will Turner and Smyth cross paths when both seek the Trident of Poseidon for their own reasons tied to their fathers.

Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow and once again is down on his luck with his beloved Black Pearl trapped in a bottle in his pocket. He and his remaining crew call a beached wreck of a ship home. We first find Jack asleep in a bank vault full of loot with a married woman. This results in one of those incredible action set pieces which the Pirates movies are famous for.

If it feels like there is a lot of back story, there is. And at over two hours, the viewer has to sit through a lot. The introduction of a new villain with Javier Bardem playing the vengeful and dead Spanish Captain Salazar is the spark and the driving force as everyone seeks the McGuffin in the form of the Trident.

Old favourites inhabit the movie. Geoffrey Rush returns as Captain Hector Barbossa and Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are there as well playing Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. An end credit scene hints at more future adventures. A cameo by Paul McCartney in a prison cell as a pirate should be watched for.

The sense of fun is back with Dead Men Tell No Tales and Bardem has mischief with a bad guy role. The weakness is that with so many characters, the story bounces around a lot and there are many back stories. The young actors tasked with taking over the future suffer from so much happening all at once.

There will be critics who will be less than impressed with the movie but it is still an enjoyable romp. The ending fulfills fans hopes of a happy ending for some of the favourite characters in the series. It becomes easier to overlook the flaws when you are smiling and laughing. Still, it becomes harder to keep the story fresh if there is a checklist of what the movie is required to do for storyline.

The box office should decide whether Pirates continues but with billions made already, is there any doubt?

This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations