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01 Jun 2017

Cash Grab: Johnny Depp Earns a Paycheck in Another Crappy 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Flick

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Javier Bardem in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Javier Bardem in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

In the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, a bunch of pirates run around and act like dicks while being pursued by ghosts, all while trying not to sink.

Actually … that’s basically the plot of all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Therefore, it’s depressingly no surprise that the new one, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, rehashes the same plot with Johnny “The Whore” Depp doing his whole drunken Keith Richards pirate routine again as Jack Sparrow.

Actually, his Keith Richards routine has devolved into something more akin to Dudley Moore’s routine in Arthur 2: On the Rocks: The original was somewhat funny, but the gag got tired really quickly.

So it goes with Depp’s meandering, mumbling, tipsy performance as Jack Sparrow, the feared pirate with whom everybody seems to have some sort of problem. Depp’s laboring with a joke that stopped being funny four movies ago.

This time out, a new legion of undead sailors is after Jack, because he has a compass that can lead them back to the land of the living, or some bullshit like that. The band of dead sailors is led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), some dude who was trying to rid the world of pirates when he was alive, but wound up a cursed ghost under the sea due to a young Sparrow’s clever trick.

Young Sparrow is depicted in a flashback that has Depp becoming the latest star to be de-aged by CGI. This movie trick is leading to some genuinely creepy-looking stuff. I liked it when they did it to Kurt Russell in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, but this time out, it just looks weird.

Bardem’s Salazar looks kind of cool in this film. He’s sort of half-blown up, and he always looks like his hair is flowing in water, even when he’s above ground. There, I said something relatively positive about this crap.

As for the plot, there’s also some nonsense involving Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) trying to un-curse his dead father, Will (Orlando Bloom), yet another undead pirate. He must do something with the compass that Sparrow possesses to bring Will back. If he succeeds, that means Orlando Bloom will be back in full swing for more Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which had me rooting for the compass to be burned in a “Please, No More Orlando Bloom Movies!” bonfire.

If that plot doesn’t give you enough déjà vu, Geoffrey Rush is back as Barbossa, the monkey-toting dude who was dead in the first movie, but is now resurrected. Like that of Depp, Rush’s pirate routine got tired after the first movie.

The best part of the film belongs to Paul McCartney, who makes a cameo as Uncle Jack, Jack Sparrow’s imprisoned relative. McCartney delivers a few good lines with the sort of deft comic timing he displayed more than 50 years ago in A Hard Days Night and Help! It’s too bad this wasn’t his movie, because he’s far more interesting than Depp’s played-out, gimmicky bits. Also, kudos to him for singing The Beatles’ “Maggie Mae” in his jail cell. Nice touch. There, I’ve said two good things about this piece of crap.

If you must, stay for the credits, because there’s an after-credits scene that sets up further adventures—even though Disney keeps saying each Pirates film is the last one. My recommendation: Don’t stay for the credits, and instead get your ass out of the theater as soon as possible. Actually, just stay home and don’t watch this insulting cash machine at all.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is playing in a variety of formats at theaters across the valley.

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