[Editor's Note: the following opinions are entirely my own.]
This May, Jack Sparrow will make his return to cinemas in the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth in the series. Now you might be asking, "Wait, this is the fifth Pirates movie?" a question that would be surprisingly understandable. While the first trilogy was a massive financial success for Disney, the Mouse House tried their best to reboot the franchise in 2011 with almost none of the original cast reprising their roles besides Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush. Instead joined by Penelope Cruz and Blackbeard, On Stranger Tides marked an all time low for the franchise in terms of critical reception and domestic box office gross. So why is it back six years later? Well the film performed crazy well internationally which made it seem lucrative for Disney, while Johnny Depp simultaneously has found himself unable to turn a profit as a major film lead while not in pirate dreads and eye-liner.
So this brings us to now where Disney has just released the latest for the blockbuster film and because I have a morbid curiosity I decided to give it a watch. Watching the two and a half minute exhibition of the project's big budget action and special effects all I could think was, "Seriously, they're doing this again?" And I'm not just referring to the film series, I mean watching the trailer it appears they've taken those six years off to make the exact goddamn Pirates movie again.
Don't believe me? Well let's start off with the film's premise, which presents Depp's Sparrow facing off against an ghost pirate nemesis played by Javier Bardem. This might be a cool idea if it weren't for the fact the character has already done battle against Rush's once undead Captain Barbosa in the first one. And then also went up against the undead tentacle monster Davy Jones in the second and third movies. Oh and also Blackbeard's zombie pirate crew in the fourth.
Well okay but what about the other new characters besides Bardem? Alright, well there's Brenton Thwaites as a blandly handsome young ally for Sparrow on his quest. You know like the same role serviced by similarly handsome white man Orlando Bloom in the first three movies (who apparently returns in this latest adventure), or the nearly identical character played by Sam Claflin in On Stranger Tides. Then there's the beautiful young female protagonist, here played by Kaya Scodelario which Disney will try to present as a strong willed independent woman despite being primarily utilized as a sex object for Sparrow to ogle before ending up with that bland white guy. So basically Keira Knightley 2.0. Even the film's boasts of this being "the final adventure" feel like a retread of the third film which was supposed to close out this franchise for good.
Who knows if this film might turn out good? It does boast the Oscar nominated directors of 2012's Kon Tiki and a whole lot of money to blow on things like a ghost shark, so maybe it will end up being a good movie. Maybe it will end up the best Pirates movie. Yet, as of this moment the only thing it appears to be from its trailer is the same Pirates movie.