I give you my mea culpa:
I went to see Dead Men Tell no Tales this weekend, and–except for the second movie–no matter how corny or illogical they become I love the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. This film was a lot of fun, childish inane fun.
The gags were enjoyable. The dialog was better than expected, suffering contrived exposition sparingly. The digital effects and imagery fit the flavor of the series well. Geoffrey Rush’s performance was perhaps my favorite part.
You’re off the edge of the map now, here there be spoilers.
In a related post, I talked about a trend in movies of fathers being redeemed. This movie has joined that rising tide. In the opening, Lewis McGowan plays a young boy seemingly trying to drown himself. But the Flying Dutchman, Captained by Orlando Bloom, rescues the child. In the ensuing dialog we learn that the boy is son to Will Turner, and that his study of sea legends has shown a way to save, or redeem, his father from the curse that keeps him from stepping on land. That is Brenton Thwaites’, the adult Henry Turner’s, motive for the rest of the movie.
Kaya Scodelario’s character of the mysterious not-a-witch astronomer Carina also seeks to find Poseidon’s Trident, a treasure that can remove all curses made at sea or some such nonsense. She keeps with her her father’s diary, the only keepsake she has of an unknown parentage, which is full of scribblings about the trident and celestial bodies. She follows that book as if it were a bible.
Okay, major spoiler now, the mutinous Barbossa is her father. The latest band of undead sailors have been destroying his fleet, and so he seeks advice from an actual witch. She suggests he move to the country and retire. Barbossa tells her that he is a pirate, not a farmer, and seeks treasure. The witch asks if the treasure is worth his life.
And he answers. As the heroes make their climactic escape the villainous Captain Salazar, an engaging performance by Javier Bardem, comes up behind Carina. Seeing this, Barbossa tells her that she is his treasure, and sacrifices himself to save her life. The movie ends with a touching reunion between Will and his Wife Elizabeth, able to be together now that all the curses of the sea are broken.
In my post, The Father’s Redemption, I went through some well thought out movies and their deeper meaning as regards fathers. This film was somewhat more relaxed than those. Yet, even here, this trend of fathers being redeemed shows itself. I am not sure what this portends, but I hope this foreshadows a shift in our culture regarding the appreciation of fatherhood.