"Not only is it huge in scope, but we're dealing with iconic characters and iconic ships and elements. I felt there was some sense of magic, walking on to that set." Co-Director Joachim Ronning, on getting started on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Captain Jack's past does more than haunt him.
Down on luck, Captain Jack Sparrow realizes that he made a mistake as soon as he traded in his magic compass for a bottle of rum at a local bar. This compass, which has been Jack's prized possession in all of the Pirates films, points him in the direction of what he wants most. A fellow crew member gave it to him years ago while on the ship of Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), who was ruling the Spanish seas and killing all the pirates in his path. To stop him, young Jack trapped the evil captain and his crew in Devil's Triangle, where they were all killed. Jack got away with their ship.
Now, what Jack didn't realize is that giving the compass away triggers the release of these angry ghosts. Free to seek revenge, Captain Salazar sets out to kill Jack and find the mythical Trident of Poseidon so that he can break his curse and control the seas. A few other people are looking for the Trident for their own reasons too, so it's a race to see who finds it first in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, this adventure revisits old friends and introduces new ones, who represent the next generation of Pirates of the Caribbean.
It's hard to believe that five Pirates of the Caribbean movies are out. The first three, which I consider the originals, told one continuous story. The last two were independent stories, and I really enjoyed them too. What I love about this installment of Pirates of the Caribbean is its mix of both old an new. "I think what we've done here is come up with new angles, new surprises," Johnny says. "I think it will have the surprise, the element of surprise that the first one had."
The film opens with a young boy on a mission. It's Henry Turner, son of Elizabeth (Kiera Knightly) and Will (Orlando Bloom), and he's determined to break his father's curse. Will and Elizabeth drove the story of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. When we last saw them, they were forced to part ways because Will had to captain The Flying Dutchman under a curse that only gave him a single day every 10 years to set foot on land. Henry doesn't want to wait that long, so he meets his father at sea and tells him his plan to find the Trident of Poseidon, which has the power to break his and all other curses of the sea. Of course, to do this, he'll need the help of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Although Will tells Henry to give up and stay away from Jack, he spends the next 9 years looking for Jack and working toward his goal. Henry (Brendan Thwaites) also meets a young woman, Carina (Kaya Scodelario), who is arrested for witchcraft just because she's a girl who happens to be smart about astronomy and horology. I like her! She agrees to help Henry because she also wants the Trident of Poseidon to reveal mysteries from her past. Javier Bardem makes a great scary ghost pirate. "He's full of rage and the need for revenge," Javier Bardem explains. My favorite thing is how his hair is always floating as if he's under water.
That brings me to the great special effects, make-up, and costumes. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies always show me something I've never seen before, and this one didn't disappoint. All of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have great stunts, special effects, and ghosts in them, and I appreciate that they are all so detailed and different every time. In this one, I love how the decaying ghosts (including the sea creatures) look and move. I have no idea how they achieved some of the underwater sequences. It's all movie magic! "It's in the craftsmanship and the detail," Kaya Scodelario says. "It's very easy to lose yourself and feel like you're in another world."
What about Johnny?
I know, I didn't talk about Johnny here at all. I'll admit that I didn't enjoy finding Captain Jack overtly drunk in the first few scenes. I used to completely forget Johnny was Johnny when I watch his movies because I get lost in his character. These days, though, with all of Johnny's personal drama in the last couple years, I'm always watching his new movies irrationally wondering if he's seems okay and thinking I'll be able to tell either way. Seeing him act drunk so well isn't helping my sanity, though I realize this drunkenness is necessary for moving the story along. You know Captain Jack has hit rock bottom when he trades his compass for a bottle of rum!
The Kitties try out the pirate's life.
The Kitties aren't big fans of water, but they couldn't resist riding The Black Pearl's anchor. Here, with Mr. Smith (Tyrone) at the helm, Captain Jack (Gordon) leads the way to the safety of the ship as the parted sea is slowly closing in. Not far behind are Henry (Comet) and Captain Barbossa (B.J.). Captain Barbossa grabs Carina (Lily) just in time to save her from falling into the hands of Captain Salazar (Norman), who is hot on her heels. (These are some of the how'd-they-do-that special effects I'm talking about!)
Johnny joins an all-star cast on a train in Murder on the Orient Express. I hope he's careful because someone dies.
All images © Walt Disney Pictures, except for the illustration © Melissa Connolly