The second trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has arrived, and it’s given us our first real look at the plot of this fifth and final movie in the franchise. Johnny Depp once again reprises his role as Captain Jack Sparrow, and Geoffrey Rush is back as Captain Barbossa. They’re joined by Javier Bardem as the sinister, undead Captain Salazar, Brenton Thwaites as young sailor Henry, and Kaya Scodelario as headstrong astronomer, Caryna Smyth. Orlando Bloom also returns as Will Turner, though after a brief glimpse of him in the Superbowl trailer, he is curiously absent from this one.
Dead Men Tell No Tales picks up with Captain Jack now Captain of the small and shabby Dying Gull. He is being pursued by Captain Salazar and his team of ghost sailors, who have escaped from The Devils’ Triangle. Salazar is intent upon killing every pirate at sea, but especially Jack. In order to survive, and to save others, Jack must find the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to do so, he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina and Henry. Below, we’ve broken the trailer down to take a look at what clues it offers about the movie as a whole:
A Return to Form
The whole tone of the trailer is very similar to that set by trailers for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Though all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have been commercially successful, the most critically praised entry is still the first movie, with the second instalment going the way of most sequels and generally being viewed as weaker. Sadly, though, each movie after that became progressively weaker too, with On Stranger Tides generally criticized as being too complicated and convoluted.
Hopefully, this time, Dead Men Tell No Tales has opted for a simpler plot, since it cites The Curse of the Black Pearl as inspiration. That inspiration is evident in the overall look and feel of the trailer - from the eerie, ghostly music, to the sweeping, swashbuckling Pirates music we know so well.
Captain Salazar and Young Jack Sparrow
While we already knew the basic premise of Dead Men Tell No Tales, we didn’t know about the history between Jack and Salazar until now. This is recounted in the trailer’s first few minutes, and no doubt will be repeated near the start of the movie. Jack’s pirating ways clearly riled Salazar while he was alive, to such an extent that he chased Jack across the high seas. Jack was, or is, an awesome pirate, though, and he outwitted Salazar at every turn, eventually (it seems) causing Salazar to drown. Now one of the many undead souls to haunt the high seas (and seriously, there’s a lot), Salazar is hell bent on killing as many pirates as possible, especially one named Jack Sparrow.
This might be a Disney movie, but they’re not sparing us the gruesome details here; even Barbossa seems shocked that Salazar kills thousands of men, but Salazar is quick to correct him; “Men, no. Pirates.”
Barbossa is Recruited by Salazar
It does seem as though Cap’n Barbossa is recruited to track Jack Sparrow down, albeit reluctantly. The rivalry and hatred between Jack Sparrow and Barbossa is legendary, but both men also have a healthy respect for one another since the events of The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s undeniably great to see Rush back as Barbossa once again; he’s a staple of the Pirates franchise and a villain that we all love to hate. Here’s hoping he serves more purpose than that of Salazar’s crutch, though, because the character is worth far more than that. It would be good if Barbossa switches allegiance and ends up helping Jack in some way, in spite of himself. Oh, and welcome back to the monkey, too, who clearly still scares Jack witless.
The Dead Have Taken Command of the Sea
“And they’re searching for a pearl, a girl, and a sparrow.” This line seems to be basically summarizing the entire movie, and if the plot really is going to be that easy to follow then we’re all for it. Knowing Pirates of the Caribbean, though, there will be several other factors to add in. The pearl is in reference to The Black Pearl of course, while the sparrow is also very obvious, especially since it’s followed by a shot of Jack, but the girl is a little more complex. There’s a rumor going around that Keira Knightley will make some sort of cameo as Elizabeth Swann, so could she be the girl the dead are searching for? It’s unlikely, in all fairness, especially since she’s hardly a girl any longer. What’s much more likely is that the girl they seek is Carina Smyth.
Carina and Henry
Two new characters (along with Salazar), Carina and Henry are without doubt, Dead Men’s equivalent of Will and Elizabeth, but who are they and where do they come from? Well, we’re willing to bet money on the fact that Henry is the son of Elizabeth and Will, but we’re at a loss to know where Carina fits other than being the obligatory female in a dress with good fighting skills. Let’s hope Disney don’t do her such a disservice, and actually give her a decent storyline. If she is being sought by Salazar, then that could hint to her having some kind of pirate heritage.
Carina is an astronomer, and wants to study at university, which women couldn’t do at that time. From the looks of the trailer, she is possibly sentenced to death for her determination to study, but she is also searching for Poseidon’s Trident and we have yet to find out why.
Scodelario argues that her character is not just a carbon copy of Elizabeth Swann, and let’s hope that’s true. From what we’ve seen, though, it’s hard to see Henry and Carina as anything other than the basic love interests, who serve as nothing more than a change of scene from the ghostly pirate story, which is actually what we’re here for.
Ghost Sharks, Ghost Crew, Ghost Ships
Basically, anything ghostly you can think of is likely to appear in Dead Men Tell No Tales; the clue is in the title. The last time we saw Will Turner, he had assumed the position of Davy Jones, though his tenure is said to be at its end. However, no doubt he still has ties with the oceanic underworld, as does Barbossa and of course, Salazar.
The trailer doesn’t disappoint in terms of showing us a real return to ghostly form; the CGI ships look outstandingly realistic, as do the ghost sharks that presumably, have somehow escaped the Devil’s triangle along with Salazar and his crew. But it’s the costume and makeup department that deserve special praise; it can’t be easy to dress and make up that many actors as a ship’s ghostly crew, but each and every one looks sensational, and who knew Javier Bardem could look so hideous?
Without doubt, the underworld/ supernatural element of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are their best feature, and it really seems to be brought to the fore here. Hopefully, it will be the same in the movie, replacing some of the sillier aspects that really didn’t work in previous Pirates instalments.
The Black Pearl is in a Bottle
Blackbeard put the Black Pearl in a bottle, and it needs some kind of magic to get it back out. That is why, in Dead Men Tell No Tales, Jack is the Captain of the rather less magnificent Dying Gull. Though at the end of Stranger Tides, he was reunited with the Pearl, he hasn’t yet managed to figure out the magic that keeps it contained.
Salazar and his crew seek the Pearl. Possibly that is only because they assume Jack will be at the helm, but the more likely explanation is that together, the girl, the pearl, and the sparrow, will at last allow Salazar to command the high seas and wreak his revenge on Jack Sparrow. The Black Pearl is, or was, the fastest, most powerful ship on the sea, and she’s been a constant source of battle throughout the movies. Her true Captain is Jack, though, so will she be able to save him, or will Jack be the one to save her, and can they manage to sail off into the sunset?
Jack is Back
Jack Sparrow is one of the funniest, off-the-wall, madcap characters ever created, and Depp plays him to perfection. Permanently soaked in rum, Jack Sparrow has somehow managed to make it through the many scrapes and deadly adventures he finds himself caught up in. Things are no different for him this time around, either. He brings nearly all of the humor to the trailer, from falling asleep while Henry is speaking, to skidding thorough an explosive scene while swigging from a bottle of rum.
Depp can also play it a little more serious when required, though, and we know Jack Sparrow does hold real affection for both Elizabeth and Will, and even Barbossa in his own, special way. It’ll be interesting to see Depp bringing that to the fore during the more dramatic scenes, and there looks to be plenty of those from this trailer.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) release date: May 26, 2017