OH great — he’s back.

Yes, that’s right folks, thatstumbling, bumbling loser of a sea captain — Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) — is back in yet another film version of a Disneyland e-ticket “thrill” ride in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Being a full-out Disney junkie, I can testify the first time you hear the words “dead men tell no tales” in the original Anaheim, California ride, is just before your passenger boat takes a 20-foot plunge.Straight down.

This movie should have taken the advice from anyone of the millions of visitors to the “Happiest Place on Earth” as this movie version of “Pirates of the Caribbean” does the same.

It takes the viewer on aride — straight down into darkness.

And it ain’t pretty.

We — in the collective sense — have all done this before. Actually it was 14 years ago — 14 years ago when Johnny Depp created and delivered the “down on his luck” Captain Jack Sparrow and this goofy character has not aged a day. Neither has the character of Jack Sparrow matured, where
today he has become the most boring, inept and hapless human to have ever worn pants.

In this latest “Pirates” outing, we find Depp’s Jack Sparrow, down on his luck (just like the first film) with maniacal ghost sailors (just like the first film) after his scalp.

In the film’s critical flashback, we see Sparrow as a young seaman, killing off all of his pirate rivals. But alas, as we know, it’s tough to keep a villainous swashbuckler down for long.

This time his old nemesis, the evil Captain Salazar (played by Academy Award winner Javier Bardem) and his crew are back from the dead, condemned by Sparrow to be forever forbidden to set foot on dry land and cursed to haunt the seven seas.

Now unleashed, Salazar and his undead crew are on the hunt, ready to keelhaul Sparrow from the highest yardarm. Salazar was once a mighty Spanish captain who killed thousands of men.

Actually not men but Pirates.

This is just about the time I had to force down an all-powerful urge to run out of the theater, streak down the mall, bark like a dog and howl at the moon.


Dear reader, we have seen this movie before. Not once. Not twice.

But five times!


This is the same “Pirates” movie that launched this series — 2003’s “Curse of the Black Pearl.”

All you have to do is sprinkle in parts of 2006’s “Dead Man’s Chest”; 2007’s “At World’s End”; 2011’s “On Stranger Tides,” mix it in a big bowl, pour it into a baking pan, shove it in the oven for 45 minutes and out pops today’s “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” At a cost of US$250 million, this is exactly the same plot of “Curse of the Black Pearl” with the same cast of characters (led the ever-great Geoffrey Rush and journeyman character actor Kevin McNally) with the same ending — well sort of.

It’s been six years now since “Stranger Tides” — “Dead Men” descended into production “hell” for two years, thus postponing this release — and we are either blessed (or cursed) for having to once again put up with the antics of the over eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow.

This time his nemesis, Captain Salazar (with truly fabulous makeup and production design) breaks out of the Devils Triangle (I think they meant Bermuda Tri angle) where he was in a “ghost prison,” or some nonsense like that, and the only thing that will save Jack Sparrow from certain doom is his finding and using the “legendary Trident of Poseidon” which bestows to the holder the power to control the seas.

I was rooting for Salazar all the way. If I was a gambling man, I would have sold my priceless collection of 1960’s era Marvel comic books and put it all on Salazar.

To win.

Two months ago, Academy Award–winning director Joachim Rønning (“Kon-Tiki”) stated that “Dead Men” was not going to be the last film in this franchise as previously reported but “only the beginning of the final adventure, implying that it would not be the last film of the franchise.”

What this “Pirates” film, with minimal global marketing and publicity (and nowhere close to the substantially better “Alien: Covenant”), is facing, and what you will hear a lot about in 2017, is “franchise fatigue.”

Too many movies rely on the same actors/actresses, same plot and same ending(s) and audiences are quickly losing interest. Not only is this latest “Pirates” film going to sink to the bottom of the ocean, it will thankfully pull Captain Jack Sparrow and his cohorts along on their journey down to “Davy Jones’ Locker.”

Don’t you remember the recent remakes/sequels/reinventions of “Independence Day,” “Ghostbusters” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”? I sure do, having to sit in darkness and constantly poking myself to stay awake. It isn’t that Johnny Depp isn’t a basically good actor; it’s because audiences will finally be bored with his alter ego, Captain Jack Sparrow.

And folks, I can tell you that “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is one mind-numbing reel of celluloid.

Yet the “Pirates” franchise won’t go away as long as the “bean counters” at Disney think there may be a global audience for it.


Ah … no.

You can’t crank out tedious remakes of “Fantastic Four,” “Power Rangers” or this “Pirates of the Caribbean” dregs and expect people to shell out their hard-earned pesos.

I will grant you there are some hidden gems in this “Pirates” film, specifically enjoyable were the cameo appearances of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and the delightful Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) which attempts to pull this “Dead Man Tells No Tales” full circle into the original film.
From 14 YEARS ago.

Best to watch out for a costumed Paul McCartney — one of the original Beatles — as a bearded sea captain.

Now that I enjoyed.

But the rest of this film can all go far, far away in a vain hope this will be the very last time we see Captain Jack Sparrow.
Alive or dead, reanimated or zombie.
Questions, or travel suggestions, write me at readingruffolos@gmail.com.

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