This week, the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will be released. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the official title of it, and based off of the trailers released so far, it’s Disney’s attempt to return the Pirates franchise to its former glory (after the fourth movie was received with less enthusiasm than the first three). This film is probably going to be similar to the others: a fun, mindless fantasy movie about 18th century piracy with plenty of fight scenes and plenty of Johnny Depp. I have no doubt that people will go see it in the millions. In spite of that, I’m here with a different message. I give you: my top five reasons not to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
5. It isn’t going to be a good movie.
At this point, though, that’s kind of a given: movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise aren’t good. Sure, they’re on par in a technical sense, and they’re fun to watch, but they aren’t good movies. They aren’t artistic, and they mean almost nothing in a cultural sense–except for the fact that they prove that, in the early 2000’s, people liked watching historically inaccurate movies about pirates. Pirates of the Caribbean is the type of movie you watch when you want to turn off your brain for a couple hours. But of course, everyone already knows that, and that’s precisely why most people go to see it.
4. It’s a shameless Disney cash grab.
Disney is the undisputed champion of sequels that range from unnecessary to straight-up bad. For Disney, sequels aren’t about exploring the characters, the plot, or the world; sequels are about making even more money off the success of a single film. And that’s worked pretty well for them in the past, well enough that they’re still doing it. But here’s the thing: the moment a company starts making cash-grab movies is the moment they realize they no longer have to put any effort into their films. It’s the moment they consent to at least some of their future films being lowest-common-denominator blockbusters. Disney crossed that line a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep rewarding them for it.
3. There’s nothing in this movie you haven’t seen before.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “An undead pirate and his horde of similarly undead lackeys seek out Captain Jack Sparrow to get revenge for some trick or crime he committed against them years before.” If that sounds like the plot of almost every other Pirates of the Caribbean movie, that’s because it is. I am very sure that this film is going to be exactly like all the others. There might be a couple new characters/bankable movie stars to keep things fresh. But ultimately, the corporate filmmakers involved with this movie aren’t going to try anything new. And even if they do incorporate some sequence or plot point that hasn’t been done before in the franchise, it will be something that’s been done before in the film industry at large–probably in a better movie.
2. There are better movies to spend your money on.
We’re heading into the summer movie season now, and it looks like it’s going to be a good one. DC’s Wonder Woman comes out June 2nd and Marvel’s Spiderman: Homecoming will be released on June 7th. Speaking of Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 came out a couple of weeks ago, and should still be in theaters for a week or too before it’s gone. Even if you’re still determined to see a Disney movie, the live-action Beauty and the Beast is still in theaters and Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming out in December. (And sure, those two movies could also be called cash-grab sequels, but at least they add something to the previous installments of their respective franchises.) If action/fantasy films are what you’re looking for, it’s never been a better time to go to the movies. We don’t have to rely on Pirates of the Caribbean for entertainment.
1. Johnny Depp is a domestic abuser.
Johnny Depp is a popular movie star who’s built his career off of playing quirky, weird characters. Unfortunately, he’s also been accused of spousal abuse by his former wife, actress Amber Heard. In May of 2016, after being married to Depp for fifteen months, Heard accused him of abuse and applied for a restraining order, while also going ahead with a divorce. Heard originally sought a restraining order rather than any of kind of money; eventually, she and Depp settled both the case and their divorce. Depp settled the case for seven million dollars, and in return Heard dropped her request for a restraining order, without the option to refile. Amber Heard donated much of the money she received in the settlement, and the joint statement the couple released notably stated that “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains.” While Johnny Depp has not been convicted of abuse in a court of law, the evidence is clear. Though the film industry will probably continue to hire him due to his popularity, moviegoers don’t have to support the films that cast him. And I believe that we shouldn’t.
So there you have it. Five reasons why I believe Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn’t deserve your money when it comes out. Please understand that I’m not calling for a boycott or saying you’re a bad person if you do go see the movie; all I’m saying is that I don’t think this movie is worthwhile. As I already said, there are better things to see, and movie tickets are expensive. Maybe Pirates of the Caribbean is a movie better seen on DVD or Netflix, at some point in the future.