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The "Pirates of the Caribbean" Films

Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Pirates of the Caribbean Films
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) | Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) | Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" Films

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
d. Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg, 129 minutes

Film Plot Summary

At nighttime within a lighthouse, young Henry Turner (Lewis McGowan), Captain Will Turner's (Orlando Bloom) 12 year-old son, grabbed a length of rope and a nautical chart before rowing across a choppy sea. He tied the rope around one of his ankles and attached it to a makeshift anchor to sink to the ocean seabed, to reach his cursed father's sunken ship, The Flying Dutchman. The ship burst onto the surface of the water as he confronted his cursed father Will Turner (with barnacles on his face). The boy promised that he knew a way to break the curse and free his father: "A treasure that holds all the power of the sea. The Trident of Poseidon can break your curse." Will disagreed ("My curse will never be broken"), and said the Trident could never be found. The young boy vowed to contact Captain Jack Sparrow for help. After their brief conversation, the ship re-submerged.

Nine years later, Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) was now a sailor on the British naval vessel The Monarch that was chasing Jolly Roger pirates (led by Pirate Bonnet) who had stolen a Dutch barque, and was proceeding into the Devil's Triangle. When Henry attempted to warn the Captain about the "old sailor's myth" that the Triangle was a dangerous and supernatural place, he was arrested for treason (his coat sleeves were ripped off) and locked up. He was placed in a below-deck brig cell littered with 'Dead or Alive' Wanted posters of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) on the floor. Turner's elderly cellmate noted (inaccurately) that Sparrow was buried in an unmarked grave on the Caribbean island of St. Martin.

As the ship entered the Triangle, it encountered The Silent Mary, a ghostly pirate ship that had been shipwrecked, condemned and cursed to remain in the Triangle forever ("Hell on Earth"). It was commanded by the brutal, undead Spanish Capitan Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), whose cadaverous naval crew murdered every Britisher on board - except for Henry. Salazar then explained to Henry: "No need to fear me boy. I always leave one man alive. To tell the tale." Salazar then urged Henry to deliver a vengeful message to Jack:

The key to our escape is Jack Sparrow and the compass which he holds...Find Sparrow for me and relay a message from Capitan Salazar. Salazar. Tell him I will behold the daylight again. And on that day, death. Death will come straight for him. I wish I could do it myself, but, dead men tell no tales.

The film's title screen appeared: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."

Later on the tropical island of St. Martin in the Caribbean, imprisoned young astronomer and horologist (the study of time) - Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) (nee Barbossa), was accused of allegedly practicing witchcraft ("an orphan born of the devil") and sentenced to be executed. She denied the charges and claimed she was "a woman of science." She also claimed that she possessed a diary from her estranged and unknown father, and was on a quest for the truth of her identity. Suddenly, she picked the cell lock and escaped, during the town's dedication of the new Royal Bank, and fled when British soldiers identified her. After the bank's vault safe was opened during the ceremony led by town's Mayor Dix (Bruce Spence), dread-locked, rum-drunken Captain Jack Sparrow was found sleeping inside, surrounded by gold bars and bags of coins.

As British soldiers lined up to fire at Captain Jack who staggered around, the Mayor's wife Frances (Zoe Ventoura) awoke from her slumber - also within the vault. As she ran off, Jack remembered that he was there with his pirate crew, including loyal First Mate Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) and Scrum (Stephen Graham), to rob the bank by hauling off the vault - a team of horses pulled on the rope tied around the vault's safe. The robbery plan failed (Jack: "That was not part of the plan") when the entire bank structure was dragged away and eventually collapsed at the outskirts of the town, and all of the loot in the vault had been scattered into the streets.

Meanwhile, Carina fled into an astronomy shop (with a sign reading: "NO DOGS NO WOMEN"), a nautical instrument store where she bought a pocket-sized chronometer (to study an impending "blood moon") from the astonished male store-owner. She crossed paths with Jack, who entered from the street and the two fugitives joined together to separately flee from British soldiers. Jack reunited with his starving and exasperated pirate crew and the heavy vault at his beached pirate ship the Dying Gull, where they found that the safe was emptied of all its fortune except for one gold coin. Soon after, Jack was abandoned by his dispirited crew ("You've lost your luck. You've lost your ship. Now, you've lost your crew"), including Gibbs, and forced to set out on his own.

In town, Henry woke up shackled to his hospital bed, and was accused of being the only survivor of The Monarch - and a cowardly treasonous deserter by British Royal Navy officer Lieutenant John Scarfield (David Wenham), the commander of The Essex. He was approached by Carina, disguised as a nurse, who was there "to see if the rumors are true." She asked why he was seeking the Trident of Poseidon. He replied: "The Trident can break any curse at sea. My father is trapped by such a curse." She claimed she had to get off the island "to solve The Map No Man Can Read" - an ancient text left by Poseidon himself. She showed him a copy of the diary (with a ruby embedded in its cover) of Galileo Galilei, left to her by her unknown father. The famed scientist/astronomer spent his life searching for the Trident. She further explained: "It's why he invented the spyglass." They both surmised the Map was "hidden in the stars." And during an upcoming "blood moon," only then could the Map be read and the Trident found.

Suddenly, British guards approached to capture and arrest Carina. She handed Turner a pick as she hastily requested to be saved: "Find us a ship. And the Trident will be ours." In the chaos, Turner picked his shackles and disappeared, although Carina was apprehended and taken back to prison.

Meanwhile, a disconsolate Jack entered an inn where he traded his magical, ornate compass (with a black cover) for a bottle of rum. Once he gave up the compass, the table shook and the rattling vibrations reached all the way to the Devil's Triangle. The spinning compass caused the wheel of Capitan Salazar's boat to also spin - Salazar realized that Jack had given away the compass, thereby freeing him and his crew. He was exultant: "We are free. Now, now. It's time to hunt a pirate."

Out on the street (witnessed by Henry Turner), Jack was captured by the British and threatened with execution by dawn. Out on the open seas, a three-masted barque sailed with a flag of crossed swords. Nearby, Salazar's ghostly vessel, The Silent Mary, suddenly appeared and swallowed up the barque. Now imprisoned, and during a blood moon event, Carina noticed the light made the red ruby jewel glow on the cover of the diary. She removed the ruby from the leather cover and moved it over the jacket cover to uneil a secret clue:

To Release the Power of the Sea, All Must Divide.

A star-trail design led to the bottom of the cover and the drawing of an island, when she deciphered that the heavenly stars would provide a map to the Trident's hidden location: "The stars lead to an island."

Disguised in a British red-coat uniform, Henry Turner entered the prison and located Captain Jack Sparrow's cell. He urged Jack to help him free his father: "I found the way to save my father. There is one thing that can break his curse and free him from the Dutchman. The Trident of Poseidon." Jack responded: "The treasure to be found with The Map That No Man Can Read. Never heard of it." Henry told him about Carina also in the prison who had the map, and could figure out the location of the Trident, in order to control the seas. Henry also warned that undead Spanish Captain Salazar was now alive, seeking revenge, and "an army of dead" was coming for Jack ("as the dead man's tale is told"). The Trident was their only hope.

On the deck of the Queen Anne's Revenge, the crew dined as one-legged pirate Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) relaxed in his cabin. He had amassed fabulous riches and sported a carved, jewel-encrusted peg-leg. Barbossa was interrupted by two crew-members, Mullroy and Murtogg (Angus Barnett and Giles New) who warned that his entire fleet of ships was being sunk by Captain Salazar. Immediately, Barbossa sought out shaven-headed witch Shansa (Golshifteh Farahani), who warned him that he should leave his pirate life to save himself: "The dead have taken command of the sea" - she specified that the 'dead' were searching for Jack Sparrow. She added: "The Trident is Jack's only hope." She had acquired Jack's compass which she bestowed on Barbossa, to help him retain his "treasure" and possibly acquire new riches. Barbossa had a plan: "Time to make a deal with the dead."

Facing execution in the morning, both Carina and Jack were in separate dungeon cells. As Jack was led to execution, he passed the cell of his Uncle Jack (Paul McCartney) and they briefly spoke together. Both Carina and Jack were led to the outdoor execution platform (Carina was to be hung, while Jack was to be guillotined), but after stalling the process, they were saved by the combined efforts of Henry and Jack's crew (who were bribed to help with 10 silver pieces). The entire group set sail after launching Jack's Dying Gull - to search for the Trident.

Meanwhile, Barbossa's Queen Anne's Revenge located Salazar's haunted pirate ship Silent Mary with a fragmented hull on the high seas. About to be swallowed up, Barbossa called out: "Capitan Salazar. I hear you be looking for Jack Sparrow." Gray-faced dead sailors boarded Barbossa's ship - and one by one, Barbossa's crew members were slaughtered. Salazar wanted to know the exact location of Jack Sparrow, but Barbossa only knew that Jack was "sailing for the Trident." To spare his own life and a few of his crew, Barbossa talked his way out of complete destruction by promising to find Jack: "I declare you shall have Jack's life by sunrise on the morrow."

Back on land, Lieutenant Scarfield attempted to force Shansa to help him locate Sparrow and Carina. He wished to have the British Empire acquire the Trident and rule the seas: "I want to know where that pirate is going with that witch" - by interpreting Carina's star-trail drawing that she had scratched into her cell wall. A British naval war-ship, the Essex, was launched to find them.

While traveling together to locate Jack, and as the sun was about to rise, Salazar told Barbossa about his last encounter with Jack. Salazar's flashback sequence showed him engaged in sea battles for the Spanish Navy with other pirate ships, and how Jack had ended his life:

Pirates had infected the seas for generations. Taken the life of my father and his father before. So I vowed to end this plague once and for all. And that is what I did, I destroyed dozens of ships. The last ones joined together to try and defeat me. But they soon realized it was hopeless. Nothing could stop the Silent Mary...The sea was finally pure. Their wretched flags would no longer stain the sea....The last of their ships were burning before my eyes. And in that moment of victory, it's when I heard it.

On the last remaining ship the Wicked Wench, a young survivor - pirate boy Jack Sparrow, who had just been handed a magical compass by the dying captain, mocked Salazar's victory and power. Salazar remembered how he was tricked by Jack's ship into entering the treacherous and deadly Devil's Triangle area where he met his fate: "He took everything from me and filled me with rage. And pain. And here is where the tale ends."

Fortunately for Barbossa back in the present, Jack's ship the Dying Gull was seen straight ahead on the horizon ("Found as promised"), and Barbossa's life was spared. Jack's frustrated crew was fearful that they were being vengefully hunted by the undead ghostly Salazar, and they threatened mutiny. Jack, Carina, and Henry were put into a rowboat and separated from the ship. Impatient and not wanting to be captured by Salazar in pursuit, Carina stripped down to her corset and bloomers and jumped into the water to swim to a nearby island's shore. Salazar unleashed three aggressive, ghostly skeletal sharks to surround and attack their rowboat ("Kill the Sparrow!"). Soon, Salazar and his undead men (who ran across the top of the water) surged forward and confronted Jack and Henry face-to-face after they had reached the island's white-sand beach - but because they were undead, they couldn't step directly on land.

Carina ran into the interior of the island, where in the midst of dense jungle vegetation, she was caught in a net near a sign marked: HANGMAN'S BAY - STRANGERS NOT WELCOME. Henry and Jack were also trapped in a net. Three villainous men approached the airborne net. Meanwhile, Salazar returned to Barbossa's ship Queen Anne's Revenge, and murdered many of the crew. Barbossa again bargained for his life and some of his crew with another promise to Salazar: "Jack be trapped! He can never escape that island...Me men and meself will go ashore. The scurvy traitor will be yours - on me honor...Spare me my life, and I'll fetch you the Sparrow." Barbossa was freed to fulfill his promise.

Jack awoke within a huge whale rib-cage on the island's beach, where he found himself and his companions tied up. The pirate leader Pig Kelly (Ken Radley) announced the repayment of Jack's debt of silver to him: "It's time to pay your debt." Sparrow was forced to participate in a marriage ceremony to Pig's poor, widowed, vulgar, and scabby-mouthed ugly sister Beatrice Kelly (Hannah Walters) (with two chubby children) - but suddenly, Barbossa appeared, fired his gun into the air, killed Kelly, dispersed the marriage guests, and freed the trio. He told them his intentions - to ally with Jack in his search and seek vengeance against Salazar: "I've come for the Trident of Poseidon."

To aid in their mutual quest, Barbossa knew that they had to restore Jack's ship, The Black Pearl, to its original size. [Note: The ship had been miniaturized and trapped in a bottle by legendary pirate Blackbeard five years earlier.] He intoned his wish with his Sword of Triton raised in the air: "By the power of that blackguard's sovereign blade, I hereby release the Black Pearl to her former and rightful glory." He pierced the small bottle (in Jack's breast-pocket) with his sword tip - the ship came to life in stages. After being placed in the sea, it majestically grew to its former size. Everyone boarded the ship, but to Jack's dismay, he was held at gunpoint and tied to the mast by Captain Barbossa who vowed ("Time to race the dead"), while Carina took over navigation of the ship by the stars - in its search for the Trident of Poseidon.

While sailing along, Barbossa noticed Carina's diary that she claimed was her "birthright" and had been given to her by her father - whom she believed was "a man of science" (an astronomer). She described how she was an orphan, and the diary was "left to me on the steps of a children's home. Along with a name and nothing else." She claimed that was named after the "brightest star in the North." [Note: Carina was the name of the Southern constellation that contained the star Canopus, the second-brightest star in the heavens.] Suddenly, as Barbossa walked away, he realized that she was his long-lost daughter, born of a female named Margaret Smyth who was known to both him and Captain Jack. To Jack, Barbossa confessed to Carina's parentage:

I placed the infant in an orphanage, never to see her again. I thought the ruby might afford her some ease in life, but I never imagined she'd take those scribblin's and make a life of her own. A life that's led her back to me.

Jack attempted to use the secret to his advantage to blackmail Barbossa in exchange for the compass, 216 barrels of rum, and Jack the monkey, but he remained tied up.

Meanwhile, the British ship the Essex had earlier caught up to Jack's boat, the Dying Gull with its sparse remaining crew. They took the leaders of the mutiny as prisoners, and then abandoned them in a lifeboat. The British naval officers, led by Lieutenant Scarfield then resumed their quest, caught up to The Black Pearl, and prepared to attack, but were interrupted with a surprise attack by Salazar's ghost ship the Silent Mary, that appeared like a giant sea monster to swallow it up. When it capsized, the Essex caught fire and became a fireball of flames. The Silent Mary then turned its sights on the Black Pearl and engaged in a massive battle, accompanied by the few mutinied crew members from the Dying Gull who appeared in their lifeboat, scrambled aboard the Pearl, and cried out: "Save the Pearl." Salazar personally pursued Jack to murder him, as the ships came side by side, and both vessels inched closer to their destination - Black Rock Island (or Trident Island) - the site identified by the 5-star constellation on the cover of Carina's diary.

The Pearl crashed into the rocky volcanic shore of the island, as Salazar's crew returned to the Silent Mary with Henry as hostage tied to the mast. The sun rose, and as its light struck the island's surface, hundreds of twinkling lights were visible. She interpreted the surface as The Map No Man Can Read - "This island is a perfect reflection of the heavens." Four separate ruby jewels glowed on the island, mirroring their positioning and configuration in the diary. But Carina noted: "One star's missing." She urged everyone to quickly disembark: "We have to find the Trident to save Henry." At the spot where the missing star should have been located, she found an unglowing, dull red gemstone atop an outcropping. Barbossa handed her the ruby fragment from the diary - the missing star - and when fitted in place, it magically glowed and mystically connected to Poseidon's Tomb on the ocean floor below (slightly off-shore), marked by a Three-Pronged Trident (glowing emerald green and yellow). The ocean waters parted to form an underwater path (protected by two high ocean seawalls) that stretched from the island to the Trident. Carina and Jack fell into the pathway and approached the Trident by winding their way through the seabed.

Salazar's strategy was to possess Henry's body in order to chase after Jack - but was warned: "Once you possess the living, there is no coming back. You will be trapped in his body. Forever." Salazar was confident and unperturbed: "The Trident will set me free." Now in Henry's body, Salazar pursued after them and attacked Jack with a sword and engaged in a fierce duel, and was able to seize the Trident before Carina did. As a result, Salazar was released from Henry's body. As Salazar waved the Trident in an attempt to kill Jack, the ocean walls began to collapse inward. Henry revived and reminded Carina of the legend: "To release the power of the sea...All must divide. If the Trident holds all the power, then, then every curse is held inside." In other words, if the all-powerful Trident was destroyed, all curses upon the sea would be broken.

Salazar stabbed the prongs of the Trident into Jack's chest - but it didn't impale him because it struck the diary in Jack's vest pocket. Coming to Jack's defense, Henry sliced and shattered the Trident into pieces with a sword - thus fulfilling the legend that all curses upon the sea would now be broken. As a result, Salazar and his crew immediately returned to their human, mortal selves. The curtains of high seawall water on both sides of the chasm began to slowly fill in and collapse - and threatened the drowning of the now-restored, flesh and blood crew members. On the surface of the sea, and sailing next to the divide, the Black Pearl dropped an anchor line (with Barbossa riding it) into the gap - to assist in extracting Jack, Henry, and Carina, who began to climb the heavy chain. Still seeking revenge on Jack, Salazar pursued them and jumped onto the bottom of the chain.

When Carina tumbled down and was threatened by Salazar's approach, Barbossa made a self-sacrificing move to grab and save her. As they held onto each other, she noticed a tattoo on his arm that duplicated the 5 star-pattern on the diary's cover. When she asked: "Who am I to you?", he answered: "Treasure." She realized who had saved her life - her long-lost father. Jack reached down, grabbed Henry's sword, and tossed it down to Barbossa, who let go of the chain. As he fell down the chain's length, with a self-sacrificing gesture, he stabbed Salazar with the sword, and both men tumbled off the chain. Salazar fell onto the anchor face-first and dropped dead into the ocean. As the sea walls closed in and engulfed him, Barbossa kept his gaze on Carina before drowning. The trio of survivors kept clinging to the anchor chain and were pulled from the water as the two cascading sides were reunited, and they were brought on board the Pearl. Crew members realized that Barbossa was gone - and they honored his heroism by removing their hats. Carina was sad and grief-stricken, noting to Henry: "For a moment I had everything, Henry. Now it's all gone again," but was able to remind him that her name was Barbossa, when he called her Ms. Smyth.

Much later in Port Royal, not far from Henry's home on a hillside, Henry attempted to kiss Carina, but she slapped him before allowing a passionate and romantic kiss. He took out his spyglass and saw the white-sailed masts of his father's ship - the Flying Dutchman. He saw his father walking up the hill towards them. After they reunited and embraced, Will pondered: "How did you do it? How did you break the curse?" As they both looked across the meadow, Will's beautiful brunette-haired wife Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) suddenly strode toward them, and greeted Will with a hug and kiss. Out on the water on the deck of the Black Pearl, Jack had been watching the two reunions with his spyglass: "What a truly revolting sight!" Master Gibbs and Jack's crew welcomed him back as their Captain. Jack the monkey returned Jack's magic compass to him. As Jack took the wheel-helm and set sail beyond the horizon, Gibbs and Jack shared the film's final lines:

Gibbs: What be our heading, Captain?
Jack: We shall follow the stars, Master Gibbs. (Jack intended to use his compass for navigation, instead of charts or maps)
Gibbs: Aye, aye, Captain! (He tossed away his charts)
Jack: I have a rendezvous beyond my beloved horizon.

--- Post-Credits Sequence ---

During a lightning storm raging outside, Will and Elizabeth were sleeping in a fancy bed when footsteps were heard approaching. A shadowy, large-headed figure entered the bedroom door, moved toward the bed, and stood over the resting couple. As thunder boomed and a bolt of lightning struck, Will sat upright and saw the sharp claw of a resurrected Davy Jones, but looked again and saw nothing. He assumed it was only a nightmare, cuddled closely next to Elizabeth, and returned to sleep. The camera panned downward to the wooden floor next to the bed, where there was a puddle of water with barnacles.

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

This period adventure (and fantasy swashbuckler) was the fifth installment in the POTC franchise of films (with Jerry Bruckheimer again as producer). It was originally scheduled to be the last POTC film, but then a sixth film was announced for the future. This installment was released six years after the previous POTC film, thereby making it the longest time span between films.

Some critics regarded the film as a reboot or remake of the first film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). In this story, down on his luck anti-hero Captain Jack Sparrow sailed on his shabby ship known as the Dying Gull. He found his life was threatened by malicious Captain Salazar and his crew - who had escaped from the Devil's Triangle and sought to eliminate him and all other pirates. Jack sought to survive with the help of astronomer Carina Smyth and Royal Navy sailor Henry in acquiring the legendary Trident of Poseidon.

The film's title referred to the pirates' belief that there was a good rationale for leaving no survivors - dead men don't talk.

At 129 minutes, it was the shortest of the existing POTC films.

Its production budget was $230 million. The box-office results were modest in the US: $172.6 million (domestic) and $794.9 million (worldwide). At the time, it was the second lowest-grossing film of the series.

With the tagline: "All pirates must die."

Although co-stars Orlando Bloom (as Will Turner) and Keira Knightley (as Elizabeth Swann) had said they wouldn't return to the franchise and were missing from the previous film, they both appeared in the film.

Set-pieces: the attack of Captain Salazar's ghostly ship upon the British vessel in the Devil's Triangle, Captain Jack's failed bank-vault robbery in St. Martin, the rescue sequence of Jack and Carina from execution by Henry Turner and Jack's crew, Salazar's flashback sequence of sea battles and the loss of his life to Jack in the Devil's Triangle, the sea battle between the Black Pearl and Salazar's ghost ship Silent Mary, and the climactic conclusion to acquire Poseidon's Trident on the island.

Young Henry Turner
(Lewis McGowan)

Captain Will Turner
(Orlando Bloom)

Henry Turner
(Brenton Thwaites)

Capitan Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem)

Carina Smyth
(Kaya Scodelario)

Captain Jack Sparrow
(Johnny Depp)

Mayor Dix
(Bruce Spence)

First Mate Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally)

(Stephen Graham)

Lieutenant John Scarfield
(David Wenham)

Captain Hector Barbossa
(Geoffrey Rush)

Mullroy and Murtogg
(Angus Barnett and Giles New)

(Golshifteh Farahani)

Uncle Jack
(Paul McCartney)

Pig Kelly
(Ken Radley)

Elizabeth Swann
(Keira Knightley)

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