‘Davy Jone’s locker’ is a euphemism for a part of the bottom of the sea that hosts shipwrecks, and the dead sailors within. It is, basically, an expression for a state of death by downing in the high seas, but in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, these late and lamented gallant men of the navy, with a few pirates thrown in for good measure, still exist in a condition of the ‘undead’. They are like underwater zombies who are forever looking for revenge from specific individuals whom they hold responsible for their deaths, or sometimes even from the elements of nature that did them in.
Now, in this fifth edition of the franchise, we are told that when Jack Sparrow was a young lad, just an apprentice pirate then, not even a Captain, he made a mortal enemy of one Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), a deadly pirate hunter of the great Spanish Navy. He tricked the Spaniard into sailing into the ‘Devil’s Triangle’ by using his own pirate ship as bait. Salazar and his ship fell for the ruse – hook, line and sinker – were sunk in the cursed triangle, and turned into the living dead. Now the culprit, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), is into middle age, has become an alcoholic, and is being periodically deserted by his crew for not having done anything substantial for years. Apparently, they think he can no longer hang on to his iconic status as an outlaw of the high seas.
When the film begins, Sparrow has fallen into such dire straits that he attempts a bank robbery, an activity usually reserved for the landed gentry, not stylish sea faring men like himself. It is a bizarre robbery attempt with a calamitous result. When he is arrested and shortly to be executed by the British colonial government, and is asked which way of dying he would prefer – hanging, guillotine or shooting – he chooses the guillotine, because it sound vaguely French and very stylish. Unfortunately, the swaying and slurring Sparrow, it has to be said, has lost his charm, and in this film is actually sidelined by a few other characters.
We have an intellectual, a scientist to be precise, as the heroine of the movie, a woman called Carina Smythe (Kaya Scodelario). She is an astronomer and a horologist. Horology is the science of measuring time by various instruments, ranging from the ancient sun dial to modern atomic clocks, and if we didn’t know that we can take heart, because neither did any of the pirates in the movie. One of them thought it had to do with the study of horror, and claimed he was well acquainted by the science.
At any rate, after a lot of posturing about the genius of the astronomical predictions of Galileo Galilei, she says she can use his theories to pinpoint, via the stars, the exact position of an island in the ocean. Apparently, the entire galaxy can be seen on reflection on this island. When we eventually get there, we see a beautiful scene with the stars laid out twinkling on the land, in the exact position they are set in the skies.
This is, unfortunately, the only inventive scene in the movie. The rest of the film is dominated by endless battles between the undead and the living, and no matter how atrociously the name of Salazar is mispronounced by English sailors, and no matter how bad the Spanish accent of the undead Spaniards is done in English, nothing intrigues you anymore in this film, not even the elusive search for the ’Trident of Poseidon’ or the restoration of the original vessel of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, the beautiful ‘Black Pearl’ .
Sad to say, the series has run its course, and it is about time it shut shop.