Story

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales begins with a brief meeting between young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and his cursed father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), captain of the Flying Dutchman. Henry tells his father that he has found a way to break the curse, but to do it Henry must find the legendary Trident of Poseidon. This is a powerful artefact that can destroy any sea-based curse and give total control of the sea to the person who possesses it. Unfortunately for Will and Henry, no-one can read the only map in existence that shows the location of the Trident.

Several years later, Henry Turner is still searching for the Trident. Through a series of chance events, Henry teams up with the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and a young woman named Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). Carina is a star-gazing scientist who has been condemned for being a witch. She also has not only the map that shows the way to the Trident, but also the ability to read the map.

But Henry isn’t the only one searching for the Trident. Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) wants the Trident so that he can rule the seas; Lieutenant Scarfield (David Wenham) of the British Royal Navy wants the Trident so that Britain can rule the seas; and Captain Jack Sparrow wants the Trident to fend off a ship of ghost pirates led by the famous Spanish pirate killer Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem). Salazar wants revenge on Jack Sparrow for the curse inflicted upon him and his crew. The race is on to find Poseidon’s Trident first and unlock its secrets.

Themes

Fantasy; myths and legends; pirates; witches and witchcraft; revenge; the supernatural; fate 

Violence

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales contains occasionally brutal violence; action violence; violence caused by guns and other hand weapons; fantasy-related violence; some mass destruction of property; some comical/slapstick violence, and multiple violent deaths, including the death of a lead character. There is, however, minimal blood and gore.

Here are some examples:

  • A young boy rows a small boat out to sea, ties one end of a rope to some rocks as a weight and the other end to his foot. The boy throws the rocks overboard and then jumps into the sea. The rocks pull him down to the ocean floor. The boy survives uninjured.
  • There are several sea battles involving pirates and Royal Navy ships. These battles cause large-scale death and destruction. Fire and smoke erupts from cannons as they fire at enemy ships. Cannon balls fly through the air and smash into the hulls and masts of ships. This causes large fiery explosions and sends sailors flying through the air.
  • Pirates kill many sailors by stabbing and slashing them with swords. We hear the sound of sword impacts.
  • A pirate impales a naval officer through the back with his sword. The sword is shown protruding from the officer’s chest. There’s minimal blood and gore.
  • In an act of brutal violence, a ghost pirate grabs a sailor by the throat, lifts him up into the air and snaps his neck. We hear the sound of bones breaking.
  • A lot of blood drips through the ship’s floorboards onto the deck below.
  • A sailor is on fire and falls overboard into the ocean. Another sailor has a bloody head wound.
  • Many pirates float in the sea after their ship sinks. They beg for mercy. The captain of the attackers orders his men to shoot the pirates, which they do.
  • In one scene a young man is punched in the face, dragged away and thrown in a prison cell. Other scenes show sailors and pirates being punched in the face.
  • In one comical scene a bank vault is opened, revealing a drunken pirate inside. Several soldiers fire their rifles at the pirate, who drops to the floor uninjured.
  • Some pirates steal an entire bank building. They tow it away with horses through the town’s streets while being chased by soldiers and guards. A pirate is perilously dragged behind the bank building, which swipes numerous buildings and causes mass destruction.
  • A young woman runs from soldiers who are firing rifles at her.
  • A soldier tells a group of soldiers to hang a man and woman.
  • A man tells another man to ask for a certain torturer if he is going to be disembowelled because that torturer has soft hands. There’s a reference to the man having his feet cut off.
  • Many men hang upside down on the deck of a ship. Several of the men are killed one at a time with a sword.
  • A man and young woman are about to be publicly executed. The man is strapped to a guillotine block, where he sees two severed heads in a basket in front of him. The woman stands on the gallows and has a noose placed around her neck. Just in time, a cannon fires and destroys the guillotine platform. The guillotine machine spins around and its blade narrowly misses the head of the man, who is still strapped to it. Meanwhile the young woman falls through a trapdoor and is caught by a man standing under the gallows platform. He saves her from death.
  • A man jumps from a ship’s swinging anchor to grab another man who’s also swinging from the anchor. This results in both men falling to their deaths.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has many scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • One scene shows a cursed man. Half of his face is grossly disfigured and covered in barnacles. This gives him a monstrous appearance.
  • There are many images of ghost pirates and animated dead pirates in various stages of decomposition. Some are so decomposed that only half a face or torso remains, while others have parts of their heads missing. The face of one ghost pirate has numerous razer-like cuts that seep black blood, while black blood also oozes from the sides of his mouth. 

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Ghost animals, including sharks and sea birds, are shown in various stages of decomposition. Ghost sharks attack men in a dingy.
  • A pirate ship is decorated with hundreds of golden skulls.
  • One man has long, dirty, discoloured fingernails. Another man has long, animal-like toenails. A pirate has an ornate metal peg-leg.
  • One young woman is called a witch. She has a bald head with coloured lines and tattoos over her head and neck. She also has discoloured teeth and a sinister demeanour.

From 8-13
The violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above might concern children in this age group.

Over 13
Some children in this age group might be concerned by some of the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has several sexual references and some innuendo. For example:

  • A man says that a ship’s captain walks in a funny way because he has one leg and 18-pound balls. The man is actually talking about cannon balls.
  • In a comical scene, a man is shown without his pants. We see his bare legs.
  • A man describes a woman as having a neck ‘like a giraffe and two wonderful …’. He’s referring to her breasts.
  • In a non-sexual situation, a man says, ‘I’m not paying for that’. A second man misinterprets this and replies, ‘Don’t say that to any woman’.
  • A woman declares that she is a horologist (study of time). Some sailors misunderstand her and think that she has said that she’s a prostitute.
  • A woman removes her dress to reveal that she’s wearing long underwear. A young man gets excited and says that he can see her ankles. A second man says, ‘You could have seen a lot more if you’d kept your cakehole shut’.
  • A woman with a noose tied around her neck falls through a gallows trapdoor and is caught by a young man below. The man’s face is level with the woman’s crotch. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales shows some use of substances. For example:

  • One of the main characters holds a bottle of rum throughout most of the movie. He occasionally swigs from the bottle and behaves drunkenly.
  • In one scene a bottle of rum is shot from the hand of a drunken pirate. 

Nudity and sexual activity

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has some sexual activity and partial nudity. For example:

  • In front of a crowd, a large bank safe is opened to show a man and woman asleep inside. The reaction from the crowd suggests that the couple has engaged in sexual activity. The woman stands up and runs off, holding the front of her dress together. This reveals some cleavage.
  • A couple of scenes show a man and woman kissing passionately on the lips.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales contains some low-level coarse language and some name-calling. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth movie in this series. It’s pitched at teenagers, adults and fans of the series. The movie is full of the slapstick comedy audiences expect from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Although Johnny Depp is as entertaining and charismatic as ever, the movie fails to deliver a convincing plot and fans might be a little disappointed.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Family love: a son’s love for his father and a father’s love for his daughter are key themes. Both father and son are willing to sacrifice all to protect the people they love.
  • Selflessness: although pirates are generally presented as selfish characters, the movie does show one of the main characters, a pirate, making the ultimate sacrifice.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the use of alcohol. One of the main characters is shown as drunk throughout the story but he unrealistically manages to avoid all mishaps. You could talk with your children about what might happen in real life if you drink too much alcohol.