'Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' Trailer Breakdown:

The first teaser trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales arrived last night and it was...a pleasant surprise? After all, this series has had its ups and its downs, but the fourth film was a true slog and evidence that these movies were officially running on fumes. It's amazing what the presence of new directors and an actor like Javier Bardem can do to get you interested in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

So let's get to the bottom of this trailer and see what makes it tick. Join me for a patented frame-by-frame over-analysis of the whole thing.


One of the most promising things about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the men behind the camera. Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg were hired for this gig shortly after helming the 2012 film Kon-Tiki, which is set almost entirely on a wooden raft crossing the Pacific Ocean. In other words, these guys know how to shoot on boats and on water, which is nothing short of a pain in the ass. Anyway, this is just my long way of getting around to saying, "Well, I'm a little disappointed that this trailer opens with a largely digital ocean shot since these two are so good at filming the actual ocean, but hey, I'm sure the rest of the movie will feature plenty of actual ocean shots and so on."


Since this is film series based on a theme park ride that literally opens with riders literally floating into a dark and mysterious cave, it's only appropriate that this teaser features a ship braving a dark cavern in the side of a rocky island. The only thing missing is a disembodied pirate skull issuing warnings above the entrance.


Whether by accident or design, the sequence depicted in this trailer definitely appears to echo the climax of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. A mysterious cave! A British naval vessel! An army of undead and vengeful pirates! Lots of fog!


Similarities aside, the footage on display here is just different enough from past Pirates of the Caribbean movies to snag my interest. The atmosphere here is certainly creepy. Whether this is Rønning and Sandberg bringing something new to the table or simply the fact that this film is the follow-up to the genuinely grotesque-looking Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides remains to be seen. 


While these movies have always leaned hard on supernatural elements, Dead Men Tell No Tales looks like its borrowing some legit horror imagery, with ghostly hands emerging from the darkness to attack a row of British soldiers. These movies were always at their best when the villains were legitimately unsettling and unforgiving monsters, so...fingers crossed for some memorable cannon fodder?


And here's our first glimpse of Captain Salazar, the villain played by Oscar-winner Javier Bardem. He's the kind of guy who effortlessly walks through fiery battlefields while the camera follows him from behind, so you know he's tough.


One of the more interesting details in the trailer is this close-up of Captain Salazar's uniform. Note the medals, which suggest that his past extends beyond being just another pirate. Maybe he's a straight-arrow captain who decided to take a walk on the dark side and ended up cursed for this trouble?


For reasons unknown, the Pirates of the Caribbean series' newest hero is locked up in the brig below deck. This is Henry, played by Brenton Thwaites, whose credits include The Giver, Oculus, and Maleficent. The lack of an officially announced last name could mean nothing, but it could also lend credence to the speculation that he is the son of Orlando Bloom's Will Turner. After all, some scattered plot details suggest that his storyline involves him trying to reconnect with his father. And there is a definite resemblance there...


In a slightly bold move, the trailer doesn't feature Johnny Depp in the flesh, only presenting Captain Jack Sparrow as a picture on a wanted poster. There are a few elements to consider here. After all, this could be a canny marketing move to suggest to audiences that this series is bigger than Captain Jack, but it could also be the proper response when you consider Depp's past few months, which included an ugly divorce and a massive box office bomb with Alice Through the Looking Glass. Emphasizing the supernatural piracy first may be a wise move.


"Jack Sparrow? Do you know this pirate?" As you'd expect from a Pirates of the Caribbean villain, Captain Salazar looks appropriately gruesome, a deteriorating specter whose head doesn't seem to be quite attached to his body. This very extreme look suggests that we will someday see some pretty good set pictures of Bardem wearing ping-pong balls all over his head. While we're here, I'd be lying it I said I didn't appreciate Bardem dialing his accent up to eleven. At the very least, he sounds like he's having a ball.


The trailer offers this brief look at Salazar's crew, who all appear to be in even worse shape than him. While the walking corpse look is familiar enough, it's the other details that intrigue me, like how these guys seem to bring literal fire and brimstone into the air around them and how their decaying pieces are held together with supernatural force. It's pretty wild.


Okay, so this is the point where Captain Salazar lays his cards on the table. He wants Captain Jack dead, because every undead/cursed ship captain in the Caribbean wants Captain Jack dead. That's just understood by now. Beyond this, the actual plot of the movie involves Jack eluding the vengeful Salazar while seeking out Poseidon's trident, which will give him command of the seas. For the record, here's the full synopsis:

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea...including him. Captain Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.


"Tell him...death will come straight for him." And with a mouthful of black ooze, Captain Salazar completes his transformation into Danny DeVito's Penguin.


And then a familiar skull with a new paint job and a release year. No title. Look, you've got to hand it to Disney and their marketing department – they know how to sell these things.

Pirates of the Caribbean; Dead Men Tell No Tales is set to open on May 26, 2017.