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Film/TV Pirates

Published on May 30th, 2017 | by voxx


Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

Out: Now
Cert: 12A
Length: 129 minutes
Rating: 2/5

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg

Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario

Plot: In order to release his father, Will (Orlando Bloom), from the curse of the Flying Dutchman, Henry Turner (Thwaites) is on a quest to find the magical Poseidon’s Trident. Along the way, he joins forces with scientifically minded orphan Carina Smyth (Scodelario) and his dad’s one-time frenemy Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) — who happens to have an evil Spanish ghost (Bardem) after him.

When you get on a theme park ride for the first time it’s an original piece of memory that you will never forget, but when you return to the ride multiple times it gets monotonously tedious. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’ (changed its name from the US title ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’) is just like that; it’s the same thing over and over again. And for the fifth film in the franchise it’s exactly the same ride. Promising a return to form to 2003′s original film, ‘Curse of the Black Pearl’, Captain Jack Sparrow and his bunch of misfits are back – only not to the form we expect.

Story-wise it’s the same thing as ever. There’s yet another pay-check seeking villain, Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar – and his crew of ghosts manning a ghost ship out for revenge. And there’s another mishmash of a plot to hold it all together. We open with Henry Turner (Thwaites), the adult son of 2003′s titular show runner Will Turner (Orlando Bloom, who’s back in full swing) on a search for Jack Sparrow (Depp), who’s been missing for some years. He then goes on a mission to find the lost trident of Poseidon to end his father’s curse. With a racy yet stunning opening to kick start it’s promised return to form, this holds wholly well for the fifth film. There’s a stunning set-piece of Jack being dragged by a moving building through a backdrop of a Caribbean island. A hilarious set-piece that holds firm in the film’s first act thanks to the stunning cinematography. Though after the horrendously bad ideas that pile up he’s ridiculously routine, thus putting a barrier over his loose hinge.

On a fair scale you have to credit Norwegian directing team Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who found their sea-legs in 2012′s ‘Kon-Tiki’. The fault of the bad ideas aren’t all theirs, it’s the editing. The best bits happen to straggle in the film’s first half. On that note, there’s a rotating Guillotine, and centrifugal to its axis it spins several times over. The audience look on unblinkingly while the room fills with laughter, mostly at the look on Jack’s face as this makes him dizzy. But this quickly dwindles thanks to the piling bad ideas, the continuous jokes (the word “witch” is on repeat), and the additional flimsy CG. The first act’s hilarious swashbuckling proves to be the strongest force.

There’s a return of older characters that have been here since the beginning, specifically when we revisit Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbosa. He’s living the high life after the death of ‘On Stranger Tides’’ villain, Blackbeard. However this is short lived once he hears the news of Salazar’s return. He proves to be the reigning strength, yet through the film’s clogging list of ideas he’s long-winded. Salazar seeks out his help to find Jack, along the way coming up with plans to kill him. Enter a much-needed flashback showing the origin of Salazar’s revenge. It’s here when the flimsy CG first comes to light (Depp’s computerized younger self is an example of this). The film improves slightly over the previous misinterpreted Pirate venture of mythology. The new players improve it too. Henry Turner falls for an attractive adventurer, Carina Smyth (‘Maze Runner’s’ Kaya Scodelario), as she sees adventure with Jack’s crew as he goes in search for something weird.

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’ follows along the lines of mythology too. Jack still has his magic compass which points to things he wants most in life, there are zombie sharks, and there is a cacophonous plot involving the lost trident of Poseidon which Jack must find to end Will’s curse. Due to the bad ideas that pile up throughout it’s not the return to form that was promised, but thanks to a strongly hilarious first act it’s along the lines of improvement over the last Pirate adventure. This is not the worst film this far into the series, but it’s certainly far from the best.

VERDICT: A dull pirate venture for Jack and crew that promises a return to form, but after piles of bad ideas and flimsy CG this is one ship that Depp’s promising performance can’t save.   

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