Off The Deep End
♦Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS sharpened his cutlass and grabbed his parrot and reviews the latest Pirates of The Caribbean film, Salazar’s Revenge, or Dead Men Tell No Tales in the US, out from Thursday 25 May. Warning: there be spoilers ahead. Aargh…
Pirates of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge
Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Stars: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which came out back in 2011, was a horrible mess. Pirates Of The Caribbean is a film franchise which has pissed away its audience goodwill at a surprisingly fast rate. The first film was a surprise hit and so Disney did what every film company has done since the drawn of time. They made sequels. The first followup Dead Men’s Chest wasn’t bad but it wasn’t quite as entertaining as its progenitor. At World’s End, ten years old this year, did even more damage to the reputation of the series with an incoherent plot and a pretty awful script. The fourth film, On Stranger Tides, wasn’t radically better. Depp’s Keith Richard pirate schtick was getting very old. So we fast-forward to 2017 and a fifth Pirates of The Caribbean film, called Salazar’s Revenge in the UK and Dead Men Tell No Tales in the US. The name change doesn’t make much sense but presumably Disney have a reason.
The Salazar of the UK title is undead captain played by Jarvier Bardem who is bent on destroying Jack Sparrow. When he was alive, it was his mission to wipe pirates off the face of the seven seas and it is an obsession that has continued with him past the grave. The only thing that can save Jack Sparrow is the fabled Trident of Poseidon. The film opens with the British trying to execute Sparrow but he escapes his fate and falls in with Will Turner’s son, Henry, played by Aussie Brenton Thwaites and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), who was about to be hanged as a witch and who escapes to join up with Sparrow and crew.
Henry, the son of Orlando Bloom’s character Will, and Carina are so obviously replacements for Bloom and Knightley’s characters that this feels rather clumsy.
People don’t come to see Pirates of The Caribbean films for their plots but what begins as a reasonably intriguing tale of a zombie pirate hunter out for revenge descends into a morass of Depp poncing around in front of the camera, a pointless cameo from Paul McCartney and a series of increasingly muddled set pieces featuring Depp and Bardem. Rush is back but he feels very much like a sideshow here, which is a shame as he has always been one of the more interesting creations in the Pirates movies. New additions Thwaites and Scodelario aren’t bad but they give fairly wooden performances.
The film ends with the salvation of Will Turner thanks to his son Henry and the return of Elizabeth Swann (Knightley). There is also the obligatory post-credits sequence alluding to the return of one of the villains from one the earlier Pirates films.
Pirates of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge or Dead Men Tell No Tales isn’t an awful film and in a spring that has seen the truly wretched King Arthur released, it isn’t without its charms. But it does sometimes feel like something Depp needed to make to pay for his latest divorce, as the conclusion is all over the place. If you are a hardcore fan of these films, you will find something to entertain you. But there really is nothing we haven’t seen before.
Pirates of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge is out in the UK from this Thursday 25 May 2017 and Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is released into US cinemas on Friday 26 May 2017.