Reviews: Yo-ho-ho time – Pirates of the Caribbean returns with Salazar’s Revenge
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge,
Directed by Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg,
Starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Orlando Bloom, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario
The fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise reunites old and new cast members as we take to the seas once again. In some part of the world this film is called Dead Men Tell No Tales, but here in Ireland and the UK its titled Salazar’s Revenge. Will Turner’s son is trying to get his Father out from under the curse of The Flying Dutchman, and we meet him as he’s travelling the seas looking for a mystical object that will do so. He’s on a ship heading into the Devils Triangle and meets up with the ghost of Captain Salazar, who wants Jack Sparrow dead, and is left alive to pass on that message to the Pirate. Henry Turner teams up with a Carina Smyth, a scientist and headstrong educated woman – both want to find the object.
I have a love for these films, apart perhaps from the last film On Stranger Tides, which I felt was lazy storytelling. But the first Pirates film is something that I pop on the DVD player from time to time and just relax. Thankfully Salazar’s Revenge brings back the creepy parts of the original film that I love and has more of the flavour of the earlier films.
One of the first scenes of the film, in the Devil’s Triangle, brings that home perfectly with the ghosts storming one of the military ships that Henry Turner is on. The special effects on Javier Bardem and his crew are just amazing, giving that paranormal feel an edge, and feeling more real than you care to admit. This is when we find out that once again Jack Sparrow has angered someone (surprise!) and they want revenge on him. Although it’s getting tiring that Sparrow is the catalyst for the adventures to come, I’m going to give it a pass this time as they are trying to return to the base storytelling of the first film.
Returning to the screen are Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, and Orlando Bloom, all giving their best to the characters which they made famous. Depp can do Sparrow in his sleep at this point, and although he’s fallen far from the promise of his early career, it’s nice to see him back as the Pirate. You can tell that he enjoys playing this character, and when the performers are enjoying themselves its hard not to fall in line and enjoy the film too.
Rush has a bit more depth given to his character this time around and it’s nice to see that he’s not just that selfish Captain. Javier Bardem as Salazar is slightly underused, we could have had a little more No Country for Old Men or James Bond Bardem, but he’s a better villain than Black Beard from On Stranger Tides. Brenton Thwaites plays Will Turner’s Son Henry, have to give credit where it’s due, as he manages to mirror a lot of the character that Orlando created in the first film. Playing Carina Smyth is Kaya Scodelario and I’m thankful that we’re not getting a cardboard cut out of Elizabeth Swann, she gives us a more stubborn and hard boiled heroine that doesn’t allow anyone to walk over her.
There is so much to enjoy in this the fifth Pirates adventure, returning more to the ghostly roots of the first film, and the extraordinary special effects. I jumped in my seat a few times with the sharks scene, but then again, every shark scene scares the sense out of my head. The one problem I had with the film was that the originality was lacking. Turning back may give them a way forward with the franchise but they are going to have to think more about a different story now. Fans of the franchise will find a lot more to enjoy here than found in On Stranger Tides, there are more jokes, more use of the computer technology effects that you need, and development of the characters from the original trilogy. I’d happy pay in to see this in IMAX, where the ship battles are amazing, and if they can come up with something special for the next film, I’d be happier still.