By Ryan Keating-Lambert
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge is a disappointing entry in the lucrative franchise, hindered by unnecessary cheese and a ridiculous narrative.
Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his crew of misfits are back and embark on a quest to find Poseidon’s trident, and this time they’re joined by young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) from the original trilogy, and astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). Unfortunately, the cursed Spanish Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) is out for revenge against Sparrow.
This one starts off with the kind of exciting and adventurous kick that most of the Pirates movies begin with. The problem here is that majority of the narrative is drawn out to an almost unbearable pace. What ever happened to the solid 90-minute action film? Like majority of franchise films in the past few years, Salazar’s Revenge is over two hours in length and takes its time setting up the ridiculous new elements of the franchise’s ‘universe’.
We learn all sorts of things about new, and existing characters, that lead back to past films, as well as possible roads for future films, and it’s exhausting, and wholly unconvincing, as are some of the performances.
Australian Brenton Thwaites has made an impact in Hollywood in some smaller films, but will really be on the map after this one. Henry Turner is more or less an exact copy of his father Will, as is Carina of Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) – both performances a little contrived but otherwise fine. There is an overabundance of cheese and sentimentality across the board here though, as if the film has been catered toward a family audience much more than its predecessors. Even the notoriously malevolent, and funny, Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) is nothing but a big old softy here.
Depp’s Sparrow does, of course, bring in some well needed humour and wit. It’s certainly one of the actor’s best characters, and now with his recent media controversy and string of box office flops, he should probably stick to it. Time is taken to flesh out a bit more history of Sparrow in this film, so those who see it just for him, will not be disappointed.
Javier Bardem’s Salazar and his cursed armada are reasonably creepy at times, but nothing compared to Davy Jones, whom I still think was one of the best villains in this universe.
Final verdict: it’s too long. It’s too ridiculous. It’s a CGI sh-tstorm, and it’s somewhat desperate… but Sparrow is a good laugh and there IS a pretty cool shark scene.