Saturday, 27 May 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (2017)

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge
Yo Ho Hum, I need a bottle of rum after this.

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, David Wenham

14 years and billions of dollars later, it remains unbelievable that such a high profile franchise was originally based on the Disney ride. Even more odd is how, considering the past three films each made over a billion dollars each, we've had to wait this long for a follow-up to 2011's dismal Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Although, on the basis of the final product, going 6 years without a sequel is quite the blessing.

Five years since the Black Pearl was left trapped in a bottle, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is far from the legend he once was. Upon the release of an old nemesis, an undead Captain named Salazar (Javier Bardem), his only hope is the Trident of Poseidon, an artefact which allows the wielder to control the seas. Helping him along the way are Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), a son who wishes the break the curse holding his father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), an astronomer who's been researching a map, which can lead them to the Trident.

Along with the previous entry into this franchise, 2011 saw the release of Fast Five, which showed how to reinvigorate a franchise, even with an entry as late as the fifth one. The most memorable moment was an unbelievable showcase, where the characters use their race cars to drag a safe down the streets of Rio. Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg have clearly taken inspiration from this, by having an early showcase where numerous horses attempt to drag a safe down the streets, only to pull the entire bank building along with it. This is where the similarities end, as the only thing this fifth entry reinvigorates is the notion this franchise has long run its course, and would best be ended.

Image result for pirates of the caribbean dead men tell no tales youtube
"Do I have something in my teeth?"
Instead, the directors choose to retread over largely familiar ground, with no inventiveness or ingenuity within the proceedings. The first instalment has been cited as an inspiration for this film, which is evident, when the antagonists are a poor retread of the cursed Captain Barbossa, and his undead crew. Much like The Royal Navy, led by Jack Davenport's Commodore Norrington, The British Empire acts as a third party to the story, led by David Wenham's forgettable character, but fail to make any impact upon the overall plot. British forces haven't looked so inept since London Has Fallen.

It's been 6 years since we saw Captain Jack Sparrow, the writers have had quite a bit of time to think of gags for the character. So why is it we get a bird pooing on his shoulder, him not wearing pants, and him falling asleep? One isn't asking for completely new and ingenious methods of comedy, but something with more effort than these would've been preferable. As for his performance? It remains a tired imitation of what he's already delivered to this franchise, as his shtick readies itself to try ones patience.

Brenton Thwaites gives a convincing portrayal as Henry, son of Orlando Bloom's Will Turner. Although, this is due to a blank and unconvincing performance. There is a sense of effort coming from Kaya Scodelario's performance, convincingly portraying the woman of science who's met with resistance wherever she turns. But there's one distinct area where her performance falters, and that's whenever she's forced to enact the forced romance with Thwaites' character, as the two fail to hold any chemistry.

As the antagonistic Captain Salazar, Javier Bardem gleefully chews the scenery, while sounding like an inflatable bed that somebody's punctured. But there's nothing which makes his character stand out and be memorable, other than the illogical plot contrivances which are included for his character. Jack's compass, which points to wherever ones heart desires, also protects the wielder against their greatest fear, so long as they hold onto it. If the compass holds no protection for Jack, against Salazar, when he doesn't have it, then why didn't this clause kick in during the past two films? There were considerable amounts of time when Jack was without said compass, so this newly included ruling fails to hold up.

Special mention is deserved to one notable moment, when the film grinds to a halt, just so Paul McCartney can deliver a lacklustre cameo appearance. Yet another musician appearing as a member of Jack's family, it's a scene that has no reason to exist. Between this, and David Beckham popping up in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, it's already not a good year for cameo appearances.

With the evident joyless nature, lack of innovation and dull proceedings, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge is a strong argument for bringing this franchise to an end. If there's anything worth commending here, it's Johnny Depp's performance. A perfect imitation of the film, as they're both tired retreads of what came beforehand. One will never root for a guillotine so much.

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