Review: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: SALAZAR'S REVENGE (2017) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 22 May 2017


Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: SALAZAR'S REVENGE (2017)

In this fifth instalment of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) finds himself as the main target of Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), a cursed pirate hunter who is hellbent on revenge against him. In order to get rid of his enemy, Jack's only hope of survival is to obtain the Trident of Poseidon. Soon, he crosses paths with beautiful astronomer Carina Smith (Kaya Scodelario) and young sailor Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), who happens to be the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), as all of them are seeking the same legendary trident.

REVIEW: Six years after sinking to an all-time low in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGERS TIDE (2011), the franchise is back for another big-budget swashbuckling adventure. Subtitled SALAZAR'S REVENGE (or DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES in the stateside), the fifth entry is a decent return to form that sees Norwegian duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (2012's KON-TIKI), manage to recapture some of the old magic from the earlier instalments.

This is especially evident during an early scene where Sparrow and his crew literally pulling off a bank heist, complete with an elaborate chase set-piece that reminds me of the safe-driving scene in FAST & FURIOUS 5: RIO HEIST (a.k.a. FAST FIVE). The scene alone certainly ranks as one of the best action set-pieces ever staged in the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise. Another scene involving Sparrow's public execution is worth mentioning as well, as the Norwegian duo alongside cinematographer Paul Cameron creatively staged a spinning camera angle from the guillotine's point-of-view. The special effects, particularly the sight of Salazar and his crew's undead appearances as well as the brief introduction of zombie sharks, are top-notch.

Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: SALAZAR'S REVENGE (2017)

As for the cast, Johnny Depp displays his usual trademark charm as Captain Jack Sparrow, albeit not as effective as he used to portray the first few times around. Despite the inspired casting of Javier Bardem as the vengeful Captain Salazar, his antagonist role is disappointingly average. Geoffrey Rush, reprising his role as Captain Barbossa, pulls off an adequate performance here. Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario are both appealing, but their love story is pale in comparison with Orlando Bloom's Will Turner and Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann in the first three movies. Even viewing them as a standalone, Thwaites and Scodelario ignite little sparks to their chemistry.

Jeff Nathanson, who received a sole screenwriting credit, is basically playing safe with the formula. In fact, SALAZAR'S REVENGE is almost like a carbon copy of THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL. This includes familiar themes of revenge, chance encounters, redemption, ghost pirates and yes... the curse as well. Likewise, the fifth instalment continues to suffer the same old bloated running time, even with a reasonable two-hour length.

Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smith and Henry Turner in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: SALAZAR'S REVENGE (2017)

Although SALAZAR'S REVENGE is initially pitched as "the final adventure", the franchise doesn't seem to call it a quit. Besides, after witnessing the post-credits scene, it's obvious that Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg left the fifth instalment wide open with a potential sequel.

The fifth instalment of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise is a fairly enjoyable blockbuster, albeit some of the lacklustre characters and same old storytelling beats.

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