Film Review | Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge
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With Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge, the fifth in the series, the Disney franchise continues to pivot around rum-drunk Captain Jack Sparrow but introduces new characters and various sub-plots in an attempt to distract from franchise fatigue.
With director-duo Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning at the helm, the movie is a series of action set pieces. Some are clearly designed as theme park rides, with an especially funny one involving a swinging guillotine with Sparrow attached to it. The plot, however, is threadbare, and yet it’s an improvement on its predecessor On Stranger Tides (2011).
Javier Bardem plays the ghostly Salazar, the captain of a crew of menacing undead. He’s seeking vengeance and enlists the help of Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, at his hammy best) in tracing Captain Sparrow, thanks to whom he’s doomed to this cursed life. Eventually all the characters are keen on breaking curses and restoring their lost glory so they may continue to plunder and drink, as pirates do.
In an effort to appeal to the millennial, two young actors and a simmering romance are introduced. Brenton Thwaites plays Henry, son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) teams up with Carina Smith who is played by Kaya Scodelario. She has a set of clues left by an unknown father that will guide them to the mythical Trident of Poseidon, which can break all curses.
Golshifteh Farahani shows up in two scenes as a bald and heavily adorned witch and Bloom and Knightley have cameos reprising their roles. Depp is clearly all out of tricks as the drunk and dastardly Sparrow. The slick visual effects and make up, especially the ghastliness of Captain Salazar and his crew, are impressive, as is Bardem as the vengeful man. This part is strictly for those invested in the franchise, though even the fans might agree that it’s time to dock the ship.