Pi­rates of the Caribbean: saLazar’s re­venge

Yo hokum and a bot­tle of rum

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 2 OC­TO­Ber (out 19 septem­ber on down­load) 2017 | 12 | Blu-ray/dVd/ VOd/down­load

Di­rec­tors Joachim røn­ning, es­pen sandberg

Cast Johnny depp, Javier Bar­dem, Bren­ton Th­waites, Kaya scode­lario

We’re now five films into a se­ries that started well, got a lit­tle swamped in the mid­dle, and then fal­tered badly last time. It’s quite the achieve­ment for a fran­chise based on a theme park ride. So does Salazar’s Re­venge match the high wa­ter­marks of the Pi­rates saga? Only oc­ca­sion­ally.

At this point, you know what to ex­pect. Johnny Depp will dig out his drunk schtick as Jack Spar­row. He’ll be aided by a cou­ple of cam­era-ready youth­ful types (here, Bren­ton Th­waites’s driven Henry Turner and Kaya Scode­lario’s smart, re­source­ful Ca­rina Smyth). He’ll face a se­ri­ous su­per­nat­u­ral threat, need­ing to sail off on a mis­sion to re­trieve some mys­ti­cal ob­ject that can help solve the prob­lem.

The vil­lain this time is at least en­ter­tain­ing, with Javier Bar­dem throw­ing him­self into the role of Salazar, a ghostly cap­tain with a grudge against Spar­row. He’s clearly hav­ing a blast play­ing a char­ac­ter who is only partly there, rot­ting and swirling as though lashed by some in­vis­i­ble tide. But even he can only do so much with some­one who doesn’t seem to have been there at the script stage ei­ther. Sure, he’s out for re­venge, but who doesn’t have a bone to pick with Spar­row?

An­other is­sue is the con­stant need to outdo pre­vi­ous movies. So the spec­ta­cle is once more height­ened, with gi­ant chasms of wa­ter and hordes of skele­tal sailors run­ning across the waves, while the nar­ra­tive ap­proach is to throw in ev­ery­one who’s ever popped up be­fore. To their credit, co-di­rec­tors Joachim Røn­ning and Es­pen Sandberg main­tain a light touch, squeez­ing some fun out of Spar­row’s an­tics – es­pe­cially a Buster Keaton-es­que stunt fea­tur­ing an un­usual method of ex­e­cu­tion.

Salazar’s Re­venge finds its sea legs oc­ca­sion­ally, but is a lit­tle too crammed, and more than once the weight of déjà vu threat­ens to sink it. Yet it’s cer­tainly less of a slog than last time.

Ex­tras A de­cent haul, in­clud­ing a seven-part Mak­ing Of, which cov­ers top­ics such as de­sign­ing the ghost sharks and Sir Paul McCart­ney’s role. Plus bloop­ers and a photo diary from pro­ducer Jerry Bruck­heimer. Buy the DVD and you just get one of the Mak­ing Of seg­ments. James White

Paul McCart­ney be­came the lat­est mu­sic le­gend to join Spar­row’s fam­ily. He has one scene as the im­pris­oned Un­cle Jack.

There’s a need to outdo the pre­vi­ous movies

No one knew what to make of Bar­bossa’s at­tempt to do “the worm”.

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