Pirates of the Caribbean: saLazar’s revenge
Yo hokum and a bottle of rum
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”.