Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (2017) Review

As a huge fan of the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, I was really looking forward to this. A chance to swim in nostalgic waters and to kick back and relax with Captain Jack Sparrow. Unfortunately, it ended up being one of the worst cinema experiences I've ever had...

Eager to save his father from the Davy Jones curse, Henry Turner enlists Captain Jack Sparrow to recover the Trident of Poseidon, which can put an end to any curse. Sparrow needs the Trident for his own purposes, as he's being hunted by the vengeful ghost of pirate slayer Captain Salazar.

After entertaining us all with mercurial performances for four movies, it's sad to see Johnny Depp reduced to drunken buffoonery here. It's probably partially the horrid script's fault, but Depp makes no effort to connect to the film's events emotionally and the intelligence of the character is completely lost. It's like if Homer Simpson was the lead in a PG-13 blockbuster.

Brendon Thwaites is serviceable as Henry Turner, though the script gives him very few chances to endear himself to the audiences. The only point he really has as a character is to be part of a token romance and provide awkward cameos for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.

Kaya Scodelario is one of the few people in this film who shows any effort, and thus Carina Smyth is easily the most charismatic character. She manages to be memorable in spite of the lackadaisical story, having an amusing rivalry with Thwaites' Henry and an undercooked emotional connection to one of the recurring characters.

Javier Bardem is rather amusing as the lead villain Captain Salazar. His eccentric performance provides a few chuckles(though it clashes with his backstory), however it's painfully obvious that he's simply a less interesting retread of Bill Nighy's famous Davy Jones from Pirates 2 and 3.

And finally, there's the stalwart Geoffrey Rush as the rascally Captain Hector Barbossa, left flopping like a dying fish without any good lines to chew on. He's basically in the film only because he was in every other film(actually, that can be said about pretty much all of the returning actors except Depp).

The cinematography tries to impress on a few occasions, but falls flat when it's most needed. Action scenes are often unfocused and confusing. However, there are many creative practical and digital effects. Highlights include a hilarious bank robbery early on and a Moses-esque parting of the sea.

But the film cannot escape its script. It's simply a poor story, almost resembling fanfiction. Basically, all that happens is "lots of people are after Jack Sparrow and the Trident of Poseidon until the main villain anticlimactically gets tossed off an anchor". There is no build-up to an epic showdown, no character arcs(with the exception of Carina, but that's only in two scenes), no wit. Even the continuity is skewered at times, with a few retcons and characters popping up where they have no place to be. I don't feel like anything was accomplished by the end of this movie. It's a tacked-on, Looney Tunes-style epilogue to the first four films instead of an adventure in its own right.

And the worst part is that thanks to the Marvel-esque post-credits scene, and the fact that the main trio(Jack, Will and Elizabeth) never say a line to each other on-screen, it feels like the entire movie just exists as a prelude to the "REAL classic Pirates Of The Caribbean adventure", coming a few years down the line.

An incompetent, dull as dishwater outing for a thus far solid franchise. Tsk tsk tsk.

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