Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

2017-05-26 13:27
 

What it's about:

Down-on-his-luck Captain Jack is feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way, when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle—and they’re bent on killing every pirate at sea, most notably Jack. Jack's only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but, to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth, a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry, a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

What we thought:

Another franchise that has burnt out its charm, Pirates of the Caribbean almost feels like a curse we inflicted on ourselves. There’s only so much Jack Sparrow/Johnny Depp one can take, yet Disney keeps making money as we think this one will be as good as the last. For me, I loved the trilogy with Swan and Turner fighting for the love in a troubled sea, and Sparrow was a happy fool tagging along. Then Stranger Tides happened, and my interest in the series plummeted. I had no high expectations for Salazar’s Revenge, although the tease that Swan and Turner will return in some small capacity gave me a sliver of hope. In the end, we got a story that’s still as silly and illogical, but a few hundred cutlasses better than the previous disaster.

Jack Sparrow, I mean Captain Jack Sparrow, is down in the dumps when he is approached by the son of an old friend (Brenton Thwaites) to search for the powerful Trident of Poseidon. Guided by a woman of science (Kaya Scodelario) and accompanied by the conniving Barbarossa (Geoffrey Rush), the crew sets off for the stars while being hunted by a long-dead foe (Javier Bardem) intent on wreaking revenge on Sparrow.

Though Depp is the character keeping the franchise afloat in the sea of box office glory, he’s step backs a bit more as the main protagonist and returns to his role as the party-crasher that helps the lead with their quest. Though Thwaites and Scodelario didn’t have the same chemistry and magnetism as Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, they had a small bit of charm that could be developed into something more impactful on the film if they do get another installment (god forbid). Stranger Tides’ problem was that it felt so removed from the trilogy and Disney wrongly assumed it was only Sparrow that made the franchise a success in the first three. In Salazar’s Revenge they at least try and make up for that, and as an audience member it made the film more enjoyable.

The film also gives us a backstory to Sparrow, and though the CGI de-aged Sparrow hits the Uncanny Valley and your nightmares at running speed, it’s a welcome addition to the plot. The story plays out surprisingly logical except for a few big nonsense points that could have easily been fixed by a little rewriting, but seeing as this film was greenlighted to come out in 2013, and got delayed by script problems and reshoots, we should be happy with what we ended up with.

In terms of the new characters/actors, Bardiem as Salazar was quite menacing, though he had a lot of help from the insane monster boat of his, scarier than all the previous villain boats. Thwaites seemed a bit like pretty boy fodder, though he at least had a loveable quality that fitted with the Pirates style. Scodelario’s character, Carina, is of course the only woman that speaks for more than a few lines, and though they tried to make her different to the swashbuckling Swan by making her academic smart, she wasn’t the most interesting. They tried for a nuanced character, but instead you get a woman written by men who think they know how write a woman.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

But can we just acknowledge the fact that Barbarossa is the best pirate, and Sparrow would be nowhere without him? Barbarossa was a badass ghost pirate, broke the curse, came back from the dead, has taken the Black Pearl countless times from Jack, served in the King’s navy just so he can get revenge, killed Blackbeard and took his ship, and at the start of this movie is drowning in treasure and commands dozens of ships. How do we find Jack at the beginning? On a stranded ship without a crew and blaming everyone for his misfortunes and just stumbles his way through problems with insane luck. Barbarossa doesn’t need luck, he just gets his act together and gets things done. More like Jack Wallow. 

Salazar’s Revenge is just fun and silly and a good date night movie, though if you loved the original trilogy you might just tear up a little bit. Though I enjoyed the film, I really do hope this is the last one and the Pirates franchise can finally go down to Davy Jones’ locker. The ending is a classic ‘let’s wait to see the box office numbers before we greenlight another one’ move, including the post-credit scene that doesn’t really tell you much. Depp is also inching closer to sixty, and no amount of eyeliner is going to be able to hide his worn-out shtick. 

Special mention: Paul McCartney’s cameo is just a treasure.




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