Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

Year: 2017
Directors: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario
Written by Tom Sheffield

In 1967 a ride opened at Disneyland, California by the name of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, which was based around legendary pirates and pirate folklore. Fast forward 36 years and Walt Disney Pictures released the film ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’, which would kick-start the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise as we know it today. ‘Salazar’s Revenge’, also known as ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ in some parts of the world, is the fifth film in the franchise that follows the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) has vowed to find a way to remove the curse enslaving his father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), to the ‘Flying Dutchman’, which was once captained by the ruthless Davy Jones. He believes Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is the only man able to help him retrieve Poseidon’s trident, which, if the legend is correct,  will set his father free. Also on the hunt for Jack Sparrow is Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his Spanish Navy ghost crew, who, following a run in with a baby-faced Jack at the very start of his pirating days, have been cursed to roam their destroyed vessel as ghosts.

Both Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario are fantastic new additions to the franchise. Their characters never feel overshadowed by the presence of the familiar faces of the franchise and they stand out in their own right. Their presence in this film feels somewhat similar to that of of Will and Elizabeth Turner when we first met them in the original, but with a few subtle differences that keep it fresh. Javier Bardem makes a mighty fine villain as Salazar and he’s a brilliant addition to the cast.  We know Jack has more enemies than he does friends, and we’ve often heard how much people hate him, but Bardem completely sold me with his performance on just how much hate Salazar was harbouring for Jack. Geoffrey Rush returns as Captain Barbosa, who I think people are going to love even more in this film for reasons I can’t comment on without spoiling, so I won’t. But trust me, if you’re a Barbosa fan you’re in for a treat. Johnny Depp’s performance once again is utterly superb and true to character. We see an unfamiliar side to Jack Sparrow in a some scenes, something a little un-pirate like and how Depp performed these scenes was truly brilliant.

Visually the film has definitely upped it’s game from it’s predecessors. Whilst the others have never shied away from doing something new and different, for example the skeleton pirates walking on the sea bed in the first, and Davy Jones’ spectacular ship in the second, you can really tell they put a lot of thought and effort into what went into this film. Disney worked along with IMAX for this film to deliver some truly spectacular looking scenes. Depp’s first scene is utterly brilliant and it may even get some cogs turning in Vin Diesel’s brain for the next entry in the Fast and Furious franchise!

As ever, the score was utterly superb, despite this being the first entry of the franchise to not be composed by Hans Zimmer. Geoff Zanelli, who worked alongside Zimmer on the previous films, takes the musical helm for this latest outing and he did an outstanding job. For the most part, it sounds like the score we’ve come to know and love, but it’s obvious that Zanelli has added his own touch to it, and he’s done a fantastic job. Another winner in my books!

Despite my initial reservations about this film, which were mostly based on the poor quality the films that followed ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s got a strong, similar feel to the original film, which still remains my favourite, followed very very closely by this latest entry. It’s bigger, visually spectacular in places, and feels pleasantly reminiscent of the original without feeling like a copy and paste job. I would definitely recommend a viewing in IMAX if it’s an option, the score and the action sequences are well worth the ticket price.

Tom’s rating: 7.0 out of 10

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