Review: Pirates Of The Caribbean Salazar’s Revenge, the curse of a neverending franchise

Johnny Depp back as Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean Salazar’s Revenge. Picture: Disney

Johnny Depp back as Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean Salazars Revenge. Picture: Disney - Credit: Disney

Johnny Depp is stuck recycling one of his worst performances alongside Javier Bardem's new villain in the latest in the franchise trying to right thibngs after the third and fourth voyages sprung leaks in their ramshackle screenplays and capsized.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (12A)

***

I was recently embarrassed at a pub quiz when I couldn't recall that the first Pirates of The Caribbean film was called The Curse of The Black Pearl.

How could I? Curses are an essential part of Pirate movies – there's always someone doomed to an afterlife of eternal misery on a ghost ship.


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After a six-year hiatus for long overdue repairs, the blockbusting series sets sail with two new directors at the helm - Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg - and Johnny Depp swabbing the decks in his familiar guise as salty seadog Jack Sparrow.

This time it is Javier Bardem in cracked white face make up that makes him look like a cross between Edward Scissorhands and the lead singer in a Cure tribute band.

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But the Pirates' curse is much larger, much more all encompassing than that. It is Depp stuck recycling one of his worst performances, audiences doomed to come out of the cinema saying it wasn't as good as the first one. Nobody escapes the curse – even Orlando Bloom returns briefly for the opening scene.

The rock star cameo in this one is an almost unrecognizable Paul McCartney: we would be better served by having Townsend and Daltry drop in to give us a burst of Won't Get Fooled Again. Seriously, what is it that you all see in these films?

There are a few good lines, a potentially great bit of slapstick with a revolving guillotine, some fun supporting characters and imaginative visual designs, all of it tossed away.

But the producers don't really know what makes these films tick, and because they don't know quite why audiences keep throwing money at them, they try to play it safe by throwing back at them everything that was in the previous films, with little or no regard for how this could be put together. This is what you like, have more of it.

Yet again Depp is the life and wallflower of the party; he's at the centre of all it, yet superfluous. The only merit to the film is the new blood.

Brenton Thwaites is an agreeable substitute for Bloom, but Kaya Scodelario is easily the best thing here. She is like the one bright child in a class, who refuses to be distracted from getting top grades by all the silly, lazy boys who just want to mess around and not make an effort.

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