Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge, with Johnny Depp, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Javier Bardem and Geoffrey Rush. Directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg.
THE latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has all the swashbuckling action and eye-popping effects that we have come to expect, but something is missing.
It’s not Johnny Depp – he’s there as usual, the centrepiece of the movie in all his campiness as Jack Sparrow. Also making a welcome return is Sparrow’s nemesis Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his pet monkey.
And of course there has to be a new protagonist to motivate Depp from drunken reluctance to a brand new adventure, with all the danger that accompanies it.
A young Henry Turner sets out to find his father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), one of the heroes of the first trilogy of Pirates movies. The elder Turner is now a member of the crew of cursed Flying Dutchman, and warns his son not to attempt to find him again. Young Henry swears he will find a way to free his father.
Fast forward nine years and Henry (Brenton Thwaites) is a crew member on a British Royal Navy ship, steeped in the knowledge of maritime legends and curses.
He tries to warn his captain against pursuing an enemy ship into the Devil’s Triangle and gets himself thrown in the brig for his trouble. The navy ship enters a dark passage and is attacked and overwhelmed by undead sailors.
The only survivor, Henry comes face to face with their ghoulish foe, Salazar (Javier Bardem), captain of a Spanish vessel also lost to a curse many years ago.
He leaves Henry alive to take a message to Sparrow – that death is coming for him.
Meanwhile a young woman Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), has been sentenced to death for witchcraft because of her knowledge of astronomy and horology. She runs into Sparrow after a bank robbery by his misfit crew ends up in destructive mayhem with nothing to show for it.
Carina seeks out Henry, who is charged with treachery after being the suspicious sole survivor of his ship. She tells him she knows how to find the fabled Trident of Poseidon, which has the power to break all curses at sea. As Henry escapes, Carina is caught, and then Sparrow is also nabbed, requiring a daring double rescue in true swashbuckling tradition.
Then the mixed band of heroes set forth on their adventure, with Barbossa as spoiler and the vengeful Salazar a seemingly unstoppable force.
One of the endearing things about the earlier Pirates movies was how they tickled your funny bone. The latest one – not so funny.
Much of the humour in the movie seems forced and tired, even the one-liners delivered by Depp. But the scene with the spinning guillotine was one of the more amusing parts.