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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge


Stars: Johnny Depp, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Orlando Bloom, Kevin R McNally, David Wenham

Director: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg

Yet another outing for the tired old fantasy franchise on the Seven Seas. The McGuffin this time is Poseidon's Trident, which can lift the curses that have rained down on so many seafarers in the course of this seemingly never-ending series.

One such has afflicted Will Turner (Bloom), now a living corpse in Davy Jones' Locker aboard the sunken Flying Dutchman. His son Henry (Thwaites) vows to find the trident and lift his father's curse. Also after the trident are the obligatory heroine (Scodelario, who's as good as the script will allow), matt-bearded pirate skipper Barbossa (Rush), who seems to have recovered from his own curse, and Spanish captain Salazar (a charnel-faced, menacing Bardem), who sails the Caribbean with a ghostly crew that brings new meaning to bit parts.

The key to it all naturally is charcoal-eyed Jack Sparrow (Depp), who magically refloats the Black Pearl and joins the hunt.

Overblown, messy and heavily edited, the film is little more than a jumble of sound and fury. Still, the familiar music does its best to charge the plot, such as it is, along, and things do kind of get moving half-way through, even if the action remains an aimless confusion of ships and special effects.

Depp's slurred-speech buccaneer has gone beyond parody into tedium, though he is rather good as his younger self. Keira Knightley (from the original film) appears briefly at the end, and there's a passable cameo from Paul McCartney, under even more hair and whiskers than the rest of the cast, as Depp's scoundrelly Uncle Jack.

No gold this time though for this over-familiar voyage into clich├ęd chaos. Heard of the directors? No, and neither had I. Turns out they're Norwegians in their forties. The bad news is they're in charge of the next episode as well.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Disney. Technicolor.
127 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 22 May 2017