By Phillip Guy Ellis (Northampton, England)


Star – Johnny Depp
Genre – Action > Family > Fantasy
Run Time – 2 hrs 9 minutes
Certificate – P13
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 6 Nominations
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I think most of you would agree that nobody expected a non-animation pirate film to be the 3rd biggest selling movie of 2003 and Johnny Depp, of all people, would be the pirate. It was certainly one of those films that was an unexpected treat. How can a pirate film with Hollywood’s coolest indie actor be funny in 2003? I went into determined to hate it but I thought it was great fun. Its sequel would be the highest grossing for ANY Hollywood sequel at just under $1.1 billion dollars and Disney’s biggest ever franchise, until Star Wars. The third film didn’t quite make the billion but the fourth did and so Disney committed to two more films off the back of that success and will squeeze the life out of it thereafter, grossing $4.5 billion to date, all this from a movie franchise based on a fairground ride. It’s certainly a treasure chest for Hollywood.

===The Take===

POTC: The Curse of the Black Pearl – Budget $414m – $654 million gross
POTC: Dead Man’s Chest – Budget $225m – $1.05 billion gross
POTC: At Worlds End – $300m budget – $963 million gross
POTC: On Stranger Tides – $400m budget – $1.01 billion gross
POTC: Salazar’s revenge – $230m budget – $794million gross

Salazar’s Revenge would see the biggest gap between the five films so far with six years between the last film, POTC: On Stranger Tides. Depp, of course, makes the movies work with his Keith Richards inspired drunken pirate and a surprisingly charming and roguish funny character for such a serious actor. While film five was being produced, Johnny was going through a bitter divorce and he was late to the set every other day in Australia where the set came to a halt for hours at a time. It got to the point where a production assistant was hired just to wait outside Depp’s rented mansion to walkie-talkie in that Depp was awake because they saw the lights inside come on. During filming that same house would become famous from above, Depp and his then wife Amber Heard breaching Australia’s strict eco laws when they failed to declare their two dogs to the Australian Customs Service when they flew by private jet into Queensland. Heard was charged with two counts of illegally importing the dogs into the country and one count of producing a false document as news choppers buzzed the house.


Johnny Depp … Captain Jack Sparrow
Javier Bardem … Captain Salazar
Geoffrey Rush … Captain Hector Barbossa
Brenton Thwaites … Henry Turner
Kaya Scodelario … Carina Smyth
Kevin McNally … Gibbs
Golshifteh Farahani … Shansa
David Wenham … Scarfield
Stephen Graham … Scrum
Angus Barnett … Mullroy
Martin Klebba … Marty
Adam Brown … Cremble
Giles New … Murtogg
Orlando Bloom … Will Turner
Keira Knightley … Elizabeth Swann


Young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the brave twelve-year-old son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), boards his cursed father’s ship at the bottom of the ocean where Will lays imprisoned in the Flying Dutchman, telling dad Turner senior that he intends to free him from the curse through the mythical Trident of Poseidon, and of his intent to recruit Captain Jack Sparrow to achieve that. Will does not believe the trident can be found and orders Henry to leave as the Dutchman returns to its watery grave.

Nine years later and handsome young Henry is a sailor in the British Royal Navy, but quickly locked up for attempting mutiny when his ship sails for the supernatural Devil’s Triangle. There the Navy ship comes across a shipwreck, the Silent Mary, and are attacked by its ghostly crew led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem). Salazar orders everyone to be cut down aboard except young Henry. The evil Salazar, seeing a wanted poster of Sparrow, allows Henry to live so he can deliver a message to Jack that he is coming for him. Apparently he wronged Salazar big time back in the day.

In Saint Martin, a young pretty astronomer named Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) is sentenced to death for alleged witchcraft but escapes custody. Jack is also in town with his crew robbing banks but they end up abandoning him after he bungles the bounty. Even Gibbs (Kevin McNally) has lost faith in Jack after years of Sparrow and his crew experiencing nothing but bad luck. Drunk, down and penniless, Jack trades his magical compass for whisky. However, this betrayal of the compass liberates Salazar and his crew from the Devil’s Triangle. Whoops!

Carina discovers Henry is looking for the Trident’s location and offers to help him using a diary left by her unknown father. But Carina and Jack are both captured and face execution, but are saved by Henry and Jack’s crew, setting sail on the Dying Gull. Carina deciphers that the stars will lead to an island where the Trident is hidden.

On that sea and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), now free of his curse, hears from his crew that Salazar is killing all the pirate competition at sea, and learns from a sea witch, Shansa (Golshifteh Farahani), of the Trident location, which could possibly lead him to a new “treasure”. First one to the trident wins!


Sometimes movie critics forget that a film can be entertaining without having to be judged good and can simply be throw away popcorn stuff for all the family to enjoy. Like or not critics but the everyday Joe loves the Pirate of the Caribbean franchise and your ratings are unfair. Watching these movies really is like taking that ride at the theme park. It’s comfortable for all as you know what you are going to get, a lot like the Bond movies, and although the little kids will be a bit scared now and again at home watching this you know it’s not going to be offensive or obnoxious. Depp is just an iconic movie character and these films will just keep coming if the prolific demand remains.

Javier Bardem makes a fun villain with his slow motion hair although the suggestion Salazar was gay saw the studio get nervous, and after the conservative outcry against the inclusion of a gay character in the live action Beauty and the Beast (2017), several scenes were edited or deleted from this one to make Salazar more sexually ambiguous. That’s pretty ridiculous but studio director Joachim Ronning had no choice after it was screen tested and so Salazar stopped looking at young cabin boys.

It’s obviously not as fresh and original as film one and just bit parts for the original characters like Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom although that didn’t take a lot away from it to be honest and I enjoyed it. The six year gap helped to make it more fun and the special effects top notch, the main reason why Disney went back to pirate ships, I guess. The plotline is perfunctory pirate and some of the scenes original in their own way. It’s just good fun and although it is a shameless sequel for hard cash I doubt the studio had any choice but to keep making these movies as they are so profitable, and the fact they are still making an effort is sweet, unlike the dreadful Transformer sequels. I guarantee you will enjoy this if you take it for what it is.

===RATINGS=== – 6.7/10.0 (178,300 votes) – % critic’s approval – 39% critic’s approval


===Special Features===



New York Post –’If being dull, gruesome and obnoxiously loud weren’t enough, Dead Men Tell No Tales makes sure to get in a blast of sexism, too’.

Melbourne Age –’ The setpieces are often funny and the finale visually spectacular, but Depp is hanging on to this series as a source of treasure more than inspiration’
Rolling Stone Magazine –’Is this really only the fifth entry in the Pirates film franchise? It feels like the 50th. Except for Javier Bardem, who brings a dollop of fresh mischief to this paycheck party, Dead Men has all the flavor of rotting leftovers’.

Toronto Sun –’We had zero hope for the fifth chapter in the waterlogged Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. And we were wrong. This thing is terrific’.

The Mail –’It’s the Salazar show, and Javier Bardem does a good job of bringing him to life–even if his appearance seems to be inspired by Alice Cooper or Edward Scissorhands. . . .’

LA Times –’There are no new treasures to be found in this installment, which is dragged down by the anchor of a prescribed franchise blueprint’.

Globe & Mail –’ Now in its fifth outing and trying to press reset after an unnecessary fourth movie, Depp’s campy performance in that role is losing crucial energy and humour’.


Rating: 3/5



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