Pirates Of The Caribbean : Salazar’s Revenge – A down-and-out Captain Jack Sparrow has lost his booty, his crew, and his ship. Dejected, and wanting to seek solace in a bottle, he trades in his one true valuable: a compass that points to the greatest desire of the owner. Little does he know that the magic surrounding the compass will retaliate if betrayed and instead unleash the owner’s greatest fear. With an old, cursed enemy hunting him down, a blast from the past bargaining with him to save his family, a headstrong woman seeking answers about her past, and half the fleets in the Caribbean after him, will Sparrow be able to avoid the death that is pursuing him with such revenge soaked fury?

Pirates Of The Caribbean : Salazar’s Revenge (a.k.a. ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’) – Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47535398

Rating: 12A

Running Length: 129 mins

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem

Genre: Fantasy, Action / Adventure

REVIEW – ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN : SALAZAR’S REVENGE’

The fifth instalment of the hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (dubbed ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ in the U.S. and ‘Salazar’s Revenge’ in most other territories) is somewhat of a ‘soft reboot’ in that it follows a very similar plot structure to the original smash movie ‘The Curse Of The Black Pearl‘), revisits earlier characters, completes their plot lines, and lays the ground for possible future instalments. As ‘Salazar’s Revenge’ could, depending on the box office results, actually be the last movie featuring the likes of Johnny Depp’s staggering, permanently drunk anti-hero and his assorted gnarled and salt-sprayed crew, it makes sense to round off proceedings while leaving a sneaky foot in the door for more.

By itself, ‘Salazar’s Revenge’ is somewhat of a mixed bag. There is no doubt that all the elements that make the franchise fun are present and correct. Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) is as charismatic, unlucky, and baffling as ever, lunging from one crises to the next. Geoffrey Rush as the devilish and greedy Barbossa continues to have enormous fun chewing the scenery whilst actually enjoying some character growth for a change. The superstitious sea ghost / monster threats are just as vicious and dark as ever, and there are plenty of high action sea-faring scenes of swashbuckling joy. But it is telling that the ‘good’ parts are tried and tested from other instalments. The actual plot is treading water with nothing new of its own to offer the series.

What defeats ‘Salazar’s Revenge’ is that it lacks any real character relationship to enjoy or get behind. The Henry / Carina dynamic never really lands as much as the original Will / Elizabeth one did (before it got bloated beyond repair in ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ and ‘At World’s End’) and seems just sort of there because it is supposed to be. Carina herself is strong-willed and well-played, but her plot line about her past isn’t given enough weight to really land as matters develop and the revelations come a little to late. And the sparky chemistry between Depp and Rush from previous return to form ‘On Stranger Tides‘ is missing as they never really share any scenes together here. Depp is left to flounder from one character to another and not even Salazar (a genuinely threatening and brutal performance from Bardem) has anything other than ‘stock evil baddy’ about him. Barbossa in the original movie was tortured by the curse brought by his own greed which gave his performance extra pathos. Salazar just wants generic revenge.

Really, if you like Pirates Of The Caribbean movies you will like this one without a doubt. But with even more casual murder than before, a higher level of innuendo jokes and nothing else to really stick in the mind, if you are choosing which of the current 5 movies to watch of an afternoon indoors then ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean : Salazar’s Revenge’ is very unlikely to be your first choice.

CONTENT – ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN : SALAZAR’S REVENGE’

A boy of around 10 is seen taking a rowing boat out to sea. He ties a rope around his ankle and the other end is shown to be a bag full of rocks. He then throws this overboard and jumps, with the rocks weighing him down so that he sinks. As the scene continues he is ok, but we mention this as it is possibly imitable.

Henry Turner is working on a navy boat when he notices that the ship is heading towards a place of superstitious danger. Later, as the ship sails into this area, it is attacked and boarded by ‘dead’ pirates. The pirates are generally shown to be missing large chunks of themselves, with some being merely a hand and a floating hat whereas others are more complete but decrepit. Captain Salazar has very cracked and rotten skin, is missing the back half of his head, and has hair the ‘floats’ around him as if he is underwater. He is a very imposing and scary figure. While the boat is being boarded, all of the crew are slaughtered and whilst no specific injury detail is shown there is lots of slashing, stabbing, cutting and killing whilst the crew cry out in fear. One character is below deck and has blood drip onto his hand from above.

In a town a new bank and vault are presented to the townspeople. Unexpectedly, a man and woman ‘come to’ nearby and it is implied that they have been previously intimate. One man in the crowd shouts at the woman, calling her a ‘trollop’, before it is pointed out to him that she is actually his wife.

One character is describing to another the arsenal of Captain Barbossa. He refers to the amount of cannon balls that Barbossa has and the other character makes a joke about ‘balls’ that we won’t repeat so as not to ruin it, but obviously we mention this as the joke is saying ‘balls’ to mean testicles!

When we are first introduced to Captain Barbossa it is shown that his ship has lots of apparently real human skulls embedded into the walls of the captain’s quarters both on the interior and exterior walls. No character references this and it is just something that is in the background.

When some characters visit a bald witch to ask for advice she is shown next to a large bubbling pot. At one point she throws a live rat inside. She is generally mysterious and scary as well, and most of the other characters are uneasy around her.

One character is captured and is led to be executed by the new invention from the French, the guillotine. Once they are strapped inside a basket is placed before them which already has two severed heads in it. The characters also discuss hanging as a preferable way to die but use such language as ‘eyes bulging’ and ‘tongue swelling’.

A male character catches a falling female character and there follows a few innuendo jokes about the fact that his hand is most likely on her bottom. The first joke is innocent enough but the second makes references to nautical terms for ship sides.

Salazar and his crew board Barbossa’s ship. Salazar says that every time his sword taps the deck of the ship, someone will die. He does this immediately and one his crew stabs one of Barbossa’s crew with a sword and kills them. This happens several more times, sometimes shown in the foreground and sometimes just heard but not seen in the background. Come the end of the scene Salazar taps the floor several times in quick succession and many more crew members are slaughtered.

There is a mild joke reference to prostitution when Henry, Jack and Carina are together regarding payment for services. This is unlikely to be picked up on by a younger viewer.

In flashback we see Salazar’s ship as it was ‘cursed’. A huge fireball engulfs the ship and several crew members are shown to ‘explode’ in the background. One’s head bursts as the fire hits him. However, this is quick and with no blood.

There are more mild prostitution jokes with several crew members misunderstanding what a ‘horologist’ is. These are more overt than before but still relatively mild. The male characters are taken aback and confused whilst the female character is exasperated with their stupidity. Later, Carina has to remove her top layer of clothing in order to dive into the sea. She is still well covered (although with a low neck line) but the two male characters bicker about trying to encourage her to remove more. After she has dived in they are both shown to be pleased with what they did see.

Dead sharks missing half their bodies are reanimated to chase after some characters. These thrash around and attack the boat and could be scary for some younger viewers.

The cursed pirates are unable to walk on land. One attempts it but explodes into a cloud of black mist. This not gory and the character was unnamed and not established.

Several of Barbossa’s crew are hung upside down so they are dangling from their feet. Salazar’s crew are stalking around them and randomly killing them whilst two of the upside down crew members casually discuss where one or the other may have buried money that the other could have. This is played as a comedy scene, but features many unnamed characters having their throats cut in the background, unseen but heard with pained cried and gurgling noises. Many others are fatally stabbed. This scene therefore has an inconsistent tone and trivialises the brutal murders taking place.

One character is pinned down as their horrible sharp toenail is needed to pick a lock. Another character grabs it and pulls hard whilst they shout in pain. This is a comedy scene though and the character is shown to be fine later.

A ship full of naval officers is exploded by Salazar. A huge fireball destroys the ship, presumably killing everyone on board. No deaths or bodies are shown.

During the final scenes, when several characters are racing to obtain Poseidon’s Trident, one character choses to save another at a cost. This an emotional climax and several characters are shown to be emotionally affected by what happens.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT – IS ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN : SALAZAR’S REVENGE’ FOR KIDS?

The Pirates Of The Caribbean movies have always been close to the line in terms of fear factor and violence and whilst ‘Salazar’s Revenge’ doesn’t push this further in terms of actual content, what it does do is feature higher frequency so that the casualness of the large-scale murder may be too much for some children. But, as with the other movies, this is tempered by a swashbuckling adventure style movie with plenty of light relief. So with the above in mind we would recommend that ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean : Salazar’s Revenge’ is suitable for children aged 10 and above.

  • Violence: 4/5 (whilst little to no injury detail or lingering on deaths, there is a high ‘casual’ body count and many incidental and background characters are murdered throughout)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5 (little throughout but the climax of the film is emotional and could be upsetting)
  • Fear Factor: 4/5 (Salazar is particular ruthless and scary looking. His crew tends to lack most features to be recognisable, but other characters are frightened of them).
  • Sexual Content: 3/5 (quite a lot of mild sexual innuendo jokes. Carina’s clothes are generally low-cut. Little actual sexual content)
  • Bad Language: 3/5 (several mild to moderate words and terms. Nothing strong)
  • Dialogue: 4/5 (threats and references to hanging, murder, torture, disembowelment and prostitution)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of pride, revenge, family, sacrifice, distrust and dismissal of intelligent women, execution, mutiny, the repercussions of one’s actions, and superstition.

Words by Michael Record

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