Genre: Action/Adventure
Director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin R. McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Stephen Graham and Geoffrey Rush
Runtime: 2 hrs 8 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: The Walt Disney Company  
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 25 May 2017

Synopsis: Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack's only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

Movie Review:

And why wouldn’t Disney make a fifth Pirates movie?

In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer came together to produce Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Based on the attraction at Disney theme parks, the movie was the first film released under Disney’s banner to be rated PG-13 (swashbuckling pirates and undead skeletons was uncharted territory for the House of Mouse). The movie was an unexpected success, garnering positive reviews from critics and grossing more than $654 million worldwide.

Mention Johnny Depp and the character Captain Jack Sparrow comes to mind. Did you also know that his portrayal of the flamboyant pirate earned him nominations for Best Actor at the Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe (Musical or Comedy)? He took home the the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. These achievements were pretty rare for a comedic character.

And so, here comes the fifth instalment of the franchise. Directred by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (incidentally, the Norwegian filmmakers made the Oscar nominated and critically acclaimed Kon Tiki, a 2012 historical film about an oceanic expedition), we follow Captain Jack as he finds himself coming face to face with a hoard of deadly ghost pirates led by the terrifying Captain Armando Salazar (played creepily by Javier Bardem). We also find out why Captain Salazar detests Captain Jack so much – the crafty pirate had caused quite a bit of upset with the Spaniard and he is going around petrifying people with his broken face, oozing black goo and anti gravity hair.

Coming along for the ride is Brenton Thwaites (Gods of Egypt) as Henry Turner, Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner series) as Carina Smyth, a couple Disney is probably planning to milk on for future films. Kevin McNally (The Man Who Knew Infinity) and Geoffrey Rush (The Book Thief) also reprise their roles as Joshamee Gibbs and Hector Barbossa respectively, something which will please fans of the franchise.    

The 129 minute movie offers nothing new: you are still bombarded with mega action sequences, heavy use of CGI, loud music, slapstick jokes and Depp’s signature eyeliner. There is hardly any time to breathe as one extravagantly choreographed scene (read: expensive) after another unfolds on screen. It is an entertaining way to spend two hours though: you see Captain Jack escape from bureaucrats, Captain Salazar destroying ships on the choppy waters, and the gang fighting it out to retrieve a trident as the sea opens below them. It’s not difficult to imagine where the $230 million budget went to.

Will you be emotionally engaged by the movie? Let’s just say as great as the cast is, there is a remote chance that you are stepping into the cinemas to watch a summer blockbuster to have your heartstrings tugged. Bardem’s Captain Salazar has all the looks but somewhat lacks the bite, but Rush’s Captain Barbossa manages to impress instead with his character development.

Fans will also be pleased to see the return of Orlando Bloom The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series) and Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. There is even a post credit scene which teases the return of another much loved character.

And why wouldn’t Disney make a sixth Pirates movie? 

Movie Rating:

(So much bombastic action, so much CGI, so much mindless entertainment – so much money to be made)     

Review by John Li

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