Pirates of the Caribbean back on steady seas – but still some choppy waters

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - SALAZARS REVENGE (12A)
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - SALAZARS REVENGE (12A)
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FILM REVIEW:

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN – SALAZAR’S REVENGE (12A)

SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: JOHNNY DEPP, JAVIER BARDEM, BRENTON THWAITES, KAYA SCODELARIO, GEOFFREY RUSH, KEVIN McNALLY, STEPHEN GRAHAM, DAVID WENHAM, PAUL McCARTNEY, ORLANDO BLOOM & KEIRA KNIGHTLEY

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 9 MINS

DIRECTOR: JOACHIM RONNING & ESPEN SANDBERG

This latest Pirates instalment is arguably the second best in the series.

That sadly isn’t saying much, because – bar the fantastic first film – the other three have been disappointingly bloated efforts, but this (to some extent) remedies that.

It’s still pretty disposable fare, but ticks the right boxes for bright and breezy family entertainment as Johnny Depp returns to ham it up as Captain Jack Sparrow once again.

He’s ably assisted by a couple of Hollywood starlets – Brenton Thwaites (Gods of Egypt) and ex-Skins actress Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner) – in an adventure that generally entertains between a few tedious lulls in an unsurprisingly formulaic plotline.

This time Sparrow has just about hit rock-bottom, with his disillusioned crew – including Kevin McNally’s Gibbs – tired of his failed endeavours and only a small, battered, ship to his name.

To make things worst, his old nemesis Captain Salazar (Skyfall’s Javier Bardem putting in a menacing, but by-the-numbers, performance) and a group of deadly ghost pirates have escaped from the Devil’s Triangle, hell-bent on killing every pirate at sea – and Sparrow is their primary target.

But locating the mythical Trident of Poseidon will bestow the possessor control over the sea, and Sparrow – with the help of Scodelario’s scientist Carina – faces a race against time to find this powerful artefact with Salazar closing in.

Throw in Thwaites’ ulterior-motivated Henry Turner – son of Orlando Bloom’s (who cameo’s) Will – who wants to locate the trident to break his father’s curse (which was bestowed on him during the finale of World’s End), and the unmistakable presence of Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa, then there’s just about enough thrills and spills to make this a pleasantly serviceable action-adventure.

After a six-year hiatus a little more ingenuity would have been welcomed, but for fans it nicely ties up a few loose ends, and definitely floats more than it sinks – with Depp’s always-good-value Sparrow guiding it through some choppy waters.

Which leaves this revenge tale just about worth setting sail for.

Rating: 3/5 – Gavin Miller