Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s revenge or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead men tell no tales.
After the long wait, which is 6 years to be exact, people have lost their liking to the cult franchise and it happens when the waiting is as long as the Nile. Pirates of the Caribbean series started with a bang (curse of the black pearl), produced an enthralling cliff hangar (dead man’s chest), awe-inspiring visual effects backed by enchanting music (at world’s end) and an interesting but underused plot (on stranger tides), the audience anticipation as well as the fan’s enthusiasm motivated another sequel. There is a lot to reveal about Jack Sparrow, where he came from and what he did that rendered his status as a pirate. The POTC video game plot revealed that he became a pirate because he rescued African slaves from British. It would have been interesting to know more about it. Plus, I was looking forward to how Angelica (Penelope Cruz) will be taking her revenge after she was marooned on the island. But then, by the time this is released the expectations were low and I was not really looking forward to it. Once upon a time, I was so obsessed with POTC series that I had wallpapers, fanart of the characters and made quiz and pages in Flixster.
In the last 6 years, a lot has happened to reduce mine, and in a way audience, interests to the film. Penelope Cruz’s character will not be featured in this film which is big open Ó’ mouthed moment for me as On Stranger Tides left us with a big cliffhanger in terms of her role in the future films. The most striking facet is Johnny Depp’s popularity and public image. He was once everything in Hollywood; sexiest man alive, box office king, versatile actor and one of the most down-to-Earth celebrities. But today, since he made that disastrous appearance in a drunken state at Hollywood film awards, we are seeing a plunge in Depp’s career. He made back-to-back flops. Personally, I am against the idea of an actor losing his or her mojo because of the sinking Titanic in their filmography but in Depp’s case, it is not just the box office but the choices of distasteful roles. Dark Shadows, Lone Ranger, Transcendence, Mordecai and Alice in Wonderland 2 turned him from Hollywood’s most versatile actor to repeated boring parody of himself. How can he simply turn his back on those choices he made during the ‘90s and early 2000s?
This Pirates film is expected to boost his image but then film choices keep on coming to his plate. A lot is hanging in his life from the messy divorce, domestic abuse allegations which reduced his popularity among humanists dramatically, and financial problems. Basically, when I watched this film, I felt that the dialogues and plot were indirectly showing Depp’s current public image on-screen through Jack Sparrow. That’s right, even the rogue and charming Pirates who earned love from the audience with his sense of humour, wits, and cleverness, is no longer the same. He is soaking drunk, penniless, shipless and lost track of his wits as well. For god’s sake, he had to sell his compass to himself a bottle of alcohol. We know how much Depp is holding onto alcohol for warmth judging by the video released by TMZ. Jack’s crew has turned their backs on him and even Henry Turner, who was looking for Jack, describes him as the ‘once great Pirate’.
Unless it is the filmmaker’s intention to showcase Depp as himself, it is very disappointing to see Jack being reduced to that extent. He barely does anything clever. He is dragged into two ludicrous scenes, seemingly made for comic relief or for stretching the time; one where he robs a bank and when he is forced into a wedding with an old lady. I missed the line “I am Captain Jack Sparrow”. Directors wanted to present the human side of Sparrow’s but that is not the side we are looking forward to, Not to mention the last time, on stranger tides, we see him climbing the coconut to which he is tied to, kissing Angelica because he identified her special moves and the climax where he saves Angelica by helping Blackbeard do what any father should do, redeeming his soul. All four Pirates’ films ended with his wits. He does have his moments of upper hand but more than that, here, we see him being tied, captured (a lot) and had to be rescued at the end. To make things even worse, he is more of a pervert when he talks about Elizabeth and Carina. That is hardly the Jack I know or want to see. Depp stuck to his acting standards but he didn’t bring anything new other than to make Jack look like a fool, “I remember, we were robbing the bank”. The younger Jack Sparrow looks more believable as the Jack we know.
The plotline including the POTC tradition of having a feminist character in the age of patriarchy and subjugation of women inside corsets and a house. Carina is a woman who is interested in astrology and horology but the era she is living in disregards women, with a scientist’s place having a disclaimer “no dogs, no women” outside the door and most women who talk about science are treated as a witch because men are either jealous or afraid of educated women with imagination.
She survives through all this with her determination and intelligence, even though she almost died at a point. While she faced exasperating sexism, she finds an unlikely ally, which what makes this films thematically different and better than previous four films. Her connection with her father and when he finally revealed, we will feel for him. The final resolution will put a smile on your face. Along with Geoffrey Rush who never let go of his standard, the breakout character is indeed Carina. Kaya Scodelario, after seeing her in Clash of the Titans, with her uttered just one word, has improved a lot in that terms. She does have the look of 17 century British woman and that of a scientist. The look she gives in the climax scene reminded me of the red head (Riley Keough) in Mad Max Fury road when Nux (Nicholas Hoult) makes his sacrifice. It is a well-done scene.
Technically the film marveled, better than the predecessors (except at world’s end where visual effects and music were better). The film should get a nomination for cinematography, visual effects, sound effects and editing (the crew outdid themselves in terms of sound effect), makeup and costumes.
Watch this film and hopefully, you will find it likable. It is nice to see Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley back on board, hoping that they’ll be involved in the coming sequels as well.
Or I recommend that the screenwriters will give a proper resolution to Angelica.
Featured image: hdwallpapers