'Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge'

'Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge'
U/A; Action/Fantasy
Directors: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg
Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario
Rating:

None of us was really asking for another Pirates movie, but I guess Disney was not going to lay low because we wished so. The fifth instalment comes after a dismal part 4, which was a mere spin-off devoted to Jack Sparrow's antics, universally panned, I must say. So, the expectations were pretty low.

It's mainly the action set-pieces, production design, stylised performances, sheer energy and irrepressible verve of treatment and presentation that strikes you. This one has all that. It's a voyage beyond time where man and ghost converge in a miraculous panorama of magic and mayhem that burrows deep (Biblical era) for its action adventure meat.

This may not match up to Gore Verbinski's swashbuckling series opener, but it's somewhere close to the first two sequels. Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg are quite solid in their action heft, but it's not quite series-defining stuff.

Sparrow's (Johnny Depp) past comes hurtling back with Salazar (Javier Bardem) seeking revenge for the curse brought on him. The world-building here has taken a personal route with stars and romance heralding the new age of an old Disney tale. Salazar, a ghostly menace trapped in the moment of his grisly death, is being helped by Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), whose relationship with Jack, teetering on the edges between friend and foe, has forever been the highlight of every 'pirates' adventure from the start.

Abandonment issues, neglect and regret build up the empathy, and we root for the young ones to have a happy ending with their folks and loved ones. The thing about Pirates is that no one really dies here, and even if they do, they are resurrected in the next. This adventure places its bet on the charismatic screen presence of Oscar-winning heavyweights Depp, Rush and Bardem. It's mindless, but as long as the cash counters continue to ring, the makers won't end the franchise any time soon.