Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge: Typical film where a studio exploits a popular franchise

The fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is cinematically brilliant but it’s just too fantastical and rehashes concepts from the first movie.

Director: Joachim Ronning, Espon Sandberg

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Twaites, Kaya Scodelario, Orlando Bloom

Certificate: 12A

Running time: 2hrs 9mins

Release Date: May 26

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge is a highly anticipated movie after it was revealed Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly would be reprising their roles as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan respectively, however, the film is just too much.

The film follows Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his new shipmate Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) – the son of the hero and heroine from the first three movies – as they try to track down the lost Trident of Poseidon.

However, as their journey takes them across the seas they are followed in pursuit by the dead Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his crew who seek to get revenge on Jack.

Cinematically, the film is brilliant and to say the franchise was developed from a ride in the various Disneylands around the world the movies have done well in cinema’s history but this one is probably the worse out of the five.

It seems these days Disney are just rehashing and rebooting successful franchises and narratives such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The fifth franchise has a ship of dead sailors trying to break a curse and a strong, confident female character who continually seems to wear a long dress.

Yes, this description could be used for both Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and the new one.

However, the difference is the first movie was gritty, dark and in a way realistic whereas Salazar’s Revenge went a bit overboard (pardon the pun) on the fantastical.

Some of the dead sailors had half their faces blown off, were just arms floating in mid-air but still wielding swords and dead sharks brought to life to chase down their enemies – all a bit ridiculous.

Many of the scenes were also too long winded, in particular, a robbing the bank scene which seemed to last for nearly half the film and didn’t really have any point to it and could have easily been cut down.

Fans of the franchise, including myself, were overjoyed when the trailer revealed Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly were set to rejoin the franchise after being omitted from the fourth movie.

However, their parts don’t seem to be any benefit to the plotline and with the introduction of Thwaites as their son, they didn’t really need to be involved in the film but instead just mentioned as fans would know who they were.

Orlando, whose character Will Turner is now the Captain of the Flying Dutchman, is supposed collect those who died at sea and take them to his locker however so many sailors die in this movie and yet his presence is omitted.

Depp was as always fantastic in his role but the franchise has been overdone now and if there will be another addition he needs to hang up his captain hat and retire. The role is overdone and overplayed.

Bardem was perfect as the Spanish murderous villain but there was sometimes parts where he was speaking and it was hard to fully understand him due to his mouth being full of blood.

Thwaites, although a good actor, didn’t shine as bright as he could have done in this franchise and Scodelario just reimagined the character of Elizabeth Swan just a few years younger – she, just like Knightly did, wore a dress the entire movie and had constant digs at the lifestyle of pirates.

Of course, Geoffrey Rush was brilliant as Captain Barbossa and it was great to see him as a pirate again rather than being on the side of the English as he was in the fourth installment.

Number four in the franchise, On Stranger Tides, brought more than just the living dead into the movies with mermaids being featured and it seemed the follow-up movie kept to that fantastic-ness and was more Peter Pan-esque than swashbuckling pirates.

Although there is a lot of criticism against the movie, it was still very enjoyable to watch and parts were great both narratively and cinematically.

However, this has to be the end of the franchise. The film brings everything to a perfect close and it would ruin an already stretched out collection of movies if there was to be a sixth.

Anyone who is a fan of the movies should go see it for nostalgia purposes and prepare for another great performance from the amazing Depp.

But be prepared to find yourself thinking it wasn’t as great as the original.


42nd Street: An immersive and lavish production hailing back to 1930s musicals

For anyone who is a fan of high-end productions then 42nd Street is the one to see – whether it’s the brilliantly perfected dance routines or the lavish costumes the play does not fail to entertain.

Director: Mark Bramble

Written by: Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble

Starring: Sheena Easton, CJ Johnson, Tom Lister, Claire Halse, Stuart Neal, Jasna Ivir, Christopher Howell, Norman Bowman, Graeme Henderson, Bruce Montague

Running time: 2hrs 30mins

Theatre: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Without having any background knowledge of the narrative before seeing 42nd Street I went in completely unaware of what I was going to see and I can definitely say I was not disappointed.

Set during the 1930s depression the show follows a production company who are attempting to put on the next best show on Broadway.

The lead actress, Dorothy Brock (Sheena Easton), who can only see but not dance, is torn between two loves – the show’s wealthy backer Abner Dillon (Bruce Montague) and Pat Denning (Norman Bowman)

While aspiring young performer Peggy Sawyer (Claire Halse) waits for her big break.

Words really cannot explain the lavishness of the production. With perfected choreography, it was hard to find anything out of place in the large-scale dance routines.

Halfway through the show, I found myself feeling like I was one of the audience members who paid to see their production.

Cleverly I feel this was the show’s intention by having direct communication with us (the audience) and regular digs at the orchestra and even looking down into the pit.

Anyone who is a fan of Busby Berkeley musicals will without a doubt find this production an homage to an era when musical theatre was at its peak.

Utilising mirrors, steps and other set designs the dances were truly spot on and the audience went crazy for them especially during ‘We’re In The Money’ – one of the many popular hits.

Although many people will be buying tickets to see star Sheena Easton perform as Dorothy Brock, it was actually her understudy who played the role.

CJ Johnson stepped into the role perfectly and it is no surprise she is cast as the understudy. Whether or not she is better than Easton can only be decided if I saw both play the role but nevertheless she was brilliant.

However, the praise really needs to go to Halse. Her performance as young, naïve Peggy Sawyer was absolute perfection.

How she, and the rest of the cast, can get on the stage sometimes twice a day to perform the mesmerising tap dance routines is beyond me – I got tired just watching them.

It clearly shows their talents and dedication to the show – plus it looks like it is just pure fun. Choreography Randy Skinner must be proud.

What surprised me about the production was the number of cast members. Although not all have speaking lines the show is still a large-scale production – something rare in West End shows these days due to funding issues.

However, you can see why 42nd Street needs the numbers it has. Playing homage to the 1930s musicals when they had large cast members they need them all – plus they add to the brilliant choreography.

With hits like ‘We’re In The Money’ and ‘Lullaby of Broadway, you’ll have the tunes stuck in your head for days after seeing the show.

42nd Street is an all-around, feel-good production that will make you want to grab your old tap dance shows and dance around.