Cert 12A 129mins Stars 3

The supernatural swashbuckling franchise returns to chart a course through familiar waters, but there’s a new star to light the way.

After 2011’s ponderous adventure On Stranger Tides, this adventure moves at a fair clip along its formulaic route of spectacular CGI sea battles and big scale stunts.

The special effects, costumes, sets and locations are a treasure dazzle us, but outshining them all is newcomer Kaya Scodelario. The Brit actress brings fresh life to the regular skeleton crew as a feisty astronomer turned treasure hunter.

Carina is the only woman of note in an ocean of men, and it’s a pity she’s saddled with Brenton Thwaites as a romantic interest. As Henry, he’s a suitably bland son and heir to Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner.

They team up with Johnny Depp’s hapless pirate, Captain jack Sparrow. Though Depp’s pantomime performance becomes more tiresome with every appearance, the troubled actor needs this film to rescue his badly listing career. 

Sparrow features heavily, but through judicious editing, stunt work and stand-ins, there’s a lot less Depp than we’re supposed to believe. 

Bloom and Keira Knightley briefly reprise their roles and Paul McCartney continues the series’ rum tradition of rock star cameos.

A ruddy faced Geoffrey Rush does a spot of acting as Captain Barbossa and gives his one legged pirate some real welly. And one time James Bond villain, Javier Bardem harries everyone amidships as the revenge seeking Salazar, the matador of the sea.

The scattershot script pays lip service to its own plot which involves the Trident of Poseidon. The reappearance of pirate galleon The Black Pearl, brings closure to a major character.

This week Depp was confirmed as the Invisible Man in Universal Studio’s new ‘Dark Universe’ franchise. If his career continues its downward spiral, he won’t need special effects to play the part.



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