“Find Jack Sparrow For Me And Relay A Message From Captain Salazar. Tell Him: Death Will Come Straight For Him…”
Praise be and grab your rum of choice, it is indeed that time once again. After believing that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise had sailed its’ last sail with On Stranger Tides, a third sequel to Curse of the Black Pearl, Disney’s flagship theme park based series swiftly returns this week with Salazar’s Revenge or perhaps, Dead Men Tell No Tales, depending on where exactly you will be spending your hard earned cash in order to witness the newest CGI orgy of famous actors dressing up like second year university students hitting the town and pretending to act serious when shouting “arghhh” and battling invisible, digitally created cannon fodder, all of whom are eager for disposal by death. Holding my frightfully cynical tone for a moment, the release of Salazar’s Revenge might controversially be the film which reinvents my opinion of the gargantuan series, and even with expectations as low as the depths of the pacific ocean, the addition of Norwegian directorial pair Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg alongside the ever reliable presence of Javier Bardem is a cause for cautious optimism, particular with the latter’s ability to carry off a damn fine villain when necessary. Inevitably, Salazar’s Revenge instead is yet just another CGI-fuelled bore-fest, one which trades set pieces for narrative and acting ability for budget costs within a skin peeling two hours which confirms the series has indeed sunk to the depths of mediocrity without any sign of resuscitation aboard.
Whilst the film centrally is based around the retrieval of a mysterious object which breaks every and any curse laced upon the many characters within the Pirates universe, Salazar’s Revenge also has to try and squeeze in the titular character’s quest for violent justice, with Javier Bardem’s CGI-masked villain setting his sights on the figure of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, a Captain Jack Sparrow who has seemingly worsened in every subsequent movie, resulting in a performance which has increasingly become a caricature of itself in an almost cringe-like fashion. With a script which is laced with cheesy and ear-grating dialogue, Depp has finally managed to confirm that his time in the spotlight as the world’s worst pirate must finally come to some sort of a dignified end, and whilst the inclusion of Orlando Bloom and a completely silent Keira Knightley could leave some fans jumping for joy, the return of their respective characters adds absolutely nothing to the overall enjoyment of the movie. Alongside some terrible sound editing and a complete lack of threat, Salazar’s Revenge is unsurprisingly a meaningless, dull affair, one which continues the woeful track record of blockbusters this year and a film which rivals David Beckham for worst cameo of the year so far. I mean, Paul McCartney, what are you thinking?
Overall Score: 3/10
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Have we possibly found the worst film of 2016? Even more so, the worst film of the decade? Gods of Egypt, the latest creation from the mind of Alex Proyas, director of cult classics such as The Crow and Dark City, is indeed a shocker of a movie, a film so inherently terrible, it makes last years’ Jupiter Ascending look like The Godfather, and begs the question how on earth such a flop ever managed to get past the cutting room. With a 140 million dollar treasure chest at his disposal, Alex Proyas has succeeded in presenting the biggest waste of a budget since Newcastle United in the January transfer window and in a time where big budget movies are the norm in gaining financial gain, Gods of Egypt may hopefully emphasise the notion that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Want to know how bad Gods of Egypt is? Gerard Butler is the best thing in it. That’s right. Gerard frickin’ Butler.
In regards to the plot, of which is somewhat ludicrous and inherently stupid, after murdering his brother and taking the reign of power across Egypt, Gerard Butler’s Set banishes nephew Horus, played in an awfully camp fashion by Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, whom is regarded as the rightful heir to the throne of power but is left blind and abandoned in the wastelands, unable to seek revenge and claim back his rightful title as king. After the intervention of a mortal however, Horus is given the opportunity he seeks and sets about reclaiming the throne of Egypt and to return his lands to peace, finally ending the reign of his power-hungry uncle. Think Exodus: Gods and Kings meets Barney the Dinosaur and that would be a telling review of Gods of Egypt, a film so flimsy, so ear-cripplingly awful when it comes to dialogue, and a film so woodenly acted it could be mistaken for a foreign ad on TV where its’ main star in the form of Coster-Waldau is so out of his depth it begs belief why on earth he doesn’t just stick to Game of Thrones, a series in which he is very good in yet when placed upon the big screen, gets acted out of the park by the one-man shouting army that is Gerard Butler. It just makes me cringe thinking about it.
If Coster-Waldau could be forgiven in any sense, then Chadwick Boseman most certainly cannot, with his performance so unintentionally both terrible and laughable at the same time, it would be hard not to see him be invited to the Razzies come awards season. It is perhaps the single worst performance I have ever seen in a movie, a performance so cringey, it gave me the shakes every time he spoke, particularly in one scene where there is not one, but thousands of Chadwick Boseman’s, all of whom are utterly, utterly terrible. Aside from the masterclass of shoddy acting, the effects are borderline offensive, something you could expect on a Nintendo 64 cartridge, the jokes fall flat on every occasion, and worst of all, everyone in my screening knew how bad it was. Looking around during the film’s unholy two-hour run-time, I began to take bets on who would leave first with myself being 11/10 on to leave before the credits rolled. Gods of Egypt isn’t just bad, it’s a monstrosity of blockbuster proportions and easily the worst film of the year so far. By. A. Mile.
Overall Score: 1/10
William Eubank’s The Signal follows in the footsteps of other independent, low-budget films that have been released this year that have tried to expand upon the horizons of the respective genre they have adhered to. For the case of sci-fi, we have already had Alex Garland’s brilliantly edgy Ex Machina, and for horror, we had the not-so brilliant It Follows. The Signal focuses on two hackers, who on their way to dropping off the not-so-hacker female of the group, Bates Motel‘s Olivia Cooke, decide to come face-to-face with rival hacker NOMAD in the middle of Nevada. Hey, the film’s set in Nevada. Guess what… There might be a twist of who’s really there.
The first thing I have to say in the case of The Signal is that it succeeds in making It Follows seem a much better film than I first thought, with it’s attempt at producing a kind of spooky, kind of arty sci-fi flick falling flat on its’ face and instead, presents something so skull-shaterringly dull and incomprehensibly stupid, I was ready to leave as soon as the credits rolled in order to erase it from my mind completely. I began to lose all hope entirely towards the latter stage of the film where it decides to sway from its’ original echoes of horror as promised in the opening stages of the film and instead, turns into a cross between District 9 and RoboCop; and not in a good way.
In a sentence? Boring, boring, offensively stupid. The Signal reminded me how bad Series 8 and 9 of The X Files were, as the film feels like a rejected two-part episode of such albeit without Agent Scully, and without requiring a need from the audience to actually care about what is going on. Although it starts well, the film descends into something I’m sure you will find The Signal in the bargain bin soon. Not good.