Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Movies and Television
© 2006 Disney, Buena Vista Pictures

To the critics panning Dead Man’s Chest: “THBBPTHBPT!” to use the Bill Watterson spelling. Oh Bill, how I miss you!

Anyway Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is nice sequel, and great middle chapter of the trilogy. Yes Pirates 3 is in the works, so that’s not a spoiler. Though there is talk of a fourth what with these movies (and related goodies) being a license to print money.

I think some critics are disappointed in this one because they were expecting to be dazzled like the first one. And they were wowed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl because it was GOOD and yet based on a theme park ride and Johnny Depp was rumored to be giving a wacky performance and it was you know, actually GOOD. Everyone expected Curse to suck ass, and when it turned out to be good, it managed to exceed expectations. So maybe some are expecting too much now.

What sequels have really been as good as or better than the first?

Seriously they cannot all be classics such as The Empire Strikes Back, Godfather Part II, or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. This one is better than most, not just a rehash of the first, keeping characters moving and changing towards an uncertain future. Yes it’s a muddle of various sea legends, and a little chaotic and I don’t care. It was fun, entertaining and worth a trip to the theatre.

My only real critiques of the film: There’s too much Jack-ramble, like that of Yoda-speak, that unique manner of turning a phrase reserved for Captain Jack Sparrow, played wonderfully by Johnny Depp.

In Curse it was funny and clever, yet seemed natural, organic and flowed easily from his mouth. In Chest it seemed at times clumsy and awkward. Like in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, wherein the Yoda-speak was overused ad nauseam, Jack’s dialogue is a bit overdone here too and threatens to become stale.

The creatures were also too much. Why cast the wonderful Bill Nighy, and then hide him under CGI so that you cannot really appreciate any qualities to his performance? Worse were the totally unrecognizable as people sea creature crewmembers of Davy Jones’ ship. Good effects, but not much to add to the story. Too much of the budget was wasted here as they almost take away from the film.

© 2006 Disney, Buena Vista

Other than that it’s a rousing action adventure that continues the story well. Picking up shortly after the first one, Elizabeth and Will (Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom) have their wedding interrupted by new English-accented bad guy and have to track down Sparrow and his broken compass, to save their own necks.

That’s a big theme here, and I look forward to seeing it play out in the third one, which is what will the “good” or “bad” guys do in the name of self-preservation? Think back to Curse, when Will rescues Elizabeth, after knocking out Jack in the cave, telling the crew Jack “fell behind,” leaving him to his fates with Barbossa and the cursed Pearl crew. Dead Man’s Chest carries that motif throughout, using turnabouts and double crossings to great use.

Most of the players from the first film return to play a part, even the two bumbling cursed Pearl mates, who do a sort of funny job with their expositional banter, just to make sure everyone can keep up with the story.

The various ship crews really just mill about, which is good because what we’re really wanting is Sparrow, who again does not disappoint as a man with a date with Davy Jones’ locker and big bad of the sea, the Kraken. It’s a race against time for everyone, trying to find the One Ring to Rule Them All … no wait, wrong trilogy … chest in order to gain control of well, … Jones, the Kraken and/or the sea.

There’s a delay at an island of cannibals; a voodoo priestess with dreads, bad teeth and boobs spilling out her dress (natch); lots of battles and swordfights; and wordplay between all the characters. And like the first one, it is a shade too long (almost 2 and a half hours); just shave a minute here or there from the battles (in which you know the winner) and the establishing shots of all the CGI crew (nice, but you get it) and you’ll save 10 minutes easily, and really improve the pace of the movie, to say nothing of sparing those with small bladders and large Cokes.

I’m not giving anything else away, so you’ll have to see it. Like with its box office you hadn’t already!

Final Snark: Rum, coconut oil, salty sea air. Ah to be in the Caribbean this … well, any time of year!

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