Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Johnny Depp is the best actor working today. His explorations of extreme personalities on screen are intersting, varied and uniformly excellent. He may not always make the right choice but it is generally the most interesting.

His most popular character is Captain Jack Sparrow. The Curse of the Black Pearl, the first Pirates movie rode the shoulders of this charismatic scoundrel. Other elements of the film were good, but Depp punches it into greatness like the third stage of a rocket. He looks like he’s having fun and perhaps he is because he signed on for two sequels.

In Dead Man’s Chest, another piece of Jack’s colorful past has caught up with him. It seems he owes a debt to Davy Jones, a squid faced entity who captains a supernatual crew of creepies aboard the Flying Dutchman. Jack’s old sparring partner, Will Truman (Orlando Bloom) is hijacked aboard the Dutchman where he meets his father Bootstrap Bill (Stellen Skarsgard). Will is condemed to work the sails on the doomed ship for a hundred years.

Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of a merchant ship so she can look for Will.

Of course they all meet up and the adventures, jokes and stunts fly fast and furious, the biggest setpiece being a threeway fight on a rolling water wheel.

In the Black Pearl, it all looked so easy. The plot in that one rambled just as much as in Dead Man’s chest, yet you didn’t mind, because the jokes were funny, the sets, effects, costumes and make-up were interesting. Those technical elements are up to snuff here too. Rick Heinrichs, the production designer and his crew and collegues give the film a delightfully macabre look. It is horrific and yet lighthearted. Disney at it’s best, in other words.

But the script struggles and wheezes through two and a half hours. Now, of course, part of the problem is that this is only half a movie. The story will continue in the second sequel. So it may redeem this one.

But I doubt it. Dead Man’s Chest just isn’t as snappy or clever as Curse of the Black Pearl.

And there isn’t enough Johnny Depp.


1 Response to “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

  1. 1 Susu September 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    One of the worst things that can happen in a sequel to a successful movie is that audiences will feel like they’re seeing the same movie again with slight variations on the theme. Dead Man’s Chest gives us all the characters we loved in the first movie, but puts them in a refreshingly original movie. The action sequences will keep you on the edge of your seat. And there are more laugh-out-loud moments in this movie than in most comedies. I felt entertained from the beginning right through to the special scene after the closing credits. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I and my entire family will be going to see it again today.

    For parents with young children: This movie is more violent than the first movie. There is a lot of killing, though none of it is shown close up or in a grisly manner. Davey Jones and his gang are very gross. In the screening I attended, there were a lot of “Ewwww!”s from the audience. If you have sensitive young ones, you should probably leave them at home.

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