Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Director: Gore Verbinski
Written by: Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio
Threat: Mutant Pirates
Weapon of Choice: Sword
Based upon: Disneyland ride
Country of Origin: USA
Other movies in this series:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
The tyranist's thoughts
This was the big movie of the summer that I was looking forward to. I saw X-Men 3 at midnight the night it came out and I ignored Superman Returns, but all along, the movie I was focused on was the sequel to a pirate movie. They don't make enough pirate movies if you ask me. Nobody's asking, though
So Mr. Turner and Miss Swan are to be married, but the evil East India Trading Company turns up and arrests them on legitimate charges, but for the sole purpose of forcing them to hunt down Captain Jack Sparrow to retrieve something of his. Given no alternative, they undertake the task. In the meantime, a bargain Captain Jack made 13 years ago is coming due and the beast of the sea is closing in.
Pretty much the entire cast is back and most of the magic. The story moves pretty quickly but is winding enough that it never seems to be going faster than necessary. The script seems like it was pretty good. The performances are good. There isn't as much sword play this time, which I was a little disappointed by. All in all, though it is a worthy sequel.
I was fortunate enough to go in knowing that it had a cliffhanger ending to set up the next movie. That said, the ending didn't surprise me, but it did sort of piss me off. The implications is that they've made a 5 hour movie, which means the number of times I'm going to get to enjoy it down the road are limited. I can only manage to sit down for anything over 2 hours long very rarely and there are movies I like more than the Pirates movies that I'm inclined to see in those spaces.
But length and ending aside, the movie was very good. I enjoyed the Lovecraftian atmosphere of the evil pirates and the action involving all of the old story lines. The movie is highly recommended. Posted: July 8, 2006
The film opened yesterday and tyranist saw it without me. What kind of friend is that?
Well, in answer to this unasked question, he offered to see it again with me today.
I love the first Pirates of the Caribbean. My only regret about my review of the original is that I said I didn't like the music, which I've completely changed my mind about. In fact, every time one of the familiar themes played in the sequel, I got a bit of an inner thrill.
The whole darn cast returned, even small parts, and everybody seemed to be having a great deal of fun, which tends to rub off on the audience. Bill Nighy is excellent as usual in his villianous role of Davy Jones. The look of the character is one of the coolest I've ever seen. In fact, there were many wonderful monster/undead pirate designs, each one unique and cleverly executed.
Parts of the movie were very silly, very cartoony (not that the first one wasn't), and yet there were other parts of surprising darkness and violence. What was with that ghastly moment at the beginning with the crow tearing a guy's eye out?
Johnny Depp was great in the original as the marvelously quirky Captain Jack Sparrow, but in the sequel, he seemed less original, less delightful. But ah well.
The film was just too bloody long. And though I am loathe to compare films to the dread Matrix sequels, this had quite a bit in common with those two, where it feels like the filmmakers had one pretty good script and due to greed/studio pressure, that script got stretched between two films. Elements existed simply to pad the narrative, stretching things out so we wouldn't notice we were watching only half a movie. I don't know if Pirates will end on the particularly rank note the Matrix films did, but a lot of judicious trimming (of some entire scenes) would've made this a better film.
It also suffered from the franchise sequel danger curse that plagues many films in a series: I simply never felt that the characters were in any real danger (other than bumps and bruises). While never reaching the depths of The Mummy Returns, there were almost a dozen characters in this film who you never for a minute think are going to die (and except for one semi-notable exception, none of them do), and that removes me from some of the drama of the story.
All in all, I felt it was much more of a Matrix Reloaded than an Empire Strikes Back. Why couldn't they have just ended the movie somewhere, even with an unhappy(ish) ending, rather than stop the narrative dead in its tracks? And like Matrix 2 and Back to the Future 2 (both sequels made back-to-back to movies that didn't intend sequels), there were many new plot threads that were invented for this film rather than carried over from the original, making me pretty sure they were making it up as they went along.
At the same time, there were many parts I enjoyed in Pirates 2. The plot threads they did pick up from the first one delighted me, such as the brand on Jack's arm and the fate of Commodore Norrington and the presence of the undead monkey (though I'd bet dollars to donuts that half the audience didn't get that little detail, having never stayed through the credits of the first one).
I wish the film were a little shorter and had an ending, but it's well worth seeing. Ultimately, it's a good film, but an unsatisfying one. It did make me want to watch the first one again, though. Now that's a GREAT film.
Posted: July 18, 2006
Total Skulls: 9
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|