Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Movie Review

It has become critical cliché to say that a gleefully executed summer blockbuster made one feel like a kid again, but this was my precise response to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. With its sun-bleached locales, barnacled bad guys, and unearthly soothsayers, director Gore Verbinski's latest pirate yarn is a stunning affront to marital woes, career anxieties, tax returns, and all other forms of mature and adult tosh. Silly and infectiously joyous from overwrought beginning to overwrought final frame, Pirates is not only fathoms in front of its predecessor, but sails far ahead of every other big-budget pop confectionary to have flavored theatres so far this year.

First, a moment of pause to contextualize this gushing praise. I was no great fan of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. It was no doubt a solid film: great Johnny Depp performance, breezy and colorful, but far too frequently tedious to warrant the lauding it received. I was not particularly looking forward to a sequel, seeing dollar signs in Verbinski's eyes rather than the reflection of some artistic muse. What surprises most then about this latest Pirates is its absolute regard for its art and its audience. The film gives fans what they want: more pop, less plod and most importantly, more Captain Jack.

Wisely, Verbinski and writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio have zoomed in on Jack Sparrow (Depp) for the sequel's story and allowed Depp room to steer the film. The lunatic is running the asylum here and the plot essentially chases after Sparrow's madcap mishaps. Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), the squid-faced swashbuckling sea captain whose job it is to ensure that pirates remain debased and evil, has come to claim Jack Sparrow's soul. Sparrow, fond of his soul, wishes to hold on to it and thus sets off on a search for the Dead Man's Chest, a buried receptacle containing the heart of Davy Jones. He who possesses the heart possesses the power to control Jones and his monster, the legendary Cracken. Meanwhile, to secure the freedom of his recently jailed fiancée Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) agrees to obtain from Jack the key to the chest on behalf of the East India Trading Company. The film's stars align when Elizabeth escapes and finds herself onboard The Black Pearl and under the captaincy of Jack Sparrow.

There is a Star Wars sense of play in Dead Man's Chest. It is big and loud and silly but simultaneously dark and cunning. The major set pieces (a cannibal island, various sinking ships, and a wonderful swordfight that moves from ruins to a rolling mill wheel) are splashy and giddying, but laced with enough threat to truly thrill. Depp is as superbly frothy as he was in the original, only we are given more of him this time around. Watching his awkward effeminate gait and hearing again his bumbling overpopulated quips is like sitting down to luxuriate in a favorite meal. Davy Jones is then the perfect counterbalancing accompaniment. A grotesque amalgam of Nighy's widened eyes and ILM's wonderfully rendered crustacean and octopi appendages, Jones is the most visually fascinating villain to have graced screens for years. With a sputtering British brogue, Nighy rules his crew and his screen time with one iron fist and one firm lobster claw. He is well assisted by his beast on call, the Kraken, a vivid realization of Jules Verne's nightmarish contemplation of what might haunt the ocean's floor, and occasionally, its surface.

The film, like Sparrow, is an imperfect creation. To continue the opening analogy, I found myself childishly restless at one or two points, usually during scenes between Turner and his father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård). The film is too long (like the first), and it is perhaps here where it might have been shaved. Keira Knightley is as repellent as ever, and Verbinski lacks the sadistic editorial savvy to simply make her Elizabeth walk the plank. Still, she looks good on the poster. These are very minor quibbles. The kid in me was extremely forgiving to this feather that won't stop tickling, willing to gorge on Disney's latest imaginative feast, picking out the very occasional anchovies and gristle. It all ends with quite the cliffhanger, and I for one cannot wait for the next Pirates film to arrive in port.

All for none and none for ll!

Comments

leena sirpal's picture

leena sirpal

omg!!!!! that movie is the best becoz my sxy johnny depp is in it!!!!! he is sooooooooo fit!!!!!! i love him soooooooo much!!!! my favourite bit was when jack sparrow was halucinatin aand there was loads of him, it was like my dream come true!!! everothin was jack sparrow, jack sparrow, jack sparrow!!! lol!!! love you johnny depp!!!!!

7 years 3 months ago
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durai's picture

durai

Hi people from all over the globe. here my wishes to everybody. since i am in india i have not seen the film yet. but from movie trailor i was so impressed by the performance of jhony depp.

8 years 2 months ago
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Lil_Miss_Pirate's picture

Lil_Miss_Pirate

That is the BEST movie ever!!!!☺ it was awsome!! i dont know wat to say it was so awsome. uhhhh.. johnny depp fits the role perfectly. i think if the didnt choose him the movie would have stunk. same with orlando. (but i like johnny better)i have the sound track of the movie now. and a little jack sparrow doll to show how much i love it!♥ and if johnny depp is reading this your awsome johnny!!! i want to meet you so badly!!!☺ ok thats all that movie rrrrrooooccckkksss!!!!!!!

8 years 1 month ago
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orli_the_owl's picture

orli_the_owl

This is the the greatest film ever!!!! (bar curse of the black pearl of course!) More of Captain Jack, undoubtedly the best film charecter to grace our screens ever, and his crazy adventures not to mention more gorgous Will and beautifl Elizabeth what more could you want from a summer film realy? Oh yeah the 3 man sword fight is stuff of ledgend and the effects rock too!!! A must see for everyone. ***** 10/10 A*Cant wait for part 3.Now, bring me that horizon...

8 years 1 month ago
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everagyspy5's picture

everagyspy5

This greatly anticipated movie lived up to it's hype.Loved everything about it. To me the characters of Will & Elizabeth had matured in a very good way.Orlando Bloom fitting into his character of Will Turner to seem a much deeper person, although not given enough screen time in my opinion.A visual feast of great sceenery & above all Jack Sparrow.It had me roaring with laughter on many occasions as was the theatre around me.I would give it 4 & a half stars. Can't wait for the next one!everagyspy5

8 years 2 months ago
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Khely's picture

Khely

GREAT!!

8 years 1 week ago
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PARIS ANNE's picture

PARIS ANNE

I CAN'T BELIEVE MV "SUNK", POTC2! THIS VICE MOVIE HAD 4 SHOWINGS V/S 11 SHOWINGS FOR POTC2! I WOULDN'T GLOAT ABOUT SINKING POTC2 W/ A OPENING OF 25 MILLION, WHEN PIRATES OPENED AT $135.6.MIL. NOT MUCH OF A VICTORY, VICE! PLUS I HEARD IT RECEICED SCATHING REVIEWS. WE'LL SEE HOW LONG, THIS SPEED BOAT STAYS AFLOAT. NOTHING MAKES SENSE TO ME IN REFERENCE TO THE "SUPPOSED SINKING OF POTC2. WOW,BY A WHOPPING $5 MILLION. BIG DEAL! WE'LL SEE IF THE 2 OVER-RATED BAFOON "ACTORS" CAN RAKE IN OVER $360.00 MILLION IN A LITTLE OVER 3 WEEKS TIME. BUT THEN,THE ACTORS DID EVERY TALK SHOW ON THE CIRCUIT! I GUESS IT PAYS TO GET YOUR FACE OUT THERE! JOHNNY DEPP ON DAVID LETTERMAN,SHOULD HAVE BEEN A LITTLE SOONER THEN 3 WEEKS AFTER YOUR MMP COMES OUT! JOHNNY WAS A LITTLE LATE! AFTER ALL HE'S THE MAIN ATTRACTION! LET'S HOPE WE SEE BLACK SAILS AT THE TOP OF THE LIST NEXT WEEK. INSTEAD OF THIS SLOP!! I DISAGREE W/ YOUR HEADLINE "VICE SINKS PIRATES"! NOT BY MUCH C.M.

8 years 1 month ago
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fucmerunnin's picture

fucmerunnin

Oh ain't this email, etc. s**t just too much to leave a simple comment; Well f**k me runnin'. Just wanted to say, crissyj says what I wanted to say.Please, Email? screw you and your god -damned spam that will follow this!

6 years 10 months ago
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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG-13, 2006

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