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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

Directed by:

Gore Verbinski

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 151 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

On DVD

Country: United States

I think everyone was shocked by the first Pirates of the Caribbean film—the world had not yet seen what Gore Verbinski would do with Johnny Depp’s inner pirate, and it seemed silly to imagine that a theme-park ride could become one of the highest grossing films in history. But it did, and anticipation was high for what would be the second in what would at least become a trilogy. Unfortunately, I think Dead Man’s Chest suffers from these expectations and tried to do way too much.

OK, bear with me while I sum up. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are just about to get married, but the nuptials are halted when that meanie Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander) issues warrant for their arrest. They’re in trouble for helping Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) escape, and the only way they can save themselves is to retrieve a compass from him that Cutler wants; of course, Sparrow’s stuck on an island whose residents think he’s a god AND Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) is after him to steal his soul. Meanwhile, Jack is looking for something called the Dead Man’s Chest, which supposedly contains Davy’s beating heart and lets whoever owns it control the seas. There’s lots of sea monsters, swarthy pirates, and special effects from there, and the adventure is leading up to both a climactic battle and the third adventure.

Now, see how long that is? And I didn’t even talk about the Kraken (a fabulous achievement in visual effects), or Bootstrap Bill, or Tia Dalma … well, you get my point. There’s a lot going on, and it all looks spectacular (the makeup, by the way, is stellar), but it clocks in at around two and a half hours, and even with all that time, it still feels a bit hollow. Some of the shine has left the coin, and now that we’re used to Sparrow’s shtick and Will Turner’s heroics and Elizabeth’s wishy-washing between the two, it lacks the unique feel of the original. Again, though, it was the perfect summer blockbuster, full of adventure and romance and the like, and best of all, it brought in Nighy as tormented Davy Jones, and to Will’s dad, Bootstrap Bill, who promises to make more of an impact in the next movie. This is a fun roll on the sea, nowhere near as good as The Curse of the Black Pearl but full of enough to keep us coming back for more (if for nothing else than to see Keith Richards).

It's Got: Johnny, of course; great makeup and effects, a very full DVD package

It Needs: A little more focus and heart

DVD Extras “Captain Jack: From Head to Toe” (secrets and legends revealed by Johnny Depp and others); “Meet Davy Jones: discover the creation, mystery and mythology of the sea's ghostly ruler”; Bloopers of the Caribbean; “Mastering the Blade” (sword fighting); Audio Commentary (Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, screenwriters); "Charting the Return" (a preproduction diary); "According to Plan" (journal of filming the movie); "Fly on the Set" featurette on The Bone Cage; “Creating the Kraken” (visual effects featurette); “Dead Men Tell New Tales: Re-Imagineering the Attraction”; “Pirates on Main Street: The World Premiere”; Producer's photo diary with Jerry Bruckheimer DVD Extras Rating: 9/10

Summary

Nowhere near as good as the first but still a fun time, this Pirates installment keeps the story moving and gives us all the stuff we want and expect, even if it’s not as new as it used to be.

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