Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

This is your SPOILER-FREE REVIEW!

Let me just start this thing off with a statement.
If you loved the first one, you’ll love the second one. If you hated the first one, or didn’t get it, don’t watch this one.

The creators of Pirates of the Caribbean stuck faithfully to the formula that made “The Curse of the Black Pearl” such a success. This is also known as a "Cash Grab."

It’s everything I expected it to be. It’s all there:

The lovers who can’t be together.

The charismatic pirate who may or may not be an honourable man.

The small dose of reality involving the British colonies of the Caribbean.

The supernatural forces.

The twisted plots and subplots.

The incredibly interesting villain.

Something that needs to be found.

Someone needing to be rescued.

Bargaining, swindling and lying!

Swordfights!

Swashing and buckling!

Ridiculous slapstick comedy!

Not only did they stick with a winning formula, they exaggerated it. If a swordfight is good, a three-way swordfight is better!

The plot is more complex, there are more characters, and the villainous barnacle covered slimy pirates are more disgusting than the rotting corpse pirates three years ago. Dead Man’s Chest suffers from Middle Movie Syndrome. Much of the dialogue and sight gags rely on references from the movie before, and the ending practically screams “To Be Continued!”

It manages to be slightly more gruesome on this outing, but not bloody. Less blood, more slime! Less violence, more kissing!

And the kissing...we have to wait for it. But it’s worth the wait. And it isn’t quite what you expect.

The mystery of the enigmatic Captain Jack Sparrow continues. I felt like I could have used more of him, but I simply can’t get enough of him. Perhaps the script didn’t give as many chances to see Jack’s deep side, full of regret and remorse. (Remember the shootout with Barbossa at the end of Black Pearl?) There really aren’t any Oscar Nomination moments here. Instead, we finally get to see what makes Jack nervous and unhinged, what's got him vexed and acting strange...er.



Simply, Jack Sparrow doesn't know what he wants. Where is his famously broken compass guiding him? How can he find what he truly wants if he doesn't know what it is he wants?

Is it an excellent movie? Heck no! It's terrible! It’s long, confusing, and bloated. It plays for cheap laughs too often. It relies too much on the movie before it and the one that will follow. It's a retread of the one before it. It's an attempt to squeeze out another run at the box office dollars.

It’s also huge, exciting, creepy, funny, and thoroughly involving as well as visually amazing. I LOVED IT. I fully intend to see it a third time.

I can’t divulge any more details without ruining it for you, and I love surprizes so much that I won’t do that to you. I will give you a tease-- watch for somebody familiar to show up ruined and with revenge on his mind! And he’s way sexier now that he’s not so uptight.

And finally, I want Keira Knightley’s job. I really do. In what other career would one have the opportunity to stand on a white sand beach dressed up as a pirate and surrounded by three handsome men, two of whom are English and one who’s Johnny Depp?!

What is it you truly want?

11 comments:

Heidi the Hick said...

what a relief: Now I can start reading other people's reviews. You know. The REAL critics!

Redneck Nerdboy! said...

I am going to see this tomorrow night with my beautiful, but stressed wife! Our first date in months!!!

I'm gonna go for a feelski and try to get to second base. Wish me luck!

:D

Kari said...

I'm holding my breath untill it comes out on DVD! Can't wait!

Heidi the Hick said...

Red, I already told ya, Captain Jack has an EFFECT on the womenfolk.


Kari- the kids have informed me that we have to get the video too.

Balloon Pirate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Balloon Pirate said...

A half-hour into this movie, I was asking:

Where's the swordplay?

Forty-five minutes into the movie, I was asking

Where the hell's the swordplay??

An hour into the movie I was asking:

Where the hell's the f&@king swordplay???

For anyone not prone to moon-eyed swooning of Johnny Depp (not that there's anything wrong with that), this movie's a bit of a disappointment.

What do we go to pirate movies for? Swordplay and cannons. Swashbuckling daring-do. Both of these were in short supply for unexcusably long stretches in this flick.

In the first thirty minutes of 'Black Pearl' we had action as big as a city under seige, as intimate as a swordfight between Depp and Bloom, and as hilarious as Depp's ship sinking into port.

That alone was more than this film had in its first ninety.

In the end, I felt much the same as I did at the end of Back to the Future Part II: this film existed only to get the characters from the end of the first movie to the beginning of the third. Two hours of exposition is a bit much.

Yeharr

Heidi the Hick said...

Once again you have said it better than I could!

I think the swordfight thing was like, okay, we had to go splaining things, so now we have to do a really big swordfight to make up for it.

I resisted the urge to compare it to Back to the Future II but that's what I was thinking too. It's definitely a Middle Movie.

And as for Johnny, I didn't think there was really enough Captain Jack. He can and should carry it.

But I still loved it. I'm kind of sick that way.

Balloon Pirate said...

Admit it: if someone filmed Johnny Depp reading the phone book, you'd pay to go see it.

And if he read it ALOUD, you'd drag your friends to it.

Yeharr

Heidi the Hick said...

I admit it!

But he'd read that phone book with meaning, dammit.

Matt Mullenix said...

"Is it an excellent movie? Heck no! It's terrible! It’s long, confusing, and bloated. It plays for cheap laughs too often. It relies too much on the movie before it and the one that will follow. It's a retread of the one before it. It's an attempt to squeeze out another run at the box office dollars.

"It’s also huge, exciting, creepy, funny, and thoroughly involving as well as visually amazing."

Well put: and I agree. I took my friend Ida (aged 73, according to her) with me to Sunday's matinee. It was the first movie she has seen in "25 years." I was a little chagrinned not to have picked a better one for her.

She and I were both astounded by the effects. Davy Jones is a classic---well done visually and well played (by whomever that was beneath all the latex). Ditto the other unsavory creatures.

I liked the senior Turner pretty well.

But Capt. Jack appears this time a bumbler, pointless, and deserving none of the loyalty and respect he gets from friends and crew. He hardly exists in this film.

I'm with Balloon Pirate on the regrettable lack of swordplay. The three-way was interesting (aren't they all?) but not even a little bit convincing and too late to impress---We had already seen the Krakken and the D. Jones crew.

And the ending.... my goodness.

Heidi the Hick said...

I loved Davy Jones! He's played by Bill Nighy who I really like and I think was excellent.

The more I think about it though (and I think entirely too much about everything) there reallly wasn't enough Capt Jack. Even his crew was kinda ticked with him at first. I wonder, how will this relate to the third installment and also when will these people call me, cuz I've got ideas, man, I know what to do!

The ending- well they better have their editing done for next summer, that's all I have to say!