Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Movie Review


OK, what’s wrong with me? I thought that Superman Returns was pretty mediocre, but I loved Dead Man’s Chest! All the critics seem to find it pointless and over-the-top (but they think that the Man of Steel has made a triumphant return). While I admit that Pirates took a while to get going—getting all the main characters from the first movie back together. Also, I guess the overall plot was a bit convoluted, but there was lots of action and fun. It did what all good sequels do: take the essentials of the first movie and amp them up—more swordfights, more swash-buckling trickery, but this time there are sea “demons”, and sea monsters and a lot more Master and Commander style sea-faring. What’s not to love?

I remember that I wasn’t very impressed by the first Pirates. I found it enjoyable, but I didn’t consider it as original as most people seemed to think. Pirates and swordplay aren’t exactly unique (especially if you watch Chinese martial arts movies as I occasionally do). Yes, yes, Johnny Depp’s Capt. Jack Sparrow was definitely different, but his tipsy charm really didn’t appeal to me. However, I think this time around I was prepared for all those things. I knew who Depp’s Jack Sparrow was going to be. I didn’t expect to see the ghostly crew again, but there was a new group of creepy sea ghouls in the service of Davy Jones (y’know, the one whose legendary “locker” a sailor sleeps in forever after drowning at sea) who pretty much served the same purpose. It was all enjoyably familiar. Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) were back and they too had their own parts in the big adventure. It was all just pure popcorn, flavoured with a bit o’ sea salt.

Anticipating no more than a fun ride, I was completely swept along and had a great time. Plus, as a sci-fi/fantasy geek, I loved the supernatural elements of the Davy Jones legend, and the way his crew were half-human, half-sea creature monsters (one guy had the head of a hammerhead shark, and Jones had an octopus for a head, with tentacles for a beard). The make-up and visual effects used on them were incredible and entirely original. Jones’s sea monster also made for a number of exciting action scenes by attacking various ships by its master’s command.

What’s the actual plot? It’s semi-interesting: the quest to defeat and outsmart the sea demon Jones in order to erase Capt. Jack Sparrow’s debt (apparently Sparrow made a deal with the sea devil to get himself the captaincy of the Black Pearl). However, the ins and outs are not important. Just try to keep your eyes on the flashing blades, thrashing tentacles and crashing waves. It’s all just one big thrill ride—after all, that’s how “The Pirates of the Caribbean” began, and what it’ll always be. (4.5 out of 5)

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