Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack
Davenport, Bill Nighy
Much like The Matrix, the instant success of the first
Pirates of the Caribbean facilitated
the filming of two sequels (the next one to arrive next year).
But, unlike The Matrix, the true star of this fantastical
adventure is not the hero, Will Turner (Bloom), but the scheming
pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp).
Dead Man's Chest quickly picks up events sometime
after the first movie. Jack is Captain of the Black Pearl
once again, but unable to find his way. Turner and his wife-to-be
Elizabeth Swann (Knightly) have their wedding interrupted
as they are arrested for freeing Jack. Turner makes a deal
to save their necks, but must located Jack and come back with
his compass, which is revealed to point towards whatever the
It's not long before Turner locates Jack, only to find Jack
is being chased by the Cthulhu-like Davy Jones, who has come
to claim Jack's debt. Turner is tricked into serving on the
ship, and Jack manages to run into Swann, who has been freed.
Of course, what ensures is a series of amazing action sequences
and more backstabbing than a Thieves Convention.
I was honestly surprised at how many people brought little
children to see this movie. Yes, it's loosely based on a theme
park ride. A Disney theme park ride. The movie is directed
by Gore Verbinski (The Ring), who
has a great sense of dark visuals. In fact, a large part of
the movie is fairly dark in visuals and tone. Most of the
characters are vile and seedy and there is some terrifying
action to be had. Oh, well, hope you enjoy putting the little
nose miners to sleep.
From a production standpoint, Dead Man's Chest really
does just about everything right. The sets, costumes and makeup
are excellently handled. There isn't a single moment that
might pull you out of the fantastical setting. The effects
used for Davy Jones' crew are outstanding and really sell
the magical aspect of their nature. Even the Kraken is done
well. Verbinski's dark direction has a certain artistic nature
to it, which really makes the movie look nice.
From a performance standpoint, Depp is at his finest here.
Knightly is decent, though far more interesting than Bloom's
Turner, who is becoming far less interesting in comparison
to his pirate counterparts. The secondary cast provides some
nice character actors to fill in the ranks.
Dead Man's Chest runs almost two and a half hours,
a good hour of which feels like aimless wandering, until you
realize it's all build-up for the events that play out in
the second half of the film. Fortunately, the pacing is well
done so you never feel like the film is dragging on. A fair
warning, though, as this is the middle act to the trilogy
and the ending is a lot like Empire Strikes Back.
If you haven't seen it already, go now and catch one of
the better action flicks to come out since the Lord of
the Rings movies. The action is fun, there's lots of laughs
and you will feel like you got your money's worth by the end.