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Pirates of the Caribbean 2

2006-10-20 11:35

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is in trouble - again. Finally free of the curse of the Black Pearl, Jack must now settle a much older debt, the one owed to the dreadful Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). Half man, half fish, Davy Jones rules both the surface of the sea and its depths. His awful vessel, The Flying Dutchman, is matched by an equally horrific crew of lost souls, all of whom must serve Jones for 100 years before they may rest. Jack's only chance is to find the mythical Dead Man's Chest - the source of Jones's immortality.

But Jack isn't the only one who wants it. The ruthless pirate hunter Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) has arrested both Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and forced them to track Jack down or face death for aiding a known pirate. His plan is to capture the chest and use its powers to rid the Caribbean of pirates forever.


Well shiver me timbers, if it isn't the long awaited sequel to 2003's silliest surprise hit. As with most sequels this one promises more of everything - more thrills, more jokes, more mystery and, above all, more fun. And, as with most sequels, it delivers less of all those things.

To be fair this ludicrously expensive second instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean doesn't so much suffer from a case of sequelitis as too-much-itis. Taken separately the action sequences are marvellous, but after two hours you start to tire of relentless swordfights, naval battles, struggles with mythical beasts and general commotion of all kinds.

The goes double for the ludicrously complicated plot, and triple for the daft moral and emotional pretensions. Director Gore Verbinski has a real talent for combining striking visuals with compelling storytelling, but he has let his ambitions get in the way here. Not content with making a silly adventure film, Verbinski and the writers want the characters to go on an emotional journey - they want them to grow. Do we care about Will and Elizabeth's lovey dovey relationship? No, we don't. Do we want to see Jack struggle with his emotional immaturity? Nope, didn't think so. Do we want to explore Will's painful father issues? Do we bollocks! But do we want to see some swashbuckling and some cannon fire? Hell, yes! Bring on the rum and the ribald jokes, this is a pirate movie, not some art-house drama.

Apart from the soppy stuff, Dead Man's Chest is all about the machinery - the costume and production design, the special effects, and the make-up. There's no doubting how brilliant these aspects are - we're talking Oscar winning brilliant - but they do make little things like plot and performances fade into the background. It's hard to pay attention to the badly written dialogue when you're watching Davy Jones's tentacles crawl around his head, or the tiny crabs running all over his shark-headed first-mate.

The only problem is that things like plot and dialogue are what tie a movie together. Yes we're mostly watching for the action, but it would be nice if the story actually went somewhere or, failing that, anywhere at all. Watching Dead Man's Chest you're constantly thinking "What are they doing that for again?"

Even the perennially marvellous Johnny Depp tends to be overshadowed by the film's relentless paraphernalia. Still, he's the only one of the cast who gives anything approaching a decent performance. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley might as well be robots for all the warmth they bring to their roles. Bill Nighy and Stellan Skarsgard are superb actors, but you can hardly make them out underneath all the crud on their faces. You have to sympathise with Nighy, considering the horrors he must have endured each day in the makeup chair.

And so, for all the hype and the bloated budget, Dead Man's Chest is still a weaker sibling to the original film. Make no mistake, it's still a lot of fun, and any plan to put Cap'n Jack Sparrow back up on screen is a good one. Fans will be pleased to know there's a third film in the works, shot at the same time as this one (Lord of the Rings style). Who knows, maybe it will be the best of the lot. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

- Alistair Fairweather
Johnny Depp and Keira Knightly return for another round of nautical mayhem and mirth.

Kay 2006/08/15 11:37 AM
gargling with rum Avast! I have to agree - Johnny Depp was as swashbucklingly handsome as ever, even with all those weird looking teeth, and the special effects were astounding, but the whole movie lacked... a sense of purpose. Pity, I love all things pirate and thought the first film was fantastic, but came away from this one feeling a bit hornswaggled (cheated - for those who not know pirate-speak).
AJ 2006/08/27 10:33 AM
Make up your mind Who is this person reviewing this film? Contradicting himself around every corner really lends credit to his words... 'The writers want the characters to go on an emotional journey - they want them to grow' - are you serious? That's why we watch films! That's why there are characters in the first place - other wise we would have nothing / no-one to identify with in the first place. And of course they need to grow; if the character development stagnates or is non-existent, we would grow bored, nevermind FX and stunts and whatnot. I'm glad to see these little sub-plots interwoven into the narrative - imagine the film without Will and Bootstrap's growth, without Elizabeth's strange behavioural development... Boring. '... doesn't so much suffer from a case of sequelitis as too-much-itis.' Then later this: 'But do we want to see some swashbuckling and some cannon fire? Hell, yes!' I think mister Fairweather needs to make up his mind. Entertainment value? Top-notch. Yes, Johhny Dep
whitney 2006/09/13 6:23 PM
WHAT!!! True the first one was far more better than the second but orlando and keira did a awesome job!! And who doesn't love some Johnny Depp as captain jack sparrow
Mac v d Merwe 2007/01/16 10:30 AM
Pirates 2 Most enjoyable just like the first one --we also loved this one --perhaps even more --let the next one come!
* 2007/01/19 10:25 AM
A Great Dissapointment!!!!!!!!! Terrible! Did not match up to the first one at all! A complete waste of time, the characters have become shallow. The story was way too drawn example of too big of a budget. I hope the 3rd one will redeem it.
kremlin 2007/05/24 2:02 PM
RUBBISH Even Depp couldn't save this one.
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