PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST
Since the ship's previous adventure, the curse on the Black Pearl has been lifted, but now ruthless pirate hunter Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the East India Trading Company sets his sights on retrieving the fabled Dead Man's Chest in order to gain control of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), and thus to use this awesome power to destroy every last Pirate of the Caribbean once and for all. The scheme interrupts the wedding plans of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), who once again find themselves thrust into Jack Sparrow's (Johnny Depp) misadventures, leading to escalating confrontations with sea monsters, unfriendly islanders, the flamboyant soothsayer Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris) and the mysterious appearance of Will's long-lost father, Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård).
Review by Louise Keller:
Every imaginable pirate fantasy is joyously bundled into a bewitching treasure chest in this action-adventure sequel. A swashbuckling pirate, swordplay on rooftops, a mythical sea monster, a fish-faced villain, secret buried treasure, a mystic, a blood debt, a gallant hero, feisty heroine and much more. If anything, there is too much more, including the film's running time, which is long at 150 minutes. But it is unlikely there will be many complaints. It is easy to be swept away into Gore Verbinski's imagination-ripe world. Its larger-than-life characters are coloured by comic relief and awesome special effects are used to whet the appetite of our fantasies.
Johnny Depp's uber-theatrical pirate with rock-star make up, swagger and mischievous glint in his eye is the masthead of this big budget production that rides its massive wave with glee. We loved the character the first time around and Depp revels in the role, making the most of every opportunity to twitch, roll his eyes and flash those shiny gold teeth. His unique characterisation sets the tone of the film even better than the original; it's as though the other characters (and actors) have been infected by his energy.
Nighy's heartless villain Davy Jones who rules the sea behind a grotesque face swallowed by octopus tentacles is a fantastical creation. Credit goes not only to Nighy for a haunting performance, but to computer wizards Industrial Light and Magic who created him. Orlando Bloom ensures his dashing hero is a heartthrob not a wimp and Keira Knightley brings zest and glamour to his bride to be. Beyond the characters, there is a satisfying moral theme, when Captain Jack Sparrow shows that ultimately he is a good man.
The production design, make up and special effects allow us to suspend our disbelief so we can jump happily on board for the ride. And this is indeed a ride, having come a long way since the original ride in Disneyland. Humour is part of the script's fabric, and the film is as fun as it is bawdy. No need to concentrate. Just allow yourself to be swept away by the wave of entertainment that gushes, lifts and enthralls.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It might have been called The Farcical Disneyland Adventures of Jack Sparrow and Various Friends Or Enemies On The High Seas ... such is the tone of this second Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, extravagant and elaborate movie, written and directed by the team who wrote the first (2003) - and largely performed by the same cast, as well. I shouldn't be surprised, then, that I have much the same reservations about the film as I had about its predecessor, probably going against the tide of sentiment for the escapist joys of the film. (For one thing, I found the sound design too obtrusive, often hiding dialogue.)
For all my reservations, I enjoyed this second version a tad more, perhaps because about half way through I surrendered to its noisy, unintelligible plot and its madcap scenarios. This is a film that you enjoy visually, uncluttered by the plot; it's about the action, the wonderfully weird creatures and humanoid figures that emerge from the shadows and the excitement of the chase. Any chase. Anywhere. In fact, everywhere.
Crammed with many small and large set pieces, with wonderful, fantasy-quality scenery and heaving seas, not to mention Davy Jones' (Bill Nighy) squid head, Dead Man's Chest (again) combines a treasure hunt with seafaring mythologies, a replacement damsel-in-distress subplot and Johnny Depp's outlandish Captain Jack Sparrow. His oversize performance somehow fits in better in this sequel, probably because the mood of the entire film is closer to the mood of his character than was the first.
The production values are magnificent, and while the film is far too long, it maintains a high level of visual appeal, even for those who are less impressed by the screenplay. Children will be agog ....
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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST (M)
CAST: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgård, Jack Davenport, Kevin McNally
PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer
DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski
SCRIPT: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dariusz Wolski
EDITOR: Stephen E. Rivkin, Craig Wood
MUSIC: Hans Zimmer
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rick Heinrichs
RUNNING TIME: 150 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 6, 2006