Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest - Scallywag

Walt Disney
Duration: 150min
Category: Adventure
Available: On DVD
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The first time I saw the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie I was surprised at how good it actually was (see my review in the ďVaultĒ section). I think most of the world was surprised as no one thought a Pirate movie, especially one based on a theme park ride, could be so good. The success of that film lead to the inevitable sequel and I remember thinking, can they really find gold twice with this concept?

Then I saw the trailer and I remembered why I liked the first one so much. Suddenly I wanted to see Captain Jack in action again. However, soon into the very long running time of Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Manís Chest a dread pirate feeling came over me. My initial instincts were correct. There just isnít enough here for a movie trilogy and they should have stopped while they were ahead.

The bankers at Disney wonít agree. This movie will take in hundreds of millions and then there is all the cross promotional things that will keep the stock high for years. When commerce is more important than art, a Pirates sequel makes sense. But when you are a fan and the treasure you loved is picked over like this, itís a bit disappointing.

The first Pirates was great because of two things, a simply brilliant little plot that served to tell a great story and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack creating one of the most fun and original characters the screen has seen in recent years. Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Manís Chest misses in both these areas.

First of all, there is the plot which is convoluted and contrived. What worked in the first has been jettisoned for a screwy, implausible and almost incomprehensible mess of interweaving stories that are less engaging and less charming than the original. Also itís boring! Maybe my appetite for all things swashbuckling was eroded by the first or maybe the corporate synergy just didnít take hold but I kept looking at my watch wondering when it was going to be over.

Sure there are two very impressive, and very long, action sequences. One is near the beginning and features an escape from natives on an island and the other is near the end and features a confusing fight for the titular chest where itís every man for himself and youíre not really sure why everyone is fighting everyone else. In between there are a great deal of scenes of exposition to make sure that this twisted tale is understood by the audience.

Then there is Depp as Jack. Heís just not as much fun this time. The charm has worn off this character. It was fun for about 10 minutes in and then it started to get annoying. Depp talked about how much fun it is to play the character but this didnít translate to the screen as it did in the last. I found his mannerisms and voice so grating. If I had to hear him say "savvy?" one more time I thought I was going to hurl my soda at the screen. I think the biggest disappointment for me in Dead Manís Chest was my lack of interest in Jack Sparrow.

Still, Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Manís Chest isnít a bad movie. It just doesnít live up to the glory of the first. A good sequel should deepen the relationships of the characters and move their stories forward. A poor sequel just gives audiences more of the same. There are some good things including the two action sequences I mentioned and Keira Knightly running around dressed as a boy (extremely hot). As a popcorn film itís not bad as a follow up to a real fun adventure itís a let down.

The masses may enjoy being spoon fed the same story over and over (itís safe, doesnít surprise you and makes you feel like you understand the world well enough) but I see too many films to sit through same old same old. I would recommend waiting for video and renting it the night before you see Pirates 3.

The corporate bosses were pretty smart in that they filmed the 3rd movie simultaneously as this one and ended Dead Manís Chest with a cliff hanger. Therefore we have to wait until At Worldís End to find out how it ends. I am sure the masses will be lining up for that one too.

I will end with a word of warning. There are rumours you should stick around until after the credits to see a final scene. Donít waste your precious time. The scene is about 10 seconds long and isnít worth sticking around for.

Review By: Collin Smith

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