Dead Man’s Chest Sinks with the Rest of the Ship

Starring Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Finding Neverland), Orlando Bloom (Lord of The Rings, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven), and Keira Knightley (Domino, Pride & Prejudice), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest opened Friday, July 7th everywhere.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is the second installment of a trilogy now being completed. The third film should open sometime next year. It’s a testament to the way the Lord of The Rings or Matrix trilogies were made. However, just as the Wachowski brothers made a treasure chest of mistakes in Matrix: Reloaded, so does Gore Verbinski in Dead Man’s Chest.

The film begins several years where the first, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl left off. Elizabeth Swan (Knightley) is getting married to her beloved William Turner (Bloom) when the wedding is suddenly cut short. Tom Hollander (Pride & Prejudice) plays the sniveling weasel Lord Cutler Beckett, who works for the British crown. He takes Turner and Swan custody, tries everything to get their cooperation in his own fiendish plot to get the location of a chest. And, only one person has the right tool for the job.

Across the sea, on an island of horrors in the dead of night, Jack Sparrow (Depp) sails through fog on his ship, the Black Pearl with a compass that never seems to work in his hands. He had just escaped the island in a casket. He just blew a crow to smithereens, and paddled back to his ship, using the leg of a dead man as an ore. If that isn’t a perfect introduction for Jack Sparrow, what is?

William Turner tracks Sparrow to an island. He and his pirate crew had pulled the Black Pearl out of the water. They had been captured by a local tribe of cannibals, and Sparrow was declared their god. All hell breaks loose when the cannibals try to burn him out of his fleshy existence, and that’s when the film takes a turn for the worst. At times, it’s hard not to see a little bit of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls or Raiders of the Lost Ark in this latest Pirates installment.

Elizabeth Swan stows aboard a ship, dresses as a man, and scares the crew into taking her to Tortuga, an island where local pirates go to have a good time. She meets up with Sparrow, and ex-fianc�©, discharged-commodore Norington, played by Jack Davenport (The Wedding Date). From there, they set sail to find an island where a very valuable treasure is buried.
Sparrow schemes against Turner and Swan in an attempt to free his soul from a dark fate, serving aboard the Flying Dutchman, the abyssal ship of Davy Jones himself. In doing so, Jack turns everyone against each other.

While being pursued by Davy Jones played by Bill Nighy (Underworld, Underworld: Evolution) and his dreaded cracon, a monstrous “beasty” that rises up from the sea devouring every ship its huge tentacles can get a hold of – some great CGI work to be sure – the crew of miscreants follows the direction in which the broken compass lead them. They uncover a treasure chest. Every person has their own reasons to keep or destroy the treasure inside. They all get into a sword fight that seems to go on and on, much longer than it should. Then, the entire film changes from clever and sensible to comical.

Plot and storyline become extremely complicated. Whether it’s the thickness of the pirate lingo or just some poor writing efforts, it’s still hard to follow. Great jokes are there, but where they were well-timed and perfectly executed in the original, they lose their luster in Dead Man’s Chest. And, quite simply, this film just isn’t as thrilling as its predecessor.

Just as Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of The Rings: Return of the King or the Wachowski brothers’ martial arts FX extravaganza, Matrix: Reloaded and Matrix: Revolutions proved, there may be more to this story than meets the eye. But as far as it stands on its own, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is a disappointment. Just keep your eye on the horizon for that third film, and then, perhaps everything will be right again.

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