Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

‘Dead Man’s Chest’ is a plot heavy meandering sequel that owes more than a bit story-wise to‘Empires Strikes Back’. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are all back but the freshness and humor that made the original so appealing is largely missing here. However the CGI and technical craftsmanship on display is admittedly staggering. This installment is darker in tone than the first film and lacks a rooting interest for the audience, even Depp’s antics aren’t quite as charming.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) must repay his debut to the dreaded sea monster Davy Jones in order to remain alive and retain his title aboard the black pearl. Will Turner (Bloom) is in search of a chest containing Jones’s still beating heart and Elizabeth Swan (Knightley) isn’t left with much to do other than follow in pursuit of her finance and former savior. If that doesn’t make much sense it because, well the film itself isn’t always clear on the motivations or actions of it’s characters. Often leaving the viewer in a state of bewilderment which eventually leads to indifference. Luckily the GCI creation of Davy Jones is so compelling and creepy that it is difficult to tear your eyes away when he appears on-screen. Designed around veteran actor Bill Nighy, Jones is the single best thing in the movie. He consistently upstages Depp which is no small feat in itself.

Screenwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot must be given credit for developing and navigating an intricate trilogy when the initial intention was to have a stand-alone film. In doing so the story tends to sag under it’s own weight. Although Rossio and Elliot’s script does have moments of inspired dialogue, as witnessed in the babbling rants of Depp. When the action does come it’s overblown to the point of almost comedic proportions. A meticulously choreographed three-way sword fight in the final act suffers from the same problem. Visually the film is beautiful. Showcasing the majestic quality of the Caribbean and vast bodies of sea. Like all the films in this series the picture plays for two and a half hours, when ninety minutes would do. Ends with a cliffhanger that sets-up the third installment.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley

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