Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)


Directed by: Gore Verbinski

Written by: Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert

Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy

Ticket to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manís Chest - £4.50.

Bag of Maltesers and medium Pepsi from ďrefreshment centreĒ - £4.25.

Realising that the actor that plays Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport) is the same guy who does the voiceovers for MasterCard, in Britain anyway, and thus giving me the opportunity to open this review with a weak parody Ė Priceless.

I have to confess I have no problem with Hollywood blockbusters. Iím far less of a film snob than I am a music snob. I donít even mind syrupy, manipulative orchestral music telling me when I should feel excited or sad, or indicating when the charactersí hearts and minds are racing, as the summer action film is, letís face it, a bit of fluff. A film released at this time of year is more often than not going to be an hour and a bit of escapism and eye candy than a tour-de-force appraisal of humanitarian themes and emotions. And not too many films fulfilled this role as admirably and as successfully as the first Pirates of the Caribbean instalment. It took its slightly dubious premise and several elements of its final production from a Disney theme park ride, which is a pitching meeting Iíd love to have witnessed.

Speaking of music, the first filmís main theme was syrupy and manipulative, completely derivative and worked marvellously well chuntering along with the action set pieces. Which makes it all the more galling that itís almost completely absent from this sequel, and thatís down to one main reason: there are hardly any extended action sequences at all, and certainly nothing that would get the heart racing. Instead, like Star Wars, Back to the Future, The Matrix et al, we find that a successful initial film has been stretched into a trilogy, complete with a darker middle act with less swordplay and more exposition. Essentially, all this film does is set up the third act, which is due for release next year.

I suppose the distinct lack of swashes being buckled is whatís annoyed me the most; I donít mind the second film of a trilogy being subdued if Iím watching serious cinema, but when itís a franchise based on a watery rollercoaster, itís a little disappointing. Apart from the action scenes and genuinely witty one-liners, all the elements from the first film are there, including comic relief duo Ragetti and Pintel, but without nearly as much impact or inspiration. Hopefully, as theyíve shot both sequels more or less concurrently, theyíll have retained the juicy stuff for the climactic film. And Iím slightly bemused by the decision to stretch a film that is essentially aimed at children (PG-13 in the US, the similar 12A in the UK) out to two-and-a-half hours. On the positive side, Bill Nighyís Glaswegian accent as Davey Jones is flawless, if entirely pointless.

Wishing I knew what I know about this film before I spent £10 and nearly three hours of my life watching it Ė priceless.


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