Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Saying anything, good or bad, about this mostly very enjoyable sequel is like trying to pick on the most popular kid in school: Noone's going to listen, and you know in your heart everyone's right anyway.

Packing in more action and almost as much fun as its predecessor, Pirates 2 is everything a summer popcorn movie should be, very pretty people doing very crazy things just for our entertainment.

What story there is is definitely secondary to the spectacular effects. In it, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and longtime love Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are planning their wedding, but they're disrupted by lawman Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), who has charged them with aiding the escape of a known criminal, Capt Jack Sparrow, of course.

In order to gain their freedom, Will must track down his old buddy to obtain a certain object that is in Jack's possession. At the same time, Jack and the crew of the Black Pearl are fleeing from the legendary Flying Dutchman and its evil skipper, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). As it turns out, Jack made a devil's deal to receive his captaincy, and now the supernatural-powered Jones wants to collect his "payment."

It's all great stuff that director Gore Verbinski almost manages to weave into a coherent story line. My favorite action sequence was a death- and logic-defying sword duel atop a mill wheel, but there are plenty to choose from.

And of course,like the first Pirates movie, this one is all about Johnny Depp's manic performance as Capt. Jack Sparrow. I kept waiting for him to reach that moment of saturation, like Bart Simpson's "I didn't do it" character on the "Krusty the Clown" show, but for me at least, it hasn't come yet. Whether he can keep it up through a third - and apparently fourth - Pirates movie remains to be seen, but you can't make me bet against him. La Bella Keira and Mr. Bloom hold their own, but this is all about Johnny.

My only quibble with Pirates 2 was that, at 2 1/2 hours, it's awfully long for a summer flick. This is, after all, a movie based on an amusement park ride. Like a ride, it should be short, fast and sweet. But I was rarely bored in Pirates 2, mostly because it often moved at a manic pace.

I haven't quite managed to erase the foul taste of "X-Men: The Last Stand" from my mouth, but with this making four consecutive mostly great flicks (after "Superman Returns," "Nacho Libre" and "Cars"), this summer is starting to get its shimmer back for me.

20 comments:

Andreia said...

Cant wait to go see this tomorrow! What a relief to see Johnny Depp in a fun film after watching the painful Libertine this weekend. I still cant decide if I "liked" it or not!

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't bring myself to see "The Libertine," Andreia .. it just looks so frighteningly bad!

Linda said...

If you get nothing else out of The Libertine, it is Depp's delivery that makes it worthwhile. Starting to feel like I'm the only person that liked that film. Jack Sparrow starts at Depp's toes and ends at his hat ... loved Dead Man's Chest, it was all it could be. The whole gang gave it thier all, and it was a delight! Can't wait for more!!

Cheyenne said...

2-1/2 hours of Johnny Depp? Hell, I'll take that anytime, anywhere. He's one of the best.

Reel Fanatic said...

I agree whole heartedly, Cheyenne .. with anyone else, Pirates 2 would have sunk in parts

Andreia said...

You really should see it because as Linda says its a fantastic performance by Depp. The monologue in the beginning is worth it in and of itsself. Now I sound like I liked it!

Reel Fanatic said...

I am starting to waiver ... I liked that De Sade flick starring Geoffrey Rush from a few years ago, so maybe I should just give in

Maxine said...

I have just come back from seeing POTC 2 with my family. The girls loved it,but although I agree with you totally about the fast pace, I was kind of pissed off with it. They shifted Johnny D to carry the movie, but his character is basically an observer from the sidelines. He is now a self-parody of a self-parody, and Keria/Orlando are just left high and dry, especially O. who ignores K. all the way through and then gets hurt when she kisses J.
Also the plot really was just insulting the audience, all that East India stuff, people being put in prison and then taken out all the time, everyone at some point was about to be hanged and then kind of wasn't.....
But the girls loved it and they are the target audience I guess. I should have let them go on their own!
BTW I totally hated that De Sade film so maybe you shoudl ignore all the above.

What we need (I need) is a bit of Viggo Mortensen. I will either go and watch LOTR again or wait for Alatriste.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can see what you mean, Maxine, but I did my best to look past the plot's silliness, but it is a popcorn flick, after all, and as you pointed out, one targeted for a young audience (Although, why they insist on making a PG-13 movie instead of a PG one is beyond me)

justacoolcat said...

"Pirates 2 is everything a summer popcorn movie should be, very pretty people doing very crazy things just for our entertainment"

Well said.

Chelle Y. said...

I have not seen it yet, but plan to in a few days. I wanted to wait for my sister who is in town. She had not seen the first one, so my dad made her watch it on DVD today.

I cannot wait to see it, despite some of the negative reviews. Oh well, to each his own, right?

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Mercurie said...

I finally got to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest yesterday. I have to say that it lived up to my expectations. I only have two quibbles about it. The first is that of the two movies, I think Curse of the Black Pearl had a more impressive sequence, namely Barbossa's raid on Port Royal. Nothing in Dead Man's Chest quite matche it. The other quibble is one my brother brought up. If the curse of the Aztec gold was lifted from the crew of the Pearl, why is the monkey still undead? Wouldn't he have been restored to life like the human beings?

Reel Fanatic said...

Good question, Mercurie ... I hadn't thought of that, but I would assume you are right .. the monkey should indeed be alive and kicking

Pink Kitty said...

From what I read, at the end of the credits of Black Pearl, the monkey sneaks back into the cave and steals a cursed coin thereby making him an undead monkey again.

Yeah, I didn't watch that the umpteen times I seen the DVD and right now my copy is packed in a moving box so I can't confirm it but given the spiff at the end of DMC, it would make sense that there was one at the end of BP.

Mercurie said...

Thanks, Pink Kitty. I pulled out my DVD of Curse of the Black Pearl. The monkey does go back and steal a coin. Guess it sometimes pays to watch the entire credits!

patrick said...

The first Pirates of the Caribbean was great in every way, the best part of the other two was the special effects… the question now is, if they come out with a fourth, will it maintain the quality of the first?

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