Back in 2003, Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a surprise hit. The pirate genre has been dead for many years, and that movie was based on a Disney amusement park ride. Yet it grossed more than $46 million on the opening weekend in the U.S. boxoffice alone. It reignited Johnny Depp’s career. It created a cult following. Therefore, this time around, it’s no surprise that Disney is making two sequals simaultaneously. They are guaranteed to be blockbuster hits. In the summer of 2006, the first sequal — Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest hit the theatres as a saviour to the struggling movie industry by rolling in tons of money and definitely left the fans screaming for more.
In Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest, our beloved Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) desparately searches for a key to a chest containing the legendary Davy Jones’s beating heart. As it turns out, Jack has made a deal with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). He became the captain of the Black Pearl, and he owns Jones his soul in return. Just like a true pirate, Jack tries everything to avoid paying his debt. On the other hand, his old pals Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) have their wedding interrupted by their arrests because they have helped Jack escape. They have to earn their freedom by bringing back Jack’s compass that doesn’t point north for Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company, a new power on the sea. Thus, as expected, they are forced back into another advanture with Captain Jack and his crew and other scary sea creatures from Davy Jones’s Flying Dutchman.
A major reason why The Curse of the Black Pearl was a success was Jonhny Depp’s portrayl of the drunk, cheating, womanizing Capt. Jack Sparrow, but fans may be disappointed by his part in the sequal. Jack is more toned-down in this one, probably because he is no longer in control of the situation. He’s fearing for his own life for most of the movie. Sure, there are some catchy phrases and hilarious moments where his comedic talent can be seen, but he is just not the fresh, cool Capt. Jack Sparrow we have grown to love. Surprisinly, Will Turner is more courageous and likable this time. I guess befriending pirates has changed his self-righteous way of thinking. I thought that the same thing can be said about Norrington, and I almost felt sorry for him. And then…
Dead Man’s Chest seems to focus even more on the special effects this time. Hey, it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer film after all. The heavily computer animated Davy Jones is a spectacle. With tentacles as beard, a claw as his hand, he hardly looks human. Bill Nighy had to act without true facial expression but only with his movement, eyes and voice. He is terrifying. But for some moments, we also want to know more about his story; we still sympathize with him. And that spells a good job in my book. He commands a fearsome gigantic sea monster known as the Kraken, which is so huge that we mostly get to see its tentacles only. Thanks to it, there’s a lot less canon battles (If you can’t sense my sarcasm, I like bombing away better). All the crew members of the Flying Dutchman have morphed into sea creatures, too. Just like the skeletons from Black Pearl, sometimes they don’t fit in with the other "human actors." But special design of the characters give them flesh and, to my delight, humour.
The biggest problem with this movie is potentially the convoluted plotline. The writers (Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio) treated this sequal as the first episode of a story (hence the frequent comparison to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back). Much is to be explained and resolved in the last of the trilogy. Even though the running time is 150 minutes, there are still parts and bits that I felt can be explored more deeply, such as Will’s relationship with his father and Davy Jones’s love story. If these plots were strengthened, there would have been more connection between the characters and the audience. In Will’s search for Jack, he stops by an island inhabitated by cannibals, where Jack is thought to be their God in a human form and needs to be eaten. I can’t recall anything that happened on this island actually contributed to the story except the reunion of the characters. But those 20 minutes were the funnist part of the entire movie to me. That pretty much sums up how the movie is.
Warning: Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest is not a complete story on its own. It has many loose ends that need to be tied up. For all the fans, back to the waiting room until May 25, 2007. Meanwhile, Dead Man’s Chest relieves some of the craving to see Capt. Jack and the gang for us, but it certainly doesn’t eases the need for more swashbuckling!!
- Jonhny Depp has said that his portrayl of Capt. Jack Sparrow was based on Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards, who was going to star in a cameo in this movie but had to pull out because of scheduling conflict with the Stones’ tour.
- From the IMDb’s trivia section for Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest: For the film’s release, the Walt Disney Company redesigned the Pirates of the Caribbean rides in Walt Disney World and Disneyland to feature captain Jack Sparrow, Barbossa, and an appearance by the films’ supernatural character Davy Jones as part of the attraction and will be featured beginning on the film’s opening day.
- ALL PHOTOS © WALT DISNEY PICTURES