Wednesday, July 12, 2006

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

Dir: Gore Verbinski
In theatres July, 2006

Verbinski’s much anticipated sequel to the Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) falls, as many sequels do, a little short of it’s predecessor. All the players from the first film are back for another go at adventure on the high sea. This time Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) sets out to try and save his love Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from execution. In order to do so, he must find Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and get something from him that will in theory set them all free. That is the basic thread of the film, though there are several other plot lines that are at times a little confusing and difficult to follow.

The most important thing to remember going into the film is that it is not a complete film in of itself. It is merely the first half of the second and third films. Much like the Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson, 2001 – 2003) trilogy, the films are meant to be seen as one piece and not two separate films. So, it doesn’t end it merely pauses as we wait a year for the second half. I am sure that Verbinski didn’t know for certain that sequels would come of his first film, but seeing it in this way almost separates the films into two separate instances.

The release strategy is not the only thing that separates Dead Man’s Chest from Curse of the Black Pearl. Even though the principle characters and actors are all the same, they seem to have taken on new characteristics as they further their development. The sense of distrust and lack of honesty only really hinted at in the first film, runs rampant in the second. Relationships are called into question and in the end, the audience is left slightly confused.

It is also important to know that it is really only the first part of two because the setup to get the action rolling takes up most of the film. Verbinski takes his time getting the characters where they need to be and the luxury of a 150 minute run time means that he can explore multiple story lines that would not normally be allowed in a shorter film. The third, and hopefully final, film of the series will determine whether or not he is successful.

Dead Man’s Chest also introduces a whole new villain in Davy Jones (Bill Nightly) to which Jack owes a great debt, and a set of supernatural pirates to crew his damned ship. Unlike the Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) crew, his is more believable to be of the sea and the effects used in their creation were spectacular.

Dead Man’s Chest is not without it’s flaws, but still worth seeing. Any fan of the first film will most likely enjoy the second film and will wait with baited breath for the second half of the journey already started.


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