Carry On Jack Sparrow
The first time I watched "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" I was disappointed, it felt overlong, overly complicated, overly dark and a little bit too different to "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl". I had the same feelings when I watched it again just before "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" came out and as such haven't really thought about the movie again until now when I decided to watch it once more. Well I still feel that "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is over long, it is a bit too dark and complex but strangely it was more entertaining than I remembered it. For me it's no where near as good as the first movie and being a bridging movie to "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" has some issues but despite this it is better than half of the block busters which get made.
It's Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth's (Keira Knightley - Love Actually) wedding day but before they can get married they find themselves arrested for having helped Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) escape. Will is given the opportunity to win them a pardon if he will track down Captain Sparrow and retrieve the compass he wears around his neck. Agreeing Will sets out to track down Jack and fearing or Will's life Elizabeth manages to escape and follows on in pursuit. But things get messy when Will discovers Sparrow as he is in debt to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy - Shaun of the Dead) and so starts the search for both a key and the chest which it opens with many people in the hunt for it.
So one of my main issues with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is that at over 2 and a half hours it is long and spends the first hour of the movie putting all the pieces into place. But in doing so it also over complicates matters as we catch up with the characters and it seems to be going all over the place as Will tries to find Captain Jack and in turn Elizabeth goes after Will. Get this overlong set up out of the way and the movie actually gets good as we basically then have this set up of several people trying to first find a key and then the chest that it opens up. And although it leaves things in the air as it leads naturally into "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" it works in that it becomes this almost swashbuckling adventure movie which was part of the reason why "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" worked so well.
Of course a big part of what made "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" work was that it was funny especially with Johnny Depp giving us the marvellous Captain Jack Sparrow. And to be honest for the most "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is just as funny especially with Johnny Depp basically picking up where he left off. But at times it has to be said that the comedy is more a kin to a "Carry On" movie especially is the scenes where we have Will captured by cannibals and Sparrow being their leader commanding them with such comical dialogue as "licky licky". And at the same time the comedy also often borders on the damn right stupid especially a scene which revolves around a three way sword fight and a water wheel. As such the comedy in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is a mixed bag as whilst most of it is funny it just feels at times it goes too far in search of laughs.
But what is very clear is that there is a darker tone to "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and at times it is much darker than "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" as we are taken aboard the boat of Davy Jones. Now the storyline naturally leads it to be darker and in many ways this element of darkness works, creating an uneasy sense of mystery. But it feels out of place when compared against "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" which was much lighter in tone and generally more family friendly. It almost feels like the writers and director wanted to make the movie a bit more grown up and they do achieve it but it just feels a little wrong.
Plus of course "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is a movie about the effects and every single scene is littered with them. From the first time we meet the tentacle faced Davy Jones through to the Kraken destroying a boat it has that sense of being a big spectacular. And even the smallest effects, such as Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti losing his eye to a monkey works marvellously. As such "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is definitely a crowd pleaser if all you want is a visual extravaganza although the to and thro-ing of the storyline may make it hard to follow.
As for the performances well as already mentioned Johnny Depp carries on where he left off bringing back Captain Jack Sparrow in all his eccentric glory. Just that slightly camp walk with the hand limply raised through to his use of words is just marvellous and guaranteed to make you laugh. Whilst Depp is the star all the other returning actors all do a good job from Orlando Bloom through to Keira Knightley. And whilst they are unrecognizable under layers of make up and CGI both Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd as Bootstrap Bill and Bill Nighy as Davy Jones deliver interesting characters. Plus with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" being such a big movie there are recognizable faces all over the place such as Naomie Harris, Mackenzie Crook, Lee Arenberg and Steve Speirs.
What this all boils down to is that "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is an entertaining movie and works well as a bridge to the third movie. It is overlong and suffers from trying to twist and turn its way before settling down into what is in essence a quest story but it is very entertaining. It is also funny despite being darker and with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow being central to it all it is also memorable.