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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Gore Verbinski|
scr Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
with Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport, Stellan Skarsgard, Kevin McNally, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Jonathan Pryce, Mackenzie Crook, Geoffrey Rush
release UK 6.Jul.06, US 7.Jul.06
06/US Disney 2h30
En garde: Depp and Bloom
The Hollywood movie machine impressively turns another hit film into a trilogy. This raucous romp takes awhile to get going, and never establishes any momentum, but it's hilarious, clever, thrilling and again stolen by the genius of Johnny Depp.
Picking up where we left off, Will and Elizabeth (Bloom and Knightley) have their nuptials interrupted by the greedy Beckett (Hollander), who blackmails Will into tracking down escaped pirate Jack Sparrow (Depp). But Jack is on a quest of his own, to cancel a debt he owes to the tentacled Davy Jones (Nighy). It all centres on Jack's magical compass and a mythical buried chest that could control the seven seas. Soon Elizabeth follows Will into the adventure, as does her former fiance (Davenport). Along the way they run into a mysterious soothsayer (Harris) and Will's long-lost father (Skarsgard).
The film gets off to a rocky, lumbering start. It's not as fresh as it was; even Depp's brilliant Captain Jack feels familiar. But as the plot churns and convolutes it slowly wins us over--swashbuckling scenes get increasingly outrageous, and Depp's relentlessly camp physicality ascends to dazzling comedic heights.
We also get expert scene-chomper Nighy in a terrific villainous role as captain of a ship of half-men, half-sushi. He manages to shine through the heavy prosthetic makeup and inventive digital effects in which he's encased. Skarsgard is also terrific in a role that grows into something rather intriguing. Meanwhile, Bloom and Knightley show greater confidence in much meatier roles, although they're still rather bland action-romantic leads.
Being the middle act of a trilogy, the film's weakest element is its pace, as it lumbers along without any sense that we're building to a climax. We feel all two and a half hours, marked by bigger effects, grislier action and such heavily accented dialog that we often have no idea what's happening. Not that it matters. Because most of the big set piece sequences work on several fronts--funny, exciting, scary, goofy mayhem. And there's some subtext too, as each character must make a terrible decision that's going to cost them dearly. Yes, there's a massive cliffhanger of an ending. And yes, it leaves us gagging for more.
Phil, net: "I loved the first one and had been looking forward to this for months. However I was a little disappointed. I took two eight year olds both of whom fell asleep! It really is too looooong! Also the plot is a bit all over the place. I am not a thickie but I got lost about what people were doing where and with who and why! Also the ending left me thinking I had been short changed. There were positives: great photography, Sparrow's escape from the cannibals and the monsters were brilliant. Just not as good as the first - sorry!" (10.Jul.06)
Laurie T, Minneapolis: "Okay, loved the first movie, but this movie was so long. And I know this because I had to take 2 potty breaks, which tells me 2 things: it was long, and not keeping my interest, because if I am really into a movie, I can ignore the urges. I liked parts of it, but the whole thing got a bit confusing. And yup, the special effects are pretty cool, but just because you can make ghosts gross - really, really gross - should you? I pity the poor little kids who get told they can't see this - cuz the ghosts are really, really disgusting. One TV critic said something I agreed with: kinda cool, but really long and he couldn't wait until it sailed away. I hope they do better with part 3 - because I no doubt will go see that, hoping it is better." (10.Jul.06)
Kiara, Vermont: "I thought this movie was kind of confusing and I didn't know what was going on the first time I saw it. But then I saw it a 2nd time and i got to understanding it! I saw it a third time and it didn't actually seem as long as it really was the first time I saw it! I thought this was very well done and it was very humorous! The first time I saw the first movie I thought that was really long but the second time I saw it, it didn't seem as long! So watch it again and it won't seem so long!" (10.Aug.06)
© 2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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