Wednesday, July 12, 2006

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 movieJohnny Depp Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Johnny Depp
Reviewed by Byron Merritt


HESITANT THUMBS UP!

A HESITANT THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING!

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY) is back and he’s in bigger trouble in Dead Man’s Chest. Along with him, of course, comes Will Turner (Orlando Bloom, ELIZABETHTOWN) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, 2005), the two would-be married lovers whose wedding is interrupted by the corrupt and unscrupulous Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, 2005 ), a true marketeer for the East India Trading Company.

The continuing story. Jack, sashaying his way across the Caribbean, is trying to continue his infamous ability to cheat death. Problem is, though, is that he owes a life-debt to the dreaded Davy Jones (come full-on as a character and not just a small piece of sea karma by Bill Nighy, SHAUN OF THE DEAD). Davy Jones and his barnacled crew take the souls of those not willing to venture into the Great Unknown and apparently Jack had met Mr. Jones previously and wrangled a deal: he’d captain the Black Pearl for 13 years, and now that 13 years is up. So, in true Captain Sparrow fashion, Jack decides to cheat, steal, manipulate, and do whatever is necessary to save his skin. Even if it means finding the heart of Davy Jones (which is stowed away ...somewhere, waiting to be found). The more trouble is that Beckett wants the heart of Jones so that he can control the seas (he who controls Davy Jones’ heart controls something called the Kracken, a mythological beast ...more on that in a minute) and thus be the only trading ships on the ocean. But Will Turner also needs the heart in order to save Elizabeth from the deadly clutches of Beckett who has promised to hang both Will and Elizabeth if he doesn’t get it. The race is afoot! And what a race it is!

As far as summertime blockbusters go, you’d have a pretty tough time finding something as entertaining as Dead Man’s Chest. The action is incredible, the dialogue fun, and the special effects first-rate. Johnny Depp, as always, inhabits the role of Jack Sparrow. His mannerisms, line delivery and antics are just a sheer joy to watch. Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom are also fun to watch but not nearly as much as Depp (who steals every scene he’s in).

There are problems though (Argh!). Length is an obvious issue. At 2 and ½ hours, younger kids might find it a bit irritating to sit through something so long. Indeed, little youngsters should avoid the film altogether as it has some rather gruesome if not downright frightening scenes in it (gaining its full PG-13 rating by having images of eyeballs being plucked out of living and caged pirates, etc.) The other problems involve the meshing histories. A tenuous connection between Davy Jones and The Flying Dutchman can be made, of course (the true captain of the Flying Dutchman was NOT anyone named "Davy Jones" but the myth is adequate enough to have him helm the ship). The other issue is Davy Jones’ mythological undersea monster, the Kracken. The Kracken is a beast related to Greek and Norwegian mythology, not something as current as Davy Jones (who’s myth started, I believe, in the early 1700s). My only other movie experience with the Kracken was in the sad, sad, sad B-movie CLASH OF THE TITANS (maybe not a true B-movie, but it sure felt that way!) I will admit, however, that Dead Man’s Chest got the creature’s features down more appropriately according to legend.

At any rate, this is a wonderful summer film. Blockbuster? Definitely. Disney has done something amazing in their marketing, too: pulling stories from rides at their theme parks is a sure way to ensure that people come back to Disneyland and Disney World time and time again. Sheer genius.

Click here for the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest movie trailer!

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