• Guy Jeffries

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Review


Director: Gore Verbinski

Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Mackenzie Crook, Lee Arenberg, Kevin McNally, Martin Klebba, David Bailie, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hollander, Naomie Harris, David Schofield, Robbie Gee, Max Baker, Andy Beckwith, Reggie Lee.

So, it appears there's more to the seven seas than just some cursed Aztec gold. Thar be sea monsters ahead. Also, the trio seen to have parted ways with Miss Swann getting clapped in iron at the altar and imprisoned by the a Lord Beckett representing the East India Co. an obvious nod to the real East India Trading Co. that did brand pirates with the letter P in real life. Just instead of the forearm, it was on the forehead. (It's a Disney film!)

Turner strikes a deal with this Lord Beckett in finding Jack Sparrow and obtaining his enchanted compass in return for both their pardons. But Beckett isn't really after the compass nor the Aztec gold, but something of a much greater threat to all on the open water. Meanwhile, Capt. Jack makes yet another glorious entrance and eventually everyone reunites at some point, whether that be on friendly terms or not, it's all part of the fun.

Hollander as the priggish Lord is brilliant, boasting a confident, superior aura about him. He instantly earns dislike, even when he appears to be nice, and he's always only appearing to be. But it's the addition of Nighy's Davy Jones that steals the show, being named as the tenth best CGI character in all of film history by Entertainment Weekly and actually wins the film an Oscar for best visual effects thanks to the impressive work of ILM. Looking like a Cthulhu with his cephalopod head, those tentacles gave his character a great emotional extension that went with his crustacean left arm, octopus right arm and his crab-peg-leg. He's definitely what trumps most over CGI characters and will be a hard act to beat.

Everyone else is here, apart from the obvious Barbossa. But Will Turner has gone up in the world of privacy, as does Swann, but Knightley is still annoying as ever with her acting being a little over the top. Norrington makes an interesting appearance, but now as a washed-up, demoted and discredited commodore, who has little choice but to join the pirate way himself.

Now things get really hinty as we delve deeper into the world of Captain Jack Sparrow. Hearing more about the myths, legends and more curses of the sea. It doesn't necessarily better the curse of the Black Pearl, but this one certainly equals it with an outstanding debt to be paid. Again, each character have their own agendas and only form an alliance to achieve a common goal, but otherwise it's betrayal after betrayal.

It's exciting to see what misfortune follows Captain Jack Sparrow this time round and as we discovered from the first, there's something strangely heroic and lucky about him, possibly being one of the greatest anti-heroes of all time, whilst appearing selfish and cowardly he secretly plots a plan of action and quick-wittedly so, often swayed by his good nature.

Like the first there's some great action sequences which match if not better the previous. Capt. Jack's escape dressed as a kebab is excellent and the three-way sword fight with the water mill is also brilliantly creative displaying great cause and effect keeping the slapstick style very much intact and is highly entertaining.

Hans Zimmer takes over from Klaus Badelt in composing the score as Badelt left Zimmer's Media Ventures Studio Company to start up his own firm, Theme Park Studios; and seeing as Zimmer's studio produced the first, it only made sense for him to score this one, taking the key themes from the previous and adding a more dramatic twist to each track. The addition of the pipe organ for Davy Jones is chillingly good also. I had a funny notion that had Zimmer disapproved of Badelt's work on the first film and had him sacked claiming he could do better. That's obviously not true, but the score is better overall.

The hype was very much here for this one, everyone wanting to see/hear more of Capt. Jack Sparrow's drunken antics and quips. I totally get why he loves to dress up and play the part for the fans and children. I organised a pirate treasure hunt across the west end during that premier weekend and the attention was almost overwhelming but highly enjoyable. We were all celebrities for a day, taking us an hour to cross Trafalgar Square because of all the photo requests. It was tremendous fun actually bringing joy to others, posing, playing in character, shouting "arrrrghhh". It was nice to know we were giving those people a story to tell all their friends for years to come. I know I do.

It's a great continuation but not exactly better than the first. It does show keeping the same director and crew pays off and keeps everything in sync. Something that could only increase the risk of failure when changing key crew members like the director. Verbinski does a grand job in keeping the sails sailing with good pace and balance, again with audiences leaving wanting more and looking forward to the final instalment.

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 8

Performance: 8

Direction: 9

Story: 8

Script: 10

Creativity: 10

Soundtrack: 10

Job Description: 9

The Extra Bonus Point: 5 for Davy Jones.

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Already do!

85% 9/10

Also check out:

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge/Dead Men Tell No Tales.

#GoreVerbinski #JohnnyDepp #GeoffreyRush #OrlandoBloom #KeiraKnightley #JackDavenport #JonathanPryce #MackenzieCrook #LeeArenberg #KevinMcNally #MartinKlebba #DavidBailie #StellanSkarsgård #TomHollander #NaomieHarris #DavidSchofield #RobbieGee #MaxBaker #AndyBeckwith #ReggieLee #HansZimmer