Monday, July 17, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive about forking out to go and see this in the cinema. I had read a number of mixed reviews in the press and was weary. It didn't help that as I was standing outside the Odeon a friend who was driving by stopped and asked what I was about to watch. When I replied that I was about to view 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest', all four occupants of the car said in unison "Seen it, it was rubbish", before driving off.

This instalment of the franchise starts off almost immediately where the last left off, Will Turner & Elizabeth Swann are just about to get married when lo and behold there is a hiccup. Without spoiling the story, all I'll say is that Will gets press ganged into finding Jack Sparrow before the wedding can take place and sets off on a not so jolly adventure.

Firstly the bad news. I was hoping that following the success of the previous movie and the near guaranteed success of the sequel, that Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio would have had a little courage and delved deeper into the psyche of the characters they created, but they chose instead to stick to what was a winning formula.

Without the benefit of being a shiny new concept, this doesn't work as well as it did in the previous movie. Apart from the fact that the major characters from the previous movie are all present there are very few new characters, and the writers couldn't be bothered to tell us much about them.

Where they did try to develop some of the characters didn't work particularly well in terms of the flow of the movie, so I suppose it is better that they did limit the character development after all.

Now the good news. The special effects and soundtrack are both excellent. Hans Zimmer dug deep into his Gladiator sound-a-like repository and provided more of the same, with the exception an interesting nod to Puff Daddy's reworking of the Police's song "Every Breath You Take" (which was different).
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Plot: 12/20
Acting: 15/20
Production: 17/20
Entertainment: 32/40
Total: 76/100

Overall the movie was still quite entertaining and I am glad that I didn't wait for the DVD (HD-DVD or Blu Ray) release. Intellectually challenging it isn't, but it isn't meant to be either. It is meant to be fun and light hearted and there was quite a lot of light hearted situational comedy on tap.

I suppose that it is quite rare for a sequel to be better than the original and so as far as sequels go, this movie is par for the course.

Roll on 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'. Having seen the first two, I have to see the final episode! Although it really feels like 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' is half of an episode, and that 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End' will be the conclusion of the second episode.

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