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Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (DVD)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce, Bill Nighy and a waterwheel.

Rated: 12

Story: Oh, where to start... Suffice to say, if you haven't seen the first one, you won't have much of a clue what's going on. Then again, the complex justification for all the daring-do isn't hugely easy to follow even if you have. Basically, in order to save his fiancee Elizabeth (Knightley) from the gallows, Will Turner (Bloom) must bring a compass belonging to wacky pirate Jack Sparrow (Depp) to the sinister East India Trading Company. Sparrow, however, is rather busy trying to renege on a deal he made with the monstrous Davey Jones (Nighy). To this end, he needs the compass to find a key to unlock a chest which contains something unpleasant. Meanwhile, everyone double-crosses everyone else while attempting to avoid being eaten by cannibals and enormous sea monsters. Most of them try to snog Keira Knightley too.

Comments: I saw this sequel at the cinema when it came out a year ago but I rented it again recently and I actually enjoyed it more the second time round. There were a number of reasons for this:
  • I saw the first one recently as well so all the backward plot references made more sense.
  • I caught more of the one-liners.
  • I already knew it wasn't worth trying to follow the story too hard.
  • I'd had three glasses of red wine.
The effects are fantastic and the film contains some great action sequences. True, some of them are over-the-top and pretty silly but this is a rip-roaring adventure that leaves reality behind after about five minutes. It's a case of sitting back and letting it keep you entertained while the parts of your brain responsible for critical thought take a nap. (If you've been looking after small children for several years this zen-like state will be second-nature. Imagine the main characters as Teletubbies and you'll go to that happy place almost instantly).

The cast do a fine job. Bill Nighy is unrecognisable under a stack of make-up and CGI, and is a much more convincing monster than in Underworld. Surprisingly, it's Depp who seems to struggle, despite turning in the most memorable performance of the first film. It's not really his fault, though - the character of Captain Jack is simply wearing thin. Everyone, from Elizabeth to his crew of cutthroats, seems to love him in some way but he's neither a good man nor a good pirate. He lies and cheats to his own ends but is never ruthless enough to get his hands on any treasure. It was possible to sustain this moral ambiguity for one film; two is pushing it a bit. He needs either to be more blood-thirsty or to find a different profession. (I guess Accountants of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Tax Return doesn't have quite the same ring to it).

PoC:DMC is overly long and it has the usual problem of the second film in a trilogy - it starts in the middle of the story and doesn't make it all the way to the end. Oddly, it leaves you wanting both less and more. It is very watchable, though. I'll doubtless end up finding myself sucked in again when it comes on telly.

Conclusion: Funny, spectacular and silly.

Explosions: Technically plenty, if you include cannons firing. Otherwise, one.
Tentacles: Dozens.
Plot twists: Too many.
Historical accuracy: As if...
Does it beat the first one?: No.
Does it beat Cutthroat Island?: With a big stick.

Rating: 4/5.

(BTW Getting the kids to play Potatoes of the Caribbean is a good way to distract them for a few minutes. The game involves thinking of the names of TV shows, films and games and then replacing one of the words with potato or potatoes. Personal favourites include: Indiana Jones and the Potato of Doom, CSI: Potato, Bob the Potato, CSI: New Potato, Gone in 60 Potatoes & Legend of Zelda: Potato Princess).


Can I review a fillum? Can I can I???? said...

Potatoes and Prejudice, Goodbye Mr Chips (groan), Return of the Killer Potatoes, Mad Max Beyond the Potatodome, The Avengers (Emma Peel-double groan), Potato on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Indiana Jones and the Potato of Doom, Bob the builder II Spud goes solo.... that'll do for now

Sameh said...

I know it's a fantasy, but the East India Company throwing it's weight about in the Caribbean and displacing His Majesty's Governor in the Caribbean? The East India Company operated in India and had no authority to arrest people in the Caribbean and certainly not to remove a Governor appointed by the British Government. Still, I am not surprised at anything from an industry that seems to believe that all British people are either toffs or cockneys.

DadsDinner said...

To be honest, a movie based on a amusement park ride was never going to be particularly historically accurate. That said, I understand your pain - it's the same kind I get during the technical 'explanation' in science fiction films.