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 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.
Plot twists: Too many.
Historical accuracy: As if...
Does it beat the first one?: No.
Does it beat Cutthroat Island?: With a big stick.
(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).