Film Review ***..: ...Pirates... Returns With a Splash
Johnny Depp...s Capt. Jack Sparrow Sizzles in Sequel
By Jillian Berry
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio
Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley
In “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow, along with co-stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, in this sequel to 2003’s hit, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” We rejoin the story on Will Turner (Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann’s (Knightley) wedding day. However, instead of getting married as planned, Will and Elizabeth are arrested. Worse, they face a trip to the gallows for assisting Jack Sparrow in escaping arrest. To avoid death, Will and Elizabeth must find Jack and his magical compass (which points to whatever a person desires most), and bring the compass back to Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander). Meanwhile, Jack has his own problems. First, he is considered a god to an island civilization, which unfortunately honors its gods by eating them. Additionally, he has been informed by Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgard) that he has now officially been the captain of the Black Pearl for thirteen years, thus he owes Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) his soul. The movie follows Jack’s attempt to evade Davy Jones, while Will and Elizabeth try to survive Jack’s troubles.
As with the first “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the plot is outlandish, and it is not nearly as important as the characters themselves. Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is just as eccentric and treasure-minded as before. He steals any scene he is in (and he is in a lot of scenes) with his “evil” humor. By acting as if he were gay and drunk, instead of stereotypically self-assured and heroic, Depp is able to prevent what could easily be the cheesiest movie ever made. An important part of this movie’s success is the ability of the actors to not take their characters so seriously, but instead portray them as exaggerations of themselves. Nothing in this movie is realistic, but that is where the beauty, and humor, lies.
In addition to the characters, the special effect and costume details are fantastic. In a world of make believe, it is crucial that the details of the settings, costumes, and special effects do not detract from the fantasy. For this movie in particular, everything must seem realistic, but not so much as to be overly scary, and not so little that the movie seems completely ridiculous. Luckily, the film achieves a happy medium between reality and fantasy. Particularly extraordinary is the crew of Davy Jones’ ship, which is comprised of men who have lost their souls and are slowly becoming a part of the sea. While these half men, half sea creatures are . . . well, disgusting (there was an audible gasp in the theater when they first appeared on screen), they are still outrageous enough to be worth looking at. Besides, had the shipmen been any more human, they may have been too repulsive to watch.
The movie as a whole is very good (with many in the packed theater literally sitting on the edge of their seats), but there are a few minor flaws. Most notably, at nearly two and a half hours, this is a long movie. And since there will probably be a lot of kids in the theater if you see it, be prepared for them to start making some noise. Plus, there is going to be a third movie in the series, so there was no traditional conclusion to wrap everything together nicely. Thus, there were times when the movie felt as if it would continue forever. I kept waiting for a resolution which was not coming. In addition to the length, the movie is too reliant on people having seen (and remembered) the first movie. I saw the first movie, but only once. Even though I reviewed the plot before the movie, there were still quite a few times that I was confused about the plot. However, the faults were minor in comparison to this great movie’s merits. The show was funny, intelligent, entertaining, and most importantly, has finally made Johnny Depp into a god.