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Overall Rating
3.2

Awesome: 16.4%
Worth A Look31.22%
Just Average: 20.63%
Pretty Crappy: 19.58%
Sucks: 12.17%

14 reviews, 105 user ratings


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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
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by brianorndorf

"Yo Ho, Ho Hum"
3 stars

Captain Jack Sparrow returns for more pirate adventures in “Dead Man’s Chest,” but fails to bring along the excitement that made the original “Pirates of the Caribbean” such a treat. “Chest” is so busy trying to explain its muddy plot that it squeezes out the merriment of the high seas, and reduces Johnny Depp to tedious caricature.

When Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) learns his blood debt to the infamous pirate of the ocean Davy Jones (a wonderful Bill Nighy, somewhere under heavy CGI) is being called in, he looks to duck his promise and find a way to break the oath. Also trying to track Jack down is his old partner Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who must locate Jack’s magical compass to help free his bride-to-be, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), from prison. As Jones and his evil aquatic minion hunt the waters searching for their prize, Will finds his father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) is in dire straights; Elizabeth meets her pirate destiny; James Norrington (Jack Davenport) thirsts for revenge; and Jack quests for a special chest that contains his only chance for freedom.

The success of 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” was found in its gonzo Saturday matinee appeal. Determined to keep itself as frothy as possible and as thrilling as summer entertainment allows, “Black Pearl” was an enormous, and unexpected, sensation at the box office. More importantly, it made audiences slap-happy again with the idea of seeing pirates onscreen.

“Dead Man’s Chest” is the hotly anticipated second installment (a third, “World’s End,” is due next May), and it gives the audience what it wants, but this time the attitude feels deflated, and the end product lacks a good sense of rum-drunk playfulness.

“Black Pearl” had a stealth appeal to it that was irresistible: audiences weren’t expecting quality from a movie based on a theme park ride, they didn’t believe a pirate movie could be so richly pleasurable, and nobody had seen Johnny Depp take such a mainstream acting risk before. That sparkling element of surprise helped the film hurdle some serious comedy problems and third act pacing issues. “Chest” launches itself under intense expectations, and you can sense the production is now wary of taking on any new gambles with this enormously budgeted sequel.

Director Gore Verbinsky is more than happy to dish out additional Jack Sparrow escapades, and for the most part, this is a slick motion picture. Using his bottomless buckets of money to dream up sophisticated action set pieces for his characters to tumble around in, “Chest” is spectacular when the adventure goes huge. For instance, not only do Jack, Will, and Norrington finally have their much-anticipated battle of wits and steel, they just happen to be clashing on top of a gigantic rolling water wheel, scrambling to keep their balance as they truck down a jungle mountainside. Also great fun is the Kraken: Davy Jones’s monster squid-like “pet” that inhales entire ships in one gulp on command. Verbinski devotes nearly 30 minutes to fighting this beast, but it’s worth the excessive screen time; it’s an astounding sea creature special effect and the film’s one viable threat (out of far too many) to our heroes.

Filming sequels back-to-back always seems to freak out filmmakers, pushing them to cram in enormous story lines (look to the “Matrix” and “Back to the Future” films for further proof of this phenomenon) out of fear there’s not enough to sustain two movies. “Dead Man’s Chest” is no exception. In retrospect, “Black Pearl” felt simplistic and easygoing, while the sequel seems leaden and distended by the sprawling story it wants to tell. “Chest” spends an inordinate and punishing amount of time with expository dialog, stealing the life from the characterizations, and leaving little room to play outside of the requisite massive action sequences. Things are so suffocating and knotty, Verbinski stops the film mid-way to afford pirate scallywags Pintel and Ragetti the chance to explain the plot to the weary audience.

In separating the characters this time around, “Chest” is not lacking diverse plotlines, but it has difficulty keeping the story in sync, forgetting to make room for organic joviality and some snappy patter between characters. The picture starts to wear down with each new plot twist, and it’s hard to ignore that no matter how fancy and thoroughly realized the new characters are (Davy’s sea-encrusted thugs are something to behold), the story has the tendency to come off as a droning rehash of the first film.

Whenever “Black Pearl” stalled, it had Johnny Depp to kick on the lights again. In “Chest,” Depp’s playfulness is amped considerably, but so is his self-awareness. It’s still a mischievous, jolly bit of acting, and Depp appreciates what people want from his performance; however, he rings the bell one too many times. Sparrow hasn’t worn out his welcome yet, but Depp teeters on self-parody at times, almost coming off as a class clown Jack Sparrow impression rather than the real thing that electrified the first film.

Faring much better is Keira Knightley, here given the most substantial growth of the three leads. In “Chest,” Swann gets her prized moment to join up with the pirates, and with it is born a more impassioned and assured performance from the actress. While the boys slosh around in their established personalities, Knightley gets to play it all: sexy, feisty, and heroic.

As “Chest” heads into the final lap of its 150-minute running time, Verbinsky lets the action take the reigns for an extended climax that serves more as an elaborate set up for the next film than a satisfying closure to this one.

Suffice it to say, the last shot of “Dead Man’s Chest” is absolutely killer – we’re talking a “Batman Begins” level of sweetness - and blows the door wide open for “World’s End” to ditch the unmanageable plot wrangling and return this franchise to the flume ride exuberance it once had.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14738&reviewer=404
originally posted: 07/06/06 19:40:44
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User Comments

2/23/09 Chris Whoever wrote the review at the top has no idea what they're talking about. 5 stars
1/20/09 Anonymous. the worst of the trilogy, disappointing. :/ 3 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner Depp is a great actor. 5 stars
11/30/08 Roz Not as good as the first. Plot was an absolute mess. 3 stars
11/30/08 noops.... had grt expectations frm this but disappointed... 3 stars
10/13/08 PAUL SHORTT A PATCHY AND OVERLONG SEQUEL, BUT STILL FULL OF HUMOUR AND TOP NOTCH ACTION 3 stars
6/01/08 R.W. Welch Overdone, overbroad, and overlong. 2 stars
1/04/08 Pamela White vague plot but effects make it interesting 3 stars
8/12/07 Annonomiss 2nd film of trilogy was SO hokey and Disneyed up. Waste of film. 1 stars
6/16/07 Tiffany Losco awesome, loved it. Johnny depp great sexy 5 stars
5/31/07 Ionicera better than the reviews led me to believe 4 stars
5/24/07 Tracey Chambers good movie, but I was exhausted when it was over 3 stars
5/24/07 runes one way, way too many plotlines...even the dog got a plotline...wack!? 1 stars
5/16/07 carlie beautiful movie!!!! i love piratres of the caribbean !!!! and i have the book!!! super 5 stars
4/26/07 Sharlatan the 1st was wicked wtf happened the dog moment and cage swing ws only good bits nothtfunny 2 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK Twice as long and half as good as the original. thank god that Mr Depp saves the day. 3 stars
1/18/07 movieman great movie 5 stars
1/10/07 NANCY YANG WAYYY...... MUCH BETTER THAN THE FIRSST ONE 5 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie! Very good, had just as much momentum as the first. Entertaining and fun. 5 stars
12/28/06 Samantha Fields I love pirates of the caribbean 1 & 2 , its funny and can be scary !!! 5 stars
12/26/06 Keelie liked it... ending couldve been better but i think it is much clearer now.... 4 stars
12/25/06 bullit16 Seriously? You're kidding, right? 2 stars
12/17/06 Thealizia The scene were they were were fighting on the wheel was over dramatic 2 stars
12/14/06 Charles Tatum On par with the original, Depp steals his scenes again 4 stars
12/07/06 Ron Better than the first 4 stars
12/05/06 Dude Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 5 stars
11/22/06 Austin Wertman BETTER THAN THE FIRST 5 stars
11/14/06 reena wful, just awful. arbitrary events dont make a good movie... 1 stars
11/13/06 gracie this was th best movie ever. you suck! 5 stars
10/24/06 Drew G Good sequel to a great movie 4 stars
10/16/06 David Very disappointing 2 stars
10/13/06 Helen Cannot be missed! Savvy? 5 stars
9/28/06 ES A movie worse than the first one, now that's quite a feat 1 stars
9/25/06 Kayla I love this movie so much! The first one was better but even that one had its ups and downs 5 stars
9/21/06 JohnnyFaye I love reading peoples far fetched "I hate" reasons for this movie...haha It's a sweetmovie 5 stars
9/20/06 Pritchett The first one sucked and so does this one. 1 stars
9/16/06 ad lengthy 3 stars
9/13/06 Mara Frost Once again, Johnny Depp is great! Also fun stunts and creature makeup. 5 stars
9/12/06 Agent Sands A disappointment, with perhaps 2 entertaining scenes. 3 stars
9/06/06 bosh not really 2 stars
9/04/06 Ricardo very entertaining 5 stars
9/02/06 Christopher Stucky Didn't expect much, but really liked it... just like the first one. 4 stars
9/01/06 van zwaar ...yarr 2 stars
8/23/06 Chad Thomas Johnny Depp is great! 4 stars
8/21/06 G Sherfy Projector died at the end of the movie; I wasn't disappointed to miss the last 5 minutes. 3 stars
8/13/06 George This is movie is kinda lame 3 stars
8/06/06 Vincent Costa Entertaining 3 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant 15 Minutes in and I was wishing I was watching 'Superman Returns' again. Flaccid follow-up. 2 stars
8/04/06 TiGrBaLm Fast paced, action packed, John Sparrow ROCKS 4 stars
8/03/06 sulman mahmood good 4 stars
8/03/06 Sarah W totally awesome johnny depp was great!!!!! 5 stars
8/02/06 Mike V Too long but a lot of fun....It's Depp...enough said. 4 stars
8/01/06 Mase IF you liked the first you will probably like this, if not tedious and boring. 2 stars
7/29/06 ls All the things that made part 1 good are missing. Part 3 is gonna get downloaded 2 stars
7/29/06 Troy M. Grzych Action sequences were too long and drawn out. Visuals were cool. Movie slow. 4 stars
7/29/06 ahnold All visual. No plot. Nothing compelling. What's happened in hollywood? 1 stars
7/27/06 dj way too long!!! And there is no ending!! 2 stars
7/25/06 Quigley an awesome sequel that has some problems, but I ain't complaining. Depp is the man; see it 5 stars
7/24/06 jess Totally awesome! 5 stars
7/24/06 pin transition film, loose and disappointing. Will still see III 3 stars
7/24/06 Joyce Verhoeven For everyone whom has not seen this movie, watch it, because this movie is super 5 stars
7/23/06 malcolm near perfect blend of action/comedy, but really just half a movie 4 stars
7/22/06 Koitus Keira looked great; hard to understand Voodoo woman; suspicious ending! 3 stars
7/22/06 Agent Sands The 2 action sequences on islands were the only good parts of the movie. 3 stars
7/20/06 michaelb1478 a little overlong but still a fun movie 4 stars
7/20/06 Elizabeth S Some clever humorous action, but needs a major edit. 3 stars
7/19/06 ahnold Just another movie w/2 much action and no compelling plot 2 stars
7/19/06 Butt No treasure in this chest 2 stars
7/19/06 Suzz too long; heavy on special effects; lite on with; not enough Depp 3 stars
7/19/06 Ashley It's totally awesome!!! Cannot wait for the 3rd. I love Johnny Depp! 5 stars
7/18/06 Ole Man Bourbon A lot better than I was expecting. Forgettable, but entertaining. 4 stars
7/16/06 Jim Almost as good as the original 4 stars
7/14/06 Evil Wolfie Slightly less good then the first. 4 stars
7/14/06 MP Bartley Overstuffed, disjointed and silly, but still a giddily fun time. 4 stars
7/14/06 robo it does suck quite badly 2 stars
7/13/06 Somebody people who give it less than 5 stars are just too picky! 5 stars
7/13/06 Stanley Thai Better than the first but it's just too long. 4 stars
7/13/06 Nightjorn PIRATES OF THE CRAP-A-BEAN: THE WRATH OF CTHULHU!!!!! 1 stars
7/13/06 inty utter crap 1 stars
7/13/06 EZ I can't wait for the third one!! 5 stars
7/12/06 Agent Sands Way too long, disorganized, too many dead animals. Only 2 good scenes in the whole movie. 3 stars
7/12/06 Dan great movie to see 5 stars
7/12/06 Captain Highcrime Found myself wanting to hear the "Benny Hill" theme during some of sillier set-pieces 3 stars
7/11/06 Vicious Fun over-all, but it seemed to lack focus. 4 stars
7/11/06 JM Synth Some outstanding set-pieces, but Verbinski is yet another director who lacks restraint 3 stars
7/11/06 Roy I loved the first half but then I got bored 3 stars
7/11/06 Kent S Did I see the same film? I'm sorry but I'm frustrated and angry at the "end" of this movie 2 stars
7/10/06 hooplah could have used about 20 minutes of trimming and it'd be about perfect 4 stars
7/10/06 Kaitlin Reynolds I thought it was very long, confusing and hard to keep up with. 3 stars
7/10/06 Mike Fairly boring, way too long. Blah 2 stars
7/10/06 Jean Smolen The sequel was butt numbingly boring! 1 stars
7/10/06 NoRefill Way too long. Needs about an hour cut. Watching the original again might make it funnier. 3 stars
7/09/06 Richard Green Frequently tiresome, not all that funny. 3 stars
7/09/06 Doug Eh. 3 stars
7/09/06 John Doesn't have legs to stand on it's own. 2 stars
7/09/06 Bob No plot, not funny, and about two hours too long 1 stars
7/09/06 Steve-O An over-cooked 2.5 hour setup for what will hopefully be a much more exciting third movie 3 stars
7/09/06 sully needs about1 hour of editing, Johnny Depp 4 stars 4 stars
7/08/06 Mo Better than the first one 5 stars
7/08/06 Jon Gets pretty repetitive an dull 1 stars
7/07/06 Roy Started off great but then I got bored 3 stars
7/07/06 KingNeutron Only movie this year I'll see more than once. STAY4CREDITS 4 stars
7/07/06 Jambi I still can't believe people actually liked the first pile of mediocrity. 2 stars
7/07/06 Gerry Irons Very Silly 2 stars
7/07/06 asina started out weak, but REALLY picked up by the end. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Jul-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006

UK
  06-Jul-2006 (12A)

Australia
  06-Jul-2006 (M)



[trailer] Trailer




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