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12/19/17

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST - REVIEW


After the resounding success of The Curse Of The Black Pearl, director Gore Verbinski and the original cast returned with a sequel to the Disney ride-based blockbuster franchise and it was even more successful at the box-office despite critics giving it lukewarm reviews.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest introduced audiences to a new cursed pirate crew led by octopus-faced villain Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and gave us more Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), which made sense at the time seeing how popular the character was. The plot is almost as straight-forward as the original film's with Jack, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) all somehow finding themselves at sea looking for a key and a chest in order to steal Davy Jones' disembodied heart. Simple enough to grasp in a short synopsis but in practice, this sequel increasingly juggles plot threads without actually moving things forward leaving you to wonder why the plot is stagnating. The reason for this, it would seem, was a need to pack lots of screen time with action sequences in order to end on a cliffhanger and set up the second part of the story. This is the main reason why many have criticised Dead Man's Chest since and it's an understandable gripe.

The film itself, however, certainly delivers in terms of spectacle and mindless popcorn entertainment. The aforementioned action beats are hugely ambitious, a lot of fun and beautifully choreographed. Whether it's people sword-fighting on a giant moving wheel or Jack Sparrow being turned into a human shish kebab swinging off a cliff, there's always something enjoyably cartoonish happening on screen to keep you entertained. The special effects are impressive throughout and still hold up more than 10 years later so, visually, you definitely won't be disappointed. The cast is just as endearing as it ever was, although the criminally wooden Will and Elizabeth, by that point, had already overstayed their welcome. This is Jack Sparrow's show and Depp knows it so expect him to steal each and every scene effortlessly. Had the two-part story ending with At World's End been condensed into one, we could have had a single vastly superior sequel instead of two tolerable follow-ups.

While some needlessly convoluted storytelling and shameless filler prevent this sequel from outclassing its predecessor, it remains an entertaining supernatural pirate adventure with tons of eye candy, an intimidating new villain plus some slick and often wacky set pieces.

Decent, if overlong, sequel.

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