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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Film Three Stars

How can you review Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest when it follows one of the best blockbusters we've had in a very long time, features a widely loved actor performing an even wider known and loved character and features in the Top 250 films of all time? It's tough but I'm going to and I'm not going to even consider its pedigree.

So here's the review, and feel free to comment, I think you probably will find a lot to comment on this one!

POTCDeadMansChest_Poster.jpgHuge thanks to Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema for the assistance in seeing this movie. The staff are superb, as are my favourite hotdogs!

So, what about Dead Man's Chest? First let me say where I stand on the first film, I really did like enjoy it. The characters were great, action and adventure were high, and there was a lot of attention paid to the script - something I wasn't quite expecting with a film based on a reportedly poor amusement ride.

That aside I really don't think that the sequel lived up to the first film, and in one huge way. There was no pay off. Sure, throughout the film there are situations that get resolved, but the whole film is one big build up to something that never happens. Dead Man's Chest is the equivalent of the first half of any other movie.

Characters are developed, situations created, tension and conflict brought to the fore, and then? Well, then the film ends on hanging climaxes and revelations. As someone else who say it said to me, "it's like an episode of a TV show - it's like an episode of Lost"…although it's a lot longer.

However, that said, it was an enjoyable action filled adventure yarn. There are many set pieces and the film keeps them coming at you, there's often not much time to relax between them. There are a couple of action scenes in particular that you just know have been created to show off the new ride.

Throughout there's that continuing good natured sense of humour, something that made me love the Musketeer movies so much, those that featured Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and Michael York. They have this same feeling of fun and swashbuckling adventure all packed up in one, and they work brilliantly.

I didn't think that Captain Jack Sparrow was as strong as in the first film, all in all there were three real one liners that caught me, and these were all in the trailer. For the rest of the film something seemed to be missing, he seemed to not be so sharp and dangerous with his comments. He would either be very flippant and playing it all for laughs, or a serious side would creep in a little. However in this movie it was very hard to like the character, although you laughed with him, some of his actions and decisions made it very hard to like him indeed.

That said, the entire cast were superb in the film, just because this Sparrow didn't live up to the Sparrow of the first film does not mean he wasn't superbly played. Jack Davenport deserves a particular mention as I've always thought of him as playing the same character time and time again, of him being quite flat. However for the first time I've seem him act with a good depth and bring forth some really strong emotions and his usually stilted and slightly awkward style is gone. He really does deserve to be up with this class of actor and film now.

Depp, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Mackenzie Crook, Stellan Skarsgård and Davenport were perhaps the strongest performances in the movie. Nighy did a superb job beneath that CGI, and Crook showed us an excellent performance and reminded us why he should be on film. His timing and facial expressions are excellent and driving the comedy home.

Talking of the CGI, the effects in the film are stunning and totally flawless. I wholly believed in the world that we were being shown, there wasn't a second that I didn't doubt that this was reality. None of it was over done and too polished, it was all very real. I think this is down to those effects teams who mix models, mock-ups and CGI all together, fooling the eye into believing all is real and blurring the line where the CGI takes over.

I was surprised at how scary and intense some scenes were. Despite the film being a 12A, there were a fair number of younger children in the audience, one even still in their nappies! Whoever was there though, they all left before the end of the film. Rather unfortunate that was considering the final scene at the end of the credits.

Actually, considering the scenes that arrived just before the credits appeared, the final scene is nothing important, and you could say that they missed nothing at all. It's worth noting though that if you do stay, you'll see a closing scene.

Overall I would say that this is an exciting, adventurous piece of entertainment, but it's not as strong as the first. The fact that the entire movie is a setup for the next movie does take away from what this could have been. If there had been some resolution and pay off for the audience on some of the main plot then it could have been called a movie in itself, but it's not, it's a build up or an episode.

The performances are great, and combined with amazing sets, stunning locations, and some of the strongest effects I've seen, it does make for wondrous eye candy. The sound is pretty strong too.

So I can't say the film is poor, but it is a step down from the first. It really is here to gear us up for the (possible) final story though, and that I'm sure will gain far better scores than this one.

The Break-Up
I had no interest in seeing this film, for me it felt like a set-up from day one. Jennifer Aniston in a romantic comedy with Vince Vaughn, who amazingly she falls for in real life. Oh sweet lord. Yet here's the first time that I really saw the trailer and what can I say, I laughed out loud and it warmed me. I hate to say it, but I might actually go and see it. Note that since seeing this trailer I've been reminded of the washing up line again and again!

Miami Vice
Well kill me now, I've seen this a few times and talked about it before and I'm starting to like it. Maybe it was the effect of seeing The Break-Up trailer. Forgetting everything we've heard before, and distancing ourselves from the idea of the TV show, the trailers are looking really, really strong.

Superman Returns
Well, as I've said before. I'm starting to reach saturation point on this. It's fantastically shiny and clean. My girlfriend said something poignant after it, she said "it's the music that makes it". Exactly. Take the music away from that and it loses so much, so I wonder if the film will follow that same way?

Well it looks great and the animation looks wonderful. There are cool characters in the cars and it's a great concept, but is it going to be any more than just a series of car jokes over the top of Doc Hollywood animated remake?

Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest



I am lost. You said in a previous post that your review of this flm will create a controversy, and to me that meant you will go against the flow of giving this film the thumbs up but it's 4 stars! I am confused!

Well it was a three...and then I republished...I've been going back and forth for ages. I might put it back to a three actually.

So are you saying you agree with the comments about it just being an intro without any pay off?

Yes, actually I am making that a three!

I actually havent seen it yet Richard. ;-)

But your last comment about your review possibly causing dissent and controversy gave me the impression that unlike the rest of the world who cant seem to find faults with it, you are not going to be swayed and give an objective review, which you have but of course didnt quite look like it by giving it a 4 stars.

This recanting of 4 stars to 3 sounds like being in an inquisition! LOL

Well the stars are a rough guide, it was the write up that was the more controversial bit.

I just struggled there, for the first time ever, with the five star system. However the fact that there is no payoff and it's merely a build up for the third made me sway back.

Nice review Richard. I agree with your review, the movie is complete build up to the third installment, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I had a lot of fun with this movie and unlike you and others I loved Cap Jack in the movie. I know, he's not your typical likable character with his actions, but that's exactly what I liked! I wanted the pirate scoundrel and that's what we got.

I'm going to see it again this weekend and will likely enjoy the rollcoaster of a movie just as much as the first time.

Lastly, that very last scene after the credits - eh - it was kind of a let down. Sure, it was cute, but I guess I was just expecting something different. It's definitely not as good as the after credit scene of the first one.

Just came back from watching this summer blockbuster and only 3 things was its saving grace for me;

1. Johnny Depp
2. Bill Nighy
3. ILM's special effects

I saw it with a friend who is so gaga over Depp and we both agreed that if it hadnt been for Depp's amazing performance this film will fall flat, but it was fun nonetheless. I am happy for Tom Hollander (as Lord Cutler Beckett), I do hope he gets a lot of film offers after this one.

omg omg i luv pirates of the caribbean im 13 n all ma friends recon im obsessed wif it which i am ma whole room is full of posters n bed cover n i got all dis stuff from it when i get older i want to be an actress and i whant to be in pirates of the caribbean my favorite actor is johhny depp because its amazing how he can play willy wonka 2 captin jack sparrow he is da best actor ever i really would love to meet him. i want to be sucsesful just like him. if it wasnt for johhny depp i would of given up of acheiving my dream because im not good at maths and my maths teacher always tell me im going to get nowhere in life by droping ouyt in year 10 and being bad at maths but i love acting its my dream i want to be a famous actress i want to star in a movie with johnny depp.


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