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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.4%
Worth A Look31.22%
Average: 20.63%
Pretty Bad: 19.58%
Total Crap: 12.17%

14 reviews, 105 user ratings

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
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by Erik Childress

"Does Anyone Remember Laughter? And Fun? And Great Times At The Movies?"
4 stars

How great was that surprise back in 2003? We got a pirate movie, which seemed all but extinct after Cutthroat Island, based on a freakiní carnival ride and it was fantastic! It had a solid screenplay filled with laughs and rousing action all wrapped around a performance by Johnny Depp which finally woke up millions of moviegoers unaware that heís been one of the best and most creative actors out there for over a decade. $300 million later and the whole crew is back to round out the one-time fluke into a full-fledged trilogy. And Iím pleased to announce that Dead Manís Chest, while being a classic ďmiddleĒ film delivers as much excitement and ingenuity you could hope for to outclass hundreds of summer popcorn fare.

Picking up not long after the original, lovers Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) have their wedding rudely interrupted by Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), head of the East India Trading Co. Heís come to rectify the convenient pardon of the blacksmith-turned-pirate by offering him the choice of tracking down Jack Sparrow (Depp) or the gallows. Itís not just the rum-loviní sailor he wants though. He believes Jack may hold the key to finding the long-lost chest of Davy Jones, or at least know where the key is.

Sparrow, meanwhile commandeering his beloved Black Pearl, is visited by an old friend who once went under the name of ďBootstrapĒ (Stellan SkarsgŚrd). Willís father reminds Jack of the blood oath he owes to one Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), who presides over another crew of the undead; forced to years of servitude on a submerging ship where they become one with life under the sea. The key to freedom lies with whatever resides in that chest and it becomes a race for everyone to find that key, find that chest and find that for every good intention thereís a sinister one just lurking inside each character.

Dead Manís Chest plays very much like the bridging chapter that it clearly is. Thereís a lot of plot to get out of the way which may have some audiences wondering where the action is and fueling the misshapen complaints over the filmsí epic running times. (Both are about ten minutes shorter than reported if you lop off the end credits.) With so many storylines competing and the various motivations of the characters, Dead Manís Chest does demand your attention and the experience becomes its own reward and then some as it slowly comes to fruition the extraordinary potential the final chapter has going for it next summer.

Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, the team behind such fantasy favorites as Aladdin, Shrek and The Mask of Zorro, arenít just going through the motions with the sequel (even if some of the throwback lines do produce a groan or two.) While itís utterly impossible to capture the surprising sense of joy of the first film, the duo work internally this time out to throw our expectations of the characters on full tilt. Deppís Sparrow is still a goof just one camp experience away from a Queer Eye episode, but his scoundrel tendencies get a makeover that any act of heroism may not be redemptive enough. Itís a fascinating choice to take such a beloved character and then remind us just how self-absorbed his intentions are. One action scene is so cleverly constructed that it somehow manages to juggle seven main characters (not to mention Davy Jonesí crew) and role reversals on top of betrayals thatís guaranteed to make your head spin along with the runaway mill wheel they stand upon.

Itís not safe to call the film ďaction-packedĒ when it goes nearly 100 minutes with only one major set piece to its credit. But those set pieces are so masterfully constructed that they feel twice as long for the amount of excitement they pack into them. A hilarious escape from cannibals, the aforementioned mill wheel and multiple encounters with a giant ocean beast donít just recall a throwback to Errol Flynn and Disney adventures like 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea but provide us with a legitimate heir to the Indiana Jones series after so many impatient (and moronic) junketeers have tried to sell us on junk like Sahara and National Treasure (coincidentally another Jerry Bruckheimer production.)

Apples and oranges they may be, but this summer is about to turn into the ďSuperman vs. PiratesĒ debate and not just at the box office. Both are two-and-a-half hour extravaganzas with celebrated protagonists (one nostalgic; one modern) and its fans are going to be very vocal in tearing down one while singing the praises of the other. Superman Returns may have aspired to emotions, relationships and characters over action yet failed to satisfy either faction. Pirates is, for lack of a better term, a ride to be certain. But a mere action spectacular has been turned into something greater by Rossio, Elliott and director Gore Verbinski who has quickly established himself into one of the most versatile and skilled directors working today after such varied projects as Mouse Hunt, The Ring (remake) and The Weather Man. Dead Manís Chest certainly isnít as comical as the original (despite having maybe the funniest moment between the two with a caged monkey) but it does have the characters, the relationships and maybe even an emotion or two to compliment the grandiose action and vice versa. I donít mean to knock down Superman any more pegs than I already have, but anyone saying with a straight face that Pirates is just mindless fodder while the former achieves some grander sense of poignancy, needs to be sunk about 20,001 leagues themselves to truly discover what depth actually is.

As is often the case, the filmmakers are almost in a no-win situation with their running time. At 151 minutes (really about 140), itís considered bloated while at their desired 100 minutes would, no doubt, received criticism for non-fleshed characters and a slapped together storyline. By no means is Dead Manís Chest a perfect film. Its plot does convolute all over itself at times and there are enough questions to distract us from the shifting objectives of characters, new and old. One particular inconsistency is liable to nag at fans of the original from nearly the very beginning (and why none of the characters pick up on it enough to ask themselves is a glaring flaw.) However, by the end, thereís enough faith that Rossio & Elliott will answer that question almost immediately during Worldís End after a multi-tier cliffhanger (beginning with an image of Jack Sparrow that should live on in adventure history for centuries) that wonít frustrate and anger audiences craving conclusion but have them giddily excited for what could possibly be in store for them next Summer.

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originally posted: 07/06/06 23:31:46
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User Comments

2/24/09 Chris Whoever wrote the review at the top has no idea what they're talking about. 5 stars
1/21/09 Anonymous. the worst of the trilogy, disappointing. :/ 3 stars
1/15/09 Shaun Wallner Depp is a great actor. 5 stars
12/01/08 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
6/02/08 R.W. Welch Overdone, overbroad, and overlong. 2 stars
1/05/08 Pamela White vague plot but effects make it interesting 3 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss 2nd film of trilogy was SO hokey and Disneyed up. Waste of film. 1 stars
6/17/07 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
5/17/07 carlie beautiful movie!!!! i love piratres of the caribbean !!!! and i have the book!!! super 5 stars
4/27/07 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
1/19/07 movieman great movie 5 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie! Very good, had just as much momentum as the first. Entertaining and fun. 5 stars
12/29/06 Samantha Fields I love pirates of the caribbean 1 & 2 , its funny and can be scary !!! 5 stars
12/27/06 Keelie liked it... ending couldve been better but i think it is much clearer now.... 4 stars
12/26/06 bullit16 Seriously? You're kidding, right? 2 stars
12/18/06 Thealizia The scene were they were were fighting on the wheel was over dramatic 2 stars
12/15/06 Charles Tatum On par with the original, Depp steals his scenes again 4 stars
12/08/06 Ron Better than the first 4 stars
12/06/06 Dude Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 5 stars
11/23/06 Austin Wertman BETTER THAN THE FIRST 5 stars
11/15/06 reena wful, just awful. arbitrary events dont make a good movie... 1 stars
11/14/06 gracie this was th best movie ever. you suck! 5 stars
10/25/06 Drew G Good sequel to a great movie 4 stars
10/17/06 David Very disappointing 2 stars
10/14/06 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
9/26/06 Kayla I love this movie so much! The first one was better but even that one had its ups and downs 5 stars
9/22/06 JohnnyFaye I love reading peoples far fetched "I hate" reasons for this movie...haha It's a sweetmovie 5 stars
9/21/06 Pritchett The first one sucked and so does this one. 1 stars
9/17/06 ad lengthy 3 stars
9/14/06 Mara Frost Once again, Johnny Depp is great! Also fun stunts and creature makeup. 5 stars
9/13/06 Agent Sands A disappointment, with perhaps 2 entertaining scenes. 3 stars
9/07/06 bosh not really 2 stars
9/04/06 Ricardo very entertaining 5 stars
9/03/06 Christopher Stucky Didn't expect much, but really liked it... just like the first one. 4 stars
9/02/06 van zwaar ...yarr 2 stars
8/24/06 Chad Thomas Johnny Depp is great! 4 stars
8/22/06 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
8/07/06 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
8/05/06 TiGrBaLm Fast paced, action packed, John Sparrow ROCKS 4 stars
8/04/06 sulman mahmood good 4 stars
8/03/06 Sarah W totally awesome johnny depp was great!!!!! 5 stars
8/03/06 Mike V Too long but a lot of fun....It's Depp...enough said. 4 stars
8/02/06 Mase IF you liked the first you will probably like this, if not tedious and boring. 2 stars
7/30/06 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
7/28/06 dj way too long!!! And there is no ending!! 2 stars
7/26/06 Quigley an awesome sequel that has some problems, but I ain't complaining. Depp is the man; see it 5 stars
7/25/06 jess Totally awesome! 5 stars
7/25/06 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
7/24/06 malcolm near perfect blend of action/comedy, but really just half a movie 4 stars
7/23/06 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
7/21/06 michaelb1478 a little overlong but still a fun movie 4 stars
7/21/06 Elizabeth S Some clever humorous action, but needs a major edit. 3 stars
7/20/06 ahnold Just another movie w/2 much action and no compelling plot 2 stars
7/20/06 Butt No treasure in this chest 2 stars
7/20/06 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
7/15/06 Evil Wolfie Slightly less good then the first. 4 stars
7/15/06 MP Bartley Overstuffed, disjointed and silly, but still a giddily fun time. 4 stars
7/15/06 robo it does suck quite badly 2 stars
7/14/06 Somebody people who give it less than 5 stars are just too picky! 5 stars
7/14/06 Stanley Thai Better than the first but it's just too long. 4 stars
7/14/06 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
7/13/06 Agent Sands Way too long, disorganized, too many dead animals. Only 2 good scenes in the whole movie. 3 stars
7/13/06 Dan great movie to see 5 stars
7/13/06 Captain Highcrime Found myself wanting to hear the "Benny Hill" theme during some of sillier set-pieces 3 stars
7/12/06 Vicious Fun over-all, but it seemed to lack focus. 4 stars
7/12/06 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
7/11/06 hooplah could have used about 20 minutes of trimming and it'd be about perfect 4 stars
7/11/06 Kaitlin Reynolds I thought it was very long, confusing and hard to keep up with. 3 stars
7/11/06 Mike Fairly boring, way too long. Blah 2 stars
7/11/06 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
7/10/06 Richard Green Frequently tiresome, not all that funny. 3 stars
7/10/06 Doug Eh. 3 stars
7/10/06 John Doesn't have legs to stand on it's own. 2 stars
7/10/06 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
7/09/06 Mo Better than the first one 5 stars
7/08/06 Jon Gets pretty repetitive an dull 1 stars
7/08/06 Roy Started off great but then I got bored 3 stars
7/08/06 KingNeutron Only movie this year I'll see more than once. STAY4CREDITS 4 stars
7/08/06 Jambi I still can't believe people actually liked the first pile of mediocrity. 2 stars
7/08/06 Gerry Irons Very Silly 2 stars
7/07/06 asina started out weak, but REALLY picked up by the end. 4 stars
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  07-Jul-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006

  06-Jul-2006 (12A)

  06-Jul-2006 (M)

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