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Overall Rating
3.2

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 Justin Helmer

"Keeps to the Code"
4 stars

The old axiom, ďItís the singer, not the song,Ē has rarely been truer than in this sequel to 2003ís surprise blockbuster hit. There is a temptation to lay all the success at the feet of Johnny Depp, yet the fact remains: pull any of the threads on this particular puffy-shirt and it would almost certainly unravel. The story is pure boilerplateólifting joyously from all the various works in this genre and others that have come beforeóand I think, then, it must be the joy that separates these efforts and puts them a cut above.

So, letís talk about the story, picking up where we last left these characters at the end of the first movie. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is arrested literally on the way to his wedding to Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley) for, you guessed it, helping our loveable Captain Jack Sparrow escape justice. It seems there is a new Sheriff in town, one Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) and he is a mustache-twirling baddie in the finest Snidely Whiplash tradition. It isnít long before half the cast of the original movie ends up clapped in irons awaiting a Ďshort drop and a quick stopí at the gallows. Meanwhile, Will makes a devilís deal with Cutler to save his wife-to-be from death by bringing Jack, and more specifically Jackís magical compass, back to Cutler.

This is certainly a whole bunch of plot for a summer actioner, and it all flies straight at you almost too fast to catch your breath. If you havenít seen Curse of the Black Pearl, donít expect an easy time of it because the first whole section of the movie concerns itself with shit that has already happened in the most oblique way possible.

Jack, meantime, has his own full set of problems to deal with; it seems our man has an outstanding debt to the seaís biggest baddest badass of them all: Davy Jones (Bill Nighy and a whole bunch of computers). Looking like Cthulhu mated with hellís own surf-and-turf special, this character represents another leap forward in digital performance. Make no mistake, it is still Nighy that is steering the ship, but for the first time that I can think of, the digital enhancement is actually absolutely essential to the actorís character choices.

Thirteen years ago, Jack sold his soul to Davy Jones in order to become captain of the Black Pearl, and who should show up to call in the debt? Bootstrap Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgard and a Starfish) himself, Willís long-lost father who apparently made a deal of his own to escape death at the hands of Captain Barbosa and Jackís mutinous crew. (See above in re: needing to see the first film.) Jack ends up promising to get the souls of ninety-nine seamen for Jones in order to satisfy his debt. He sails back to Tortuga and pulls together a crew of new and old faces (some of which are nice little surprises) including Elizabeth, who by this time has escaped from the prison on Port Royal and gone off to rescue Will and bring back the humpty-hump compass.

Jack, being Jack, almost immediately begins double- and triple-crossing everyone in sight, and the screenwriters at this point see fit to throw two more macguffins into the mix in the form of a trunk that holds Davey Jonesís heart and the key that unlocks it. Oh, and then thereís the Kraken thatís chasing Jack and indiscriminately eating ships along the way. The movie weighs in at a hefty two hour-and-thirty-minute running time, which is all just a grandiose setup for Pirates of the Caribbean: at Worlds End which is already in the can having been shot concurrently with this sequel.

All of this is carried along by the buoyancy of the performances. Almost to a person, the cast feels like they could easily be out of place in a big splash-tastic summer thrill ride. With the notable exception of Orlando Bloomís Will, who feels dangerously close to becoming a part of the set at times, having discovered his acting kit of the five most useful expressions.

Here is where people will come to differ on this movie. Is it too much of a good thing? I say no, although just barely. When the last trick had been turned and the credits rolled, my very first reaction was: It needed to lose at least one, or maybe even two, sub-plots and about fifteen-to-twenty minutes of running time. It felt like I had been sitting at a table gorging myself on rich food while unseen hands kept pushing more in my direction. My wife, however, didnít notice anything thing of the kind, and when the end came she was looking for more. In any case, you will certainly get your moneyís worth and possibly even a bit beyond what you were looking for.

In the end, I came to the conclusion that, as I said before, pull any one thread and the whole would become less than the sum of its parts. There still might have been judicious cutting done within certain action set pieces, but then again, whatís the fun of a big summer meal if you donít eat yourself stupid? I certainly didnít feel cheated and am looking forward to next summerís conclusion wholeheartedly.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14738&reviewer=315
originally posted: 07/10/06 14:27:20
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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
10/13/08 PAUL SHORTT A PATCHY AND OVERLONG SEQUEL, BUT STILL FULL OF HUMOUR AND TOP NOTCH ACTION 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
1/11/07 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
12/29/06 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
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)



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