"I pinned my hopes of a good blockbuster on this movie. Boy was I wrong."
Summer is supposed to be for blockbusters. Nothing so far has earned that right in my book. Mission Impossible III felt like two Alias episodes in one. The Da Vinci Code was like reading the book on screen. X-Men III was missing Bryan Singer. Superman had Bryan Singer but it took too long to get to the point. So I pinned all my hopes and dreams of a good old-fashioned summer blockbuster on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manís Chest.
And boy was I wrong.Summer is supposed to be for blockbusters. Nothing so far has earned that right in my book. Mission Impossible III felt like two Alias episodes in one. The Da Vinci Code was like reading the book on screen. X-Men III was missing Bryan Singer. Superman had Bryan Singer but it took too long to get to the point. So I pinned all my hopes and dreams of a good old-fashioned summer blockbuster on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manís Chest.
And boy was I wrong.
Dead Manís Chest meets our three protagonists a bit where they left off. Captain Jack (Johnny Depp) is sailing on the seas in the Black Pearl. But his time on the ship is limited. Captian Jack bartered off his soul to Davy Jones of the Flying Dutchman. And now it is time to pay up.
Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) are about to get married. But Elizabeth and Willís wedding is cut short when they are arrested by Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) for aiding and abetting a pirate, Captain Jack. In order to escape the death sentence this action carries Elizabeth and Will must find Captain Jack and relieve him of a magic compass that Lord Beckett desperately wants.
And so the convoluted story begins. Captain Jack tries to run away from Davy Jones. Will and Elizabeth (for some reason separately) set off after Captain Jack. And then 2 Ĺ hours of screen time go by with nothing really happening.
When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl came out I was skeptical about a movie based on a Disney ride. But it was a fun carefree surprise. Dead Manís Chest is the exact opposite. Nothing ever gets going.
First there is the story. Or rather the lack of one. The characters run around for almost three hours and accomplish little. Oh there are nice little side trips. Captain Jack gets stranded on an island and worshiped as a god. The whole gang visits a voodoo priestess (Naomie Harris) for advice on how to escape Davy Jones. But in the end it is almost as if this movie is one large set up for the third installment coming next summer.
Well lack of story can be forgiven if parts are at least funny. But there is no saving grace in this either. The characters are bogged down by speeches of dialog written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio that are far from witty. Orlando Bloom is forced to constantly lament about his lost father. Kiera Knightley can only talk about the man she loves. And Johnny Depp staggers about looking bored with nothing remarkable to say. The excellent supporting characters of Bill Nighy as Davy Jones, Tom Hollander as Lord Becket and Jonathan Pryce as Elizabethís father are put to little use. Joke can be seen coming a mile away and by the time the punch line is delivered you forget to laugh.
Perhaps the places where director Gore Verbinski is on solid ground are the special effects and action sequences. Davy Jones and his crew are transformed by computer-generated images to look convincingly as if they are becoming part of the sea. So convincingly that a squeamish audience member may have to look away. Davy Jones has the head of an octopus and his crewmates are covered in barnacles, seaweed and the like. But the actor can still be seen underneath. The special effects enhance scenes and give them gravity they wouldnít have otherwise. The sea monster of Davy Jonesís, The Kraken is a sight to behold.
The action sequences are fun as well. This is a Jerry Bruckheimer film and lives up to that moniker. Kiera Knightley manages to tear the hell out of a bar. And watching Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Jack Davenport (as Commodore James Norrington) have a three-way sword fight while inside and on top of a giant wooden wheel is entertaining and would make a great amusement park ride. But it doesn't make a great plot.
Dead Manís Chest ends with a cliffhanger that pretty much guarantees everyone who sees it will third installment next summer. I will probably be one of them. If for no other reason to find a redeeming reason for why the second installment was made.But in the end it is almost as if this movie is one large set up for the third installment coming next summer.