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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
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Todd LaPlace

"Abandon ship or abandon hope."
1 stars

Let’s just cut to the chase. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” is 2 1/2 hours long. I guess that’s better than getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer or being set on fire, but not by much.

I would like to start this review by relating to you my first thought as the credits started rolling on “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” I wish I could tell you it was about the confounding wonder that is Johnny Depp (which he is) or the whimsical watchability of the plot (which it lacks). Nope, it’s considerably simpler: this is the movie that never EVER ends. This is the real “Neverending Story,” as it just goes on and on…and on…and on…and on. And just when you think it’s over, it goes on and on all over again. If for some unbeknownst reason you liked the first, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” maybe you’ll welcome the 150 minute running time. But I doubt it, because while “Dead Man’s Chest” isn’t the absolute worst, scraping the bottom of the barrel, where no light can penetrate, god-awful movie I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s definitely putting up a good fight.

Because the box office clout of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” name is still running high, I guess it does make sense to whip out sequels at a frenzied pace by consecutively filming “Dead Man’s Chest” and No. 3, tentatively titled “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Did director Gore Verbinski and co-writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio learn nothing from the Wachowski brothers’ disastrous “Matrix” sequels? I believe “Curse of the Black Pearl” was salvageable because it’s an independent entity; it fulfills the three act structure and concludes in a neat little bow. Nos. 2 and 3, however, are meant to be seen as a collective, almost like serial television. That probably means they were written as one bloated story, and because “Dead Man’s Chest” is being released before No. 3 is even finished filming, there’s no telling which minute details need to make the cut and which don’t. Therefore, we’re already running at excess to tell the overstuffed narrative that’s being weighed down by too many characters and crisscrossing subplots. The bottom line is the movie’s plain too long. I mean, if you don’t cut anything, how is Disney going to earn a few extra bucks by peddling multiple expanded and director’s cut editions?

But all of that is needless overanalyzation of what could (and should) have been. Instead, let us deal with what we’re dealt, no matter how mind-numbingly lame it is. On the day of their wedding, Will Turner (ex-It Boy Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (still-It Girl Keira Knightley) are both arrested for their shenanigans at the end of the previous film when they rescued Capt. Jack Sparrow from the gallows and helped him escape to his ship. The man behind the arrest, Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the East India Trading Company, is willing to cut them a deal if they bring him Sparrow’s legendary “broken” compass. Still doing his enjoyable Keith Richards impersonation, Depp’s Sparrow is using said compass to search for a treasure of innumerable value, which will allow him to strike at the heart of Davy Jones himself.

Luckily for Sparrow, it shouldn’t be too difficult, because as it turns out, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) is an actual pirate, albeit the evil squid-like captain of a group of ragtag urchin- and crab-encrusted lackeys (and a random half-hammerhead shark/half-human hybrid that’s given no further explanation). The film does offer some long-winded explanation on how one comes to join the crew and what the indentured obligations are, but I honestly couldn’t rehash it now. When it comes to Jones and his crew, only a handful of things are important. One, Verbinski spent a lot of time and money to CGI the hell out of this crew, and it shows. While he doesn’t really explain why crew members eventually resemble sea animals, they look good enough to almost bypass the question entirely. Two, Jones doesn’t take kindly to other pirates attempting to steal his treasure, meaning you’re going to see plenty of Jones vs. Sparrow showdowns. And three, the starfish-faced member of Jones’ crew is Bootstrap Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgard), Will’s long lost father, which means you’re guaranteed to get a few Jones vs. Will fights too, especially when the latter infiltrates the former’s crew.

Oh, and then there’s Jones’ pet Kraken, a huge squid that’s quite adept at taking down pirate ships in one-swift hit. Again, Verbinski has clearly spent more than a few doubloons on CGI, and luckily it pays off. The visual appeal of the “Pirates” movies is certainly hard to refute.

If only the narrative matched the mise-en-scene. The film has a tendency to meander without strongly hitting any of the required points. When Will is first released to track down Jack, he asks perhaps three people to help before, all of a sudden, he finds Jack as the leader of a cannibalistic island cult (if you think the “King Kong” natives were racist…), and once they escape that trap, they all head down some river to chat with a disheveled voodoo priestess, seer, mystic woman (“28 Days Later’s” fantastic Naomie Harris) who conveniently knows the exact location of both Jones’ treasure chest and the key that opens it. Verbinski does well in highlighting his strong cast and his expensive-CGI shots, but it’s always at the expense of story, which might be passable if the weak story wasn’t awkwardly attempting to hold the 2 1/2 hour story together.

But while the film is deeply flawed, many of the performances are not. I must admit befuddlement when Depp was nominated for best actor at the 2004 Oscars, but after “Chest,” I’m shocked no longer. His shtick — and it is a shtick, no matter how well executed — translates well to his role as reluctant anti-hero, especially when he’s playing the role of sneaky, underhanded thief. He’s at his most charming when he’s attempting to hand Will over to Davy Jones to pay his debts, but to be fair, that might just be because it seems like we’ll be Bloom-free for a while. Playing the goody-two-shoes Luke Skywalker role, Bloom (who’s stiffer than stiff performance is yet another example of Bloom’s failure to live up to his previously touted potential) doesn’t get the chance to do much more than stew over his inability to free his slave father. When they’re not being upstaged by Depp, the rest of the major supports — from Knightley to Nighy to Skarsgard — are definitely talented and well worth their paychecks. Even the lesser pirates (which include British “Office” star Mackenzie Crook) shine in their small roles as the comic relief.

There are so many little things to admire about “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” but ultimately it all boils down to one simple question: Can a movie survive without a decent story? Verbinski deserves credit for assembling a great ensemble cast and a phenomenal special effects team, but it doesn’t make up for his and his writers being tremendous hacks. From “The Mexican” to “The Ring” to “The Weather Man,” Verbinski has always been trying to take forgettable genre pieces and raise them to the level of transcending, grandiose pictures. He’s never quite managed to get there, but at least he’s solidified himself as a go-to man for big-budget, big-box office trash.

Do you remember the movie “Cutthroat Island”? That Geena Davis (!)/Matthew Modine (!!) movie that Renny Harlin (!!!) directed? That used to be the worst movie ever made about pirates. Congrats, Gore Verbinski. You win.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14738&reviewer=401
originally posted: 07/13/06 09:19:25
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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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