Dumb but fun “Pirates”

by Ian T. McFarland on July 7, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • IMDB: link

dead-mans-chest-poster-2It’s July, and the most exciting movie to have come out this summer has been The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Don’t get me wrong, I was along for the ride when it came out last month; but this is summer, and we should be bombarded with more action than the Playboy Mansion.  Where’s that movie that you can’t get yourself to leave for the restroom after drinking a gallon of Cherry Coke from the consession stand, even though you’re pretty sure it will cause some sort of internal combustion by the time the credits role?

Now it’s here, and it’s called Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. It doesn’t quite threaten audiences’ bladders like you might hope it will, but in this summer of Poseidon and X-Men: The Last Stand, it feels pretty damn good to be able to escape to the cinemas from the dead heat of summer into a decent action flick for the first time this year.

As Dead Man’s Chest begins, we find our good ol’ buddies Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley being arrested for treason with a noose waiting for them.  The only way out for the two is if they can find Johnny Depp‘s Jack Sparrow and take his somehow magical compass.  Then there’s something about a guy that controls the sea who wants to kill Depp for some reason or another.  I guess he rented The Libertine, which by some wacky coincidence came out four days before Chest hit theaters.

Okay.  I’ll admit it first – the story is crap.  It’s dumb, it’s random, and it’s boring.  The screenwriters try to scribble in some character development for Sparrow, but it’s so last minute and half-assedly done that it falls flat.  To put it in a pun, the script would only look good after several bottles of rum.

But none of that matters.  This is an action movie, and even though a it would be nice if they put as much work into the script as the special effects, if it can stick you to your seat then it doesn’t need anything else.  And Dead Man’s Chest does this just right.  From escaping an island full of hungry cannibals to a three-way sword fight atop a twelve-foot wheel journeying through forest, beach, etc. the action is well thought out enough to keep the attention of the older members of the audience.  Although these scenes don’t quite hit the ceiling in terms of excitement, it’s more than enough and certainly more than anything we’ve seen out of Hollywood since the Skull Island sequences in King Kong.

Really what it all comes down to though is the special effects.  Dead Man’s Chest makes for a new milestone set by CG, sure to enchant anyone. Characters that are more shark or crustation then men litter the shots with enough eye candy to give you a cavity.

Most impressive is the character of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy.)  Digitally wrapped around Nighey’s face is a slimey surface with a beard made up of dulled blue tenticles so detailed you’ll be hypnotized.  His scenes would work just as well on mute; nobody cares what he’s saying just how his facial hair is moving.

“Dead Man’s Chest” is not Die Hard.  It’s not The Lord of the Rings and it’s sure as hell no The Empire Strikes Back.  But in a stale summer with wannabe action epics, Depp and his gang of ragamuffins will do just fine.

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