Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

Reviewer: Charity Bishop
 
Several years ago, a movie sailed into theatres and returned audiences to a world of swashbuckling heroes, damsels in distress, and pirates. It contained romance, murder, betrayal, and vengeance. It also introduced us to the now-infamous Jack Sparrow, whose popularity increased into a three-part franchise.

Several months after Captain Sparrow's escape from the hangman's noose, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) plan to be married. Their ceremony is interrupted by royal officers intending to arrest them for assisting Sparrow to elude capture. The arrests are really a farce in an attempt to blackmail Will into obtaining Sparrow's prized compass in exchange for his fiance's life. The compass holds greater value than merely a means of obtaining treasure, and the diabolical Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander) intends to use it to wield power over the seven seas. Will's search for Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) leads him further into danger, when he finds the Black Pearl beached on an island of cannibals. Sparrow promises him the compass if he can assist him in recovering a key held by Davy Jones (Bill Nighty) that unlocks a mysterious black chest. Elizabeth, in the meantime, has secured her escape from prison and enlists the assistance of ex-commodore James Norrington (Jack Davenport) in pursuing the Black Pearl and its precious cargo, little knowing that they will run abreast of Davy Jones and his band of ghostly crewmen, eternally condemned to the depths of the sea.
 
Though containing its moments of absurdity, about midway through the audience is so enthralled that they can overlook the mild idiocies of the script. The most enormous downside to the production is its fast and free playing with the personalities of its characters. Fans of the original might be frustrated with some of the changes, which include more than one selfish betrayal, and the extended humiliation of Commodore Norrington. It also lacks the heart of the first production, primarily because it is so intent on providing battle scenes and harrowing escapes that it overlooks personality quirks. The thing we loved about the first film was Jack's cunning, Elizabeth's frustration with corsets, Norrington's unflinching morality, and Will's reluctant piracy. We loved the miniscule moments that made the film fun. They are missing in this production, which goes for special effects instead.
 
That being said, it is highly enjoyable on many levels, but does contain some pagan magic. Jack seeks the counsel of a creepy Jamaican witch, and she casts lots to point them on the right path. I did not really appreciate my favorite character being so demoralized, but the plot was decent and the sword fighting scenes, when they finally appeared, were as fantastic as ever. There were some genuinely hilarious scenes, such as Jack Sparrow attempting to flee through the jungle tied to a roasting pole, and Elizabeth screaming in the background about how men always seem to handle things with violence while Norrington, Sparrow, and Turner are having a sword-driven disagreement on the beach. The film did run on a bit too long, but fans will definitely enjoy it.
 


   
Sexual Content:
Innuendo between Jack and Elizabeth, who sensuously kiss; the crew becomes excited at the thought there might be a naked female stowaway on board.
  
Language:
Mild.
  
Violence:
An extreme amount of battle violence and carnage; an ancient monster of the deep splits ships in half and consumes their occupants. Most of the gruesome stuff consists of natives with horrific body piercings, a man whose face has been sucked off by the sea monster (leaving a throbbing blob in its place), severed human toes hung around Jack Sparrow's neck as part of an ancient ritual, human eyeballs in a jar in a priestess' hut, and characters being doused with slime. Jack is believed to be an ancient god trapped in human form; the natives intend to roast him alive and eat him to set the god free.


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