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Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Dead Man's Chest -- A Movie Review

Updated on March 4, 2011
Image is in the public domain
Image is in the public domain

If you’re a fan of the initial chapter of the Pirates of the Carribean : “The Curse of the Black” Pearl", you’re probably eagerly anticipating its sequel, “Dead Man’s Chest”.  If you haven’t seen “The Black Pearl”, you may want to see it before seeing “Dead Man’s Chest”.  Even though “Dead Man’s Chest” can be followed on its own, knowing all the characters in advance makes the movie that much more fun.

The movie starts on a wind-swept ridge near a formidable prison where scurrilous looking guards are throwing wooden caskets into the rocks and crashing waves below the cliff.  As one of the caskets floats out to open ocean, a shot is fired and the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) breaks out of the casket, grabs a leg bone from the corpse beneath him and uses it as a paddle to move in the direction his compass indicates.

In the interim, the ill-fated wedding between Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley is broken up by Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander).  He has them dragged off to prison, charging them with aiding the escape of Captain Jack Sparrow.  Lord Beckett strikes a deal with Will that he will pardon both Will and Elizabeth in exchange for help in tracking down Sparrow and his compass.  The compass having special powers that Beckett highly desires.

Soon after, Captain Jack meets back up with his ship and crew but is strangely leery of being on the high sea … and is obsessed with acquiring a key.  His obsession is based upon a simple drawing on a piece of parchment.  He has to gain the aid of a mysterious seer and mislead his crew to gain his sought after prize – the heart of Davy Jones, captain of the Flying Dutchman.

After having viewed “The Black Pearl”, I was certain that a sequel would be difficult to make and still maintain the same epic quality.  I’m certain that “Dead Man’s Chest” was difficult to make, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as its predecessor.  This was probably due to the novelty of the story wearing off.

The characters in “The Black Pearl” all reprise their roles in “Dead Man’s Chest” (including one that may surprise you).  Some of the secondary characters do seem a tad stereotypical, such as Mr. Gibbs, Lord Beckett, the crew, and the Royal Navy.

We get introduced to some new characters as well. The formidable Davey Jones, his cursed crew (“fishie men” as one observer put it) and Bootstrap Bill Turner all make their debut.

Johnny Depp received considerable notoriety for his performance in “Curse of the Black Pearl”.  I had seen him in a few roles previously and was somewhat underwhelmed by those performances.  His portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in both movies has really improved my impression of his acting skills.  Keira Knightley’s character wasn’t up to par with her role in the first movie, and I did see a few more inconsistencies then I’d like, but still within the parameters of a good movie.

The ending was somewhat disappointing because it left the viewer hanging, necessitating watching the third movie “At World’s End” to come to a satisfying conclusion.  The ending of ”The Curse of the Black Pearl” was such that it was an excellent movie either standing alone or as a part of the series.

Overall I still feel that the first Pirates of the Caribbean
was a little better, it just caught my attention better and didn't have the feel of repeating anything as far as characters and popular lines. I still recommend this film to fans of epic adventures, but there's quite a bit you'll be lost on if you don't watch The Curse of the Black Pearl first.

Overall I still felt that Pirates of the Carribean; “The Curse of the Black Pearl” was the better of the first two movies.  It caught my attention better, and didn’t have the feeling of repeated material or characters.  I still recommend watching “Dead Man’s Chest” with the proviso that you watch “The Curse of the Black Pearl” first so that you will have familiarity with the characters and their dynamics.


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