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*** Official PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST Review Thread


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#1 of 17 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 07 2006 - 01:56 AM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



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#2 of 17 ZacharyTait

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Posted July 07 2006 - 04:50 AM

It seems hard to believe that before Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, that movies about pirates were considered box-office poison. It was thought that the genre’s heyday was over. However, POTC:COTBP was a box-office sensation, no thanks in small part to Johnny Depp’s flamboyant and over the top portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, the swishiest pirate to hit the big screen. After the box-office receipts were counted, it became a matter of when, not if, a sequel would arrive. Since the story written for the sequel was enormous, Disney decided to break it in half and film the two parts (Dead’s Man Chest and At World’s End) back to back a la Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions.

Dead Man’s Chest starts off with the wedding of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) being interrupted by the corrupt Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander). It seems that Beckett wants the magic compass that Jack Sparrow own in exchange for sparing their lives. Of course, in a movie like this, no one’s motives are entirely clear. Will is sent in search of Jack while Elizabeth is jailed as collateral. When Will finds Jack, Jack is on a island with cannibals who apparently think that Jack is their god.

Will and Elizabeth aren’t the only ones in search of Jack and his compass. It turns out that he made a deal with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and Jones intends to collect on his debt. If Jack doesn’t repay his debt of collecting 100 souls, he is doomed to walk the earth in eternal servitude to Davy Jones, just like Bootstrap Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgaard) and other sailors. Davy controls the Kraken, an underwater sea monster that reminded me of the Sarlaac Pit from the Star Wars movies.

While everyone is in pursuit of Jack and his compass, Jack himself is looking for a key that can unlock a chest containing a treasure which would allow him to repay Davy Jones.

The whole setup leads to numerous chases and fight sequences, the most spectacular of which employs a runaway miller’s wheel and a monster that can still talk even after it’s head has been chopped off.

As spectacular as the action and art direction is, the visual effects are awesome, especially Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones. A completely CGI character, Jones is a landmark in CGI, right up there with Gollum and King Kong. The Kraken is another example of excellent CGI. Not once during the movie was I taken out by an obvious special effects. They blend in seamlessly with the real life objects.

Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom make a good-looking couple, but strangely there really isn’t any chemistry between the two. The same, however, can’t be said between Keira and Johnny when unexpected sparks fly between the two. I suspect that’s because Elizabeth has a little bit of the devil in her and she sees a good man beneath all of the bravado and pomp of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Johnny Depp is once again the main reason to see this movie. While his entrance into this movie isn’t as memorable as the first movie, it’s still a pretty clever gag. Stradling the line between sober and drunkenness, Depp infuses Sparrow with more of the same swishiness and non-seriousness that made his character so memorable in the first movie. Keira Knightley is given a little more to do in this movie as she’s allowed to fight alongside the boys with a sword and kicks some butt. Orlando Bloom and Stellan Skaarsgaard have a couple of nice moments as father and son reunited, and Jack Davenport returns as Commodore Norrington who has fallen on hard times.

There is one surprise at the end that sets up the third movie, and if the first two movies are any indication, we are in for a wild ride next Memorial Day.

After a summer that has lacked a spectacular blockbuster, Dead Man's Chest delivers in spades.

****

#3 of 17 Chad R

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Posted July 07 2006 - 05:07 AM

The best comparison I can make, is that "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" feels like "Back to the Future Part II." It's not that it's a bad movie or anything, it just feels like a race to get to the third picture.

The first half of the film is bogged down by an excess of exposition, a little too many joke retreads from the first film and some pretty creaky ways of injecting returning characters into the film.

The new character of Lord Beckett sets the plot in motion with a little too much talk and not enough action. He's not a particularly compelling antagonist, one of the film's flaws, and basically spend a good half an hour making various back handed deals with Will, Elizabeth and eventually Governor Swann. Perhaps if Will had been given a disparate reason to head out on the adventure rather than him and Elizabeth both going to save the other -- the first chunk of the film would have seemed fresher. As it stands, it seems like the same thing happens twice.

Then, the jokes referencing the first film get rolled out. To me this was a problem with the "Back to the Future" sequels. Instead of building fresh humor, often they fell back on recognition humor -- retreading successes of the past. I would have preferred a fresh approach to much of the humor.

This also relates to some recurring characters, such as Pintel and Ragetti. They're reintroduction is sort of just thrown in there with a smattering of explanation. This might have been a good opportunity to build new supporting characters in the spirit of the original's supporting cast, but given the audience something fresh.

Even the main cast begins to strain freshness when both Will and Elizabeth are still treated blandly with simple motivations (until the end).

Captain Jack Sparrow is still fun, but I can certainly see where the eccentricity could begin to fatigue. The writer's try and turn the screws with the grey areas in his character, not being completely good or bad, but the true throughline of his character isn't set up until halfway through the movie.

The film really begins to pick up in the second half when the story contrivances evaporate and we get into the meat of the new story. However, the structure is really just one event stringed together with another bereft of some good structure.

In the original, we were let in on the plot more so than this one, with the macguffin's revelation coming far too late. It's a simple plot and they try and make it more complicated than it is by drawing out the details. the audience can figure out pretty quickly why everyone is seeking the chest, so when the specifics come around they're not the revelation that's intended, just a blank to filled in.

The same can be said for Davy Jones, who doesn't seem to appear until, again, the halfway mark. When Lord Beckett is such an uninspiring antagonist, this leaves the film without a real threat for too long. It was a hard task to match the grandiosity of Barbossa as a baddie, and Davy Jones's design is top notch -- but he's not given enough time to really develop on his own, instead leaving his motivation to come out of other character's mouths. I would have like to have seen a scene to two with Davy clueing us in as to his history.

What the film excels in ultimately is setting up the third film. It seems most of the real juicy character conflicts come at the conclusion, and are just the set up for the third film, which when coupled by a several great twists sets the third film up to be the winner of the series. Much like how all of the exposition and final twists of "Back to the Future part II" just sets up the far better Part III.

After taking its time to build up steam, the film finally does leave you wanting more with a far more rousing second chunk. i just wish they would have spent better care with the first act to make it a solid winner.

#4 of 17 Stephen Orr

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Posted July 07 2006 - 09:21 AM

I enjoyed it very much. Wife, however, was off-put by how dark and gory it was. She did like the action stuff and the plot twists, especially the three at the end (one was obvious, one was not surprising, and one was completely unexpected!)

#5 of 17 Dome Vongvises

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Posted July 07 2006 - 12:57 PM

Awesome.

Score: A-

#6 of 17 Patrick Sun

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Posted July 08 2006 - 02:42 PM

I thought the 1st and 2nd acts of the film were lackluster, but the 3rd act picked up the pace with some good action and physical comedy.

I sort of got tired of Captain Jack Sparrow, and didn't really feel much for Will or Elizabeth in this installment of the Pirates franchise. The film felt about 40 minutes too long to me, as well.

I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
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#7 of 17 Claire Panke

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Posted July 08 2006 - 03:01 PM

Cluttereted cluttered cluttered. Busy busy busy.

ARGH! Wotta a waste of Captain Jack!

I hated it. It made me tired just watching.

#8 of 17 Mike.P

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Posted July 09 2006 - 01:13 PM

Well, I have to say I wanted to dislike this - I don't know why, probably because I was hoping Supes would be the box office king this season to guarentee that Singer would handle sequels, but I have been anticipating it so I can't completely knock it.

I went in with expectations to simply be entertained and not have any sort of emotional investment, and thats exactly what I got. I can't say that I didn't enjoy myself, and thats the important thing.

Positives include acting (except I really just don't like Orlando Bloom, he just comes off as terribly uncomfortable in every movie), awesome set pieces, some good (but not always great) action, very good special FX, and just a fun adventure flick.

Negatives I'd say include any sort of lack of heart to the story - I just find it very difficult to sympathize with the characters as they all come off as completely boring people. We never get in depth time with them, and I guess thats somewhat expected in this kind of movie.

I also would have preferred a more self contained story. We kind of get stuck with the middle arc treatment, and it hurts at times as things just move forward very slowly. Do we really need to see the Kraken breaking up 3 ships in very similar fashions? Not really.

But those don't hurt the film much at all, and I'd recommend it to friends if they don't mind just having a nice little movie experience for 2+ hours.

It's kind of hollow, is all. Like a Disney Ride Posted Image.

B- and my number 2 movie of the summer. Here's hoping July remains this good with the rest of the films!

#9 of 17 Adam_S

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Posted July 09 2006 - 09:11 PM

I think my biggest issue with Pirates of the Carribbean is that there is no longer even a semblance of time passing or distance traveled in this movie. the first one made an effort at the fact you can't teleport, as best I can tell, you can in this one, people conveniently get to where they need to be and that's pretty tiring after awhile, the plot is not as compact and finely tuned as the first film, so the film seems to draw a bit.

granted part of this is the less than rowdy response from a 10:50 pm sunday night showing, I was very dissapointed my audience didn't get into it with applause and cheers and laughs.

I think I was the only one to get the eunoch joke and then about ten seconds too late.

The set pieces are just awesome and exciting and I'd like to see it again. Davy Jones is a big highlight, but never feels genuinely dangerous like Barbosa did, perhaps because he doesn't have any semblance of humanity left, because Barbosa was a human scorched and consumed by his misdeeds he was therefore a much more visceral villain for the viewer.

But there were elements in the film that made me wish a lot for some Robin Hobb adaptations, damn that'd be cool for the Liveship Traders to make it as a movie, because some of the most fun was the completely ridiculous and unconvincing Keira as a boy, as extraneous as the sequence was, it embodies the charm of the first movie the best (that and the hot po-chest-to sequence).

Not that interesting in Angsty Will and his father, I don't think he needed a 'personal' motive, he's the noble hero, he does it because it's the right thing, not because he's got a personal obligation (that's Jack's role) and or vendetta. or he does it to protect the woman he loves, also a noble role, so while Bootstrap's role was fabulous, there's too much of it. too muddled and too out of place when you come down to it, especcially in terms of Will's character. Though yes, you do see like father like son similar traits and whatnot.

I think what I'm interested in is the creepy British assassin versus Jack in part III, definitely would be more interesting than fighting Davy Jones or whoever.

Overall I really enjoyed the movie, I'd prefer to see it with friends. it's more flawed than the first because it tries to hard. but theres something utterly glorious about Jack inside a giant hamster wheel chasing down a key while there's a moving sword fight going on above him. the film did a really great job with almost everything except Will, be changing his focus from Elizabeth to his father, the film loses a tremendous amount of romantic tension and energy, which is a damn shame because Elizabeth's Jack faze doesn't do anything either because Will's not trying so relentlessly just for her anymore, he's instead focused on a character we don't know and care about as much.


Excellent fun film, i'll probably see it again if the oppurtunity presents itself.

Adam
 

#10 of 17 StevenFC

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Posted July 10 2006 - 01:09 PM

Didn't really care for it. I was just waiting for it to be over. It was just too nonsensical. I didn't hate it, but I just didn't feel it. I guess it's just not my cup of tea.
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#11 of 17 Chris Atkins

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Posted July 11 2006 - 10:08 AM

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

8.5/10

I had the privilege of watching this film last night at New York's Ziegfeld, which features a 2k digital projector. It was, quite simply, the best looking and sounding presentation I have ever seen.

To the film itself: I had fun with this one, and liked it much better on first viewing than the original. But that's because repeat viewings of the original led me to a deeper love and appreciation for these characters, and I had a blast seeing what happened to them here.

What I liked:

-the sense of fun; I thought they did a good job with the fun factor. Jack's introduction was a nice throwback to his intro in the first film; his antics were great (as always); a nice arc for a semi-villain from the first film was fun too

-the action set pieces: lots of creative and fun choreography on display (one sword fight that involves about 6 different people was a lot of fun to watch) and some interesting sets, etc.

-the special effects: Davey Jones is the best visual effect I've ever seen, will be tough to look past this at next year's Oscars (of course, if they have the same 'no sequel' rule that they had last year, then ILM can forget it)

-the music: Hans Zimmer really elevates the film with the music; he gave it an emotional weight that the music in the first film did not have

What I didn't like

-a skipping plot: As Adam mentioned above, the plot here took connectivity for granted; a lot of times, characters travel great distances in the time it took the editor to splice the scenes together, often giving you the sense that POTC2 is nothing but a collection of scenes instead of a merged whole

-some sequences were outlandish: screenwriters should NEVER AGAIN be allowed to have heroes fall from great distances and then walk away unscratched

-homages to other films: the homages to Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc., took me out of the film eventually

-Orlando Bloom: I think he really struggles with the material. I haven't liked him in his last two roles (KOH and POTC2) but I liked him in LOTR and POTC1.

-Couldn't understand two characters: try as I might I could only understand the witch about 40% of the time and Davey Jones only about 75% of the time. They really needed more crisp articulation from these actors.

All in all, a fun movie with some problems. Can't wait for part III though, and I am going to see it again tonight.

#12 of 17 Kristian

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Posted July 11 2006 - 02:01 PM

Was it as good as the original? Not quite. Was it good enough to deserve to break the records of Spider-Man and Revenge of the Sith? Not really. But Dead Man's Chest was still a fun time at the movies, with lots of cool visuals, plenty of humor and a surprise-filled last act that has me anxiously awaiting At World's End. Yo ho yo ho, indeed!

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#13 of 17 Tim Glover

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Posted July 11 2006 - 02:46 PM

I loved the original film, POTC. Loved it...and it's become one of my favorites. Not of all time but a fun film that had gobs of charm, charisma, clever humor, and a cast that was on it's A game.

Those attributes weren't present very much during DMC. I grew tired of it and began noticing my watch and grew weary of the action at times.

Did have some nice moments but really hoped for more. Tried to like it more but was unable too. I love the cast too.

For my tastes, not a bad movie, but not a very good one either.

a generous 7/10 Posted Image

#14 of 17 Ron-P

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Posted July 14 2006 - 12:42 PM

Fun movie, just as good if not better then the first. What a great way to lead into the 3rd installment as well. It's going to be a tough year wait.
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#15 of 17 Lou Sytsma

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Posted July 15 2006 - 03:39 PM

6/10. No charm. No story. No interest. SFX were great. What is Hollywood to think when we moan and cry about all the brain dead movies they deliver and then the public comes to see something like this in droves.

It is like seeing a live action Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner movie. Except those are much shorter and much better.
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#16 of 17 Chuck Mayer

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Posted July 16 2006 - 01:30 AM

Chad had a great line to begin his review. The film feels like a race to the thrid film. It had it's own plot, to be certain, but isn't very well-balanced within it's running time. While I was never bored, it took way too long to get to the (real or interesting, take your pick) villain. That's a no-no in an adventure film. It seemed random and sporadic at times. A good editor would have cleaved about 25 minutes of this beast, and it would have worked better, imo.

BUT...it was still excellent fun. I loved the introduction of the Dutchman, it's crew, and it's Captain. I enjoyed the performances. I enjoyed the mood and tone.

I do eagerly await the thid one, because the finale returned someone this film sorely needed. Chow Yun Fat won't hurt either.

A good ride...not a great one. Here's hoping they saved the best for last Posted Image

8/10,
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#17 of 17 Will_B

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Posted July 16 2006 - 03:12 PM

Just saw it Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

A gloomy sequel to a great, heart-lifting adventure film.

Viewed in context as a sequel, I did not like the way they spent the first 20 minutes undoing the friendship between the three main characters that had been established in the first film. But I guess the writers felt they needed to regress Captain Sparrow or else they wouldn’t have been able to make the film about whether he had a moral compass.

This film was all spectacle and no heart.

Even the romance was jettisoned, since Turner and Elizabeth were separated for most of the film.

There was one good speech in the film, when Elizabeth was trying to convince Jack that he’d want to try being good. But the clever exchanges that were rampant in the first film simply weren’t here in this sequel.

Dark, not romantic, and way too long as well.

I liked Superman Returns much better - a film that could be described as all heart and not enough spectacle. Pirates 2 was all spectacle and not enough heart.
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