Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport
Director: Gore Verbinski
Series: Pirates of the Caribbean #2
Release Date: 7 July 2006
Length: 151 minutes
Movie Rating: PG-13
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is a marked man. He pledged to serve as part of Davy Jones’ (Bill Nighy) crew for 100 years in return for being Captain on the Black Pearl for 13 years. Desperate to escape this fate, Captain Jack flees to land, where Davy Jones’ has no power. Unfortunately, he lands on an island of cannibals, who believe that he is the reincarnation of one of their gods and must be set free from his mortal body – by being eaten.
Meanwhile, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are eagerly awaiting their wedding day in Port Royale. The ceremony is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), a representative of the East India Trading Company, who has warrants for the arrest and hanging of both Will and Elizabeth for their involvement with Captain Jack. But Cutler doesn’t really want Jack and he doesn’t care at all about Elizabeth and Will – what he really wants is Jack’s compass. For Jack’s compass doesn’t just point to the Isla de Muerta, no, it leads you to your heart’s desire…
Cutler has a deal for Will – get the compass from Jack and he will let them go free. Will immediately sets off to find Captain Jack and eventually tracks him to the cannibals’ island, where mayhem ensues trying to get Jack free and get off the island. But escaping the island is only the beginning of their troubles – for Jack has found a way to escape Davy Jones, but it involves finding Jones’ heart, which is locked in a case at an unknown location and can only be opened by a key that he can’t find. Jack offers Will a trade – his compass for the key to Davy Jones’ chest…
I was completely blown away by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. I was expecting it to be good, but this movie far exceeded my expectations. Johnny Depp is absolutely marvelous as Captain Jack Sparrow. He retains the same funny mannerisms and sly humor as he did in the first one, but he has now really deepened the character to include more dark overtones so you never really know what to expect, especially since his life is on the line. Keira Knightley was luminous in her role as Elizabeth Swann and, this time, she really got to cut loose and show that she can keep up with the boys. She is a really spunky character who is not content to just sit around and be rescued, but is determined to be involved in the adventure. Orlando Bloom really surprised me in his reprisal of his Will Turner role. He has made great strides since the last film and his character showed a great deal more depth than the first time we met him. Will is still naive and innocent in a lot of ways, but he is slowly having that naivety stripped away through his interaction with Captain Jack and is letting his inner pirate out. I felt that his character has the most development in this film and am excited to see where he takes Will in the third film.
In addition to an excellent leading cast, the supporting characters were amazing. Bill Nighy was goosebumpingly creepy in his role as Davy Jones and was an absolutely amazing villain. Considering he was in very heavy makeup and prosthetics for the entire film, he really only had his voice and body mannerisms to make the character – but he really made the character. Jack Davenport returns as Commodore Norrington and it was fun to see the prim and proper Commodore really cut loose now that he has lost everything. Jonathan Pryce makes the most of his small role reprising Governor Weatherby Swann. He added a much needed touch of realism and heartfelt feeling to the film while he struggled to save his daughter without compromising his integrity. Tom Hollander was utterly creepy in his role of Cutler Beckett. I am so used to seeing him as a bumbling fool (Mr. Collins in Pride & Prejudice and Anthony Meredith in Gosford Park) that it was a delight to see him take on the mantle of a cool, calculating villain who destroys lives in the name of profit and is not afraid to admit it. Lee Arenberg (Pintel – the fat, balding pirate) and Mackenzie Crook (Ragetti – the tall, thin pirate with the wooden eye) are once again perfect to add the much needed comic relief when the movie starts to get too grim and I am so glad that they came back to participate in films 2 & 3. New characters include Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma (a voodoo priestess) and Stellan Skarsgård (Bootstrap Bill) who really made the most of their roles in this film and I hope come back for the 3rd.
The cast really make the film, but you simply cannot talk about this film without mentioning the spectacular special effects or the breathtaking fighting sequences. Gore Verbinski really outdid himself this time as both the effects and the stunts were absolutely amazing. Now that I have gushed about the movie for several paragraphs, I do want to say that, no, this is no great epic that will last through the ages. It is very definitely a middle film in a trilogy that leaves you hanging with a lot of unanswered questions, but it is summer entertainment at its best. Suspend belief and go to the movie just to sit and escape the world for a while. With nonstop, breathtaking action, plenty of laughs, excellent acting, a delightfully creepy score and everything you need to be entertained for 2.5 hours this movie is simply not to be missed!
This movie contains some intense action sequences, most of them are so fantastic that they don’t really feel real, but people do die, bleed and beg for their lives. There are some frightening images for younger viewers as the villains all have sea creatures growing all over them and/or have turned into part sea creature/part human. There is plenty of swordfighting, a few colorful jokes and lots & lots of unwashed and unshaven pirates. Recommended for viewers ages 12 and up.