Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ★★★★

Mindless entertainment born out of pure nonsense, Dead Man's Chest is spotty, with bits of truly imaginary world-building but also it's fair share of poor storytelling, mainly in it's wild transitions and insanely propulsive plot machinations. But as far as my general attitude towards this film goes, Dead Man's Chest gets my praise for feeling truly alive. Moment to moment, fumbled or not, this thing has such confidence in itself. There's entire action set pieces based in broad physical comedy, there's a deliciously (and brilliantly) constructed villain in the tentacle-faced Davy Jones, and the stakes feel genuinely menacing. An eternity of servitude aboard the Flying Dutchman, a haunted ship where men lose their mind and become fish-like abominations. It's not just dying, but instead an ocean's afterlife...you can understand why Jack is so terrifying, and why Will is so reluctant to resign his father to said fate.

The pleasures of Dead Man's Chest are a tad shallower than the ones in Curse of the Black Pearl, but still very much evident. The script isn't as sharp, a bit less intelligent in it's handling of the twisting motivations and plethora of primary characters. But the entertainment value of this is undeniable. Jack Sparrow's shtick still feels fresh, Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swan is still gorgeous and compelling, and Will Turner's quest to find his father finds some fruition here. The strengths of this film are in it's stellar villain (wonderfully performed by Bill Nighy) and it's doubling down on physical comedy, the island chaos is still great stuff. It's a great sequel, not as refined as the first but a nicely contained film that tells a story all it's own while still progressing the franchise in adequate fashion. It's a movie built to entertain in the simplest way, and despite it's length is able to accomplish just that.

Must admit also that I'm unreasonably attracted to a tan Keira Knightley dressed as a pirate.

Pirates Marathon

Jared liked this review