Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

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

"I feel sullied and unusual."

Listen, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is a mess. Narrative clarity runs the complete gamut here as unpaid debts, semi-contrived love triangles, a fair share of double-crosses and plot holes, and shifting powers run rampant through each page of this fantasy adventure. The pace rarely loses momentum—a somewhat notable accomplishment given the runtime and unapologetic camp and chaos of the writing—but you'll certainly be wondering what the Hell's happening more than once. The talent clearly delight in the ambitious bedlam at hand, particularly Bill Nighy as Davy Jones. Still, coherence and quality may've ultimately been sacrificed amid all of this zealous uproar, cementing the sequel as distinct yet inferior to its predecessor. But goddamn if there isn't anything more exciting than the mayhem and originality of director Gore Verbinski's vision.

I feel as though my thoughts mirror the haphazard essence of the film. There's clear fault to be found throughout Dead Man's Chest, but the devil-may-care attitude of the entire experience and sheer creativity of its individual components make the obvious swashbuckling clutter far more tolerable and thoroughly engaging. The craftsmanship is undeniable. From the direction and cinematography to the visual effects, art direction, production design, and original score, there's clear vigor and inventiveness present on all levels.

Untidy, yes, but wholly entertaining. Even considering the weaker elements, most of which stem from the topsy-turvy screenplay, you gotta give credit where it's due. For better or worse, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest relishes every ounce of its imaginative lunacy.

"The world is shrinking. The blank edges of the map filled in. Jack must find his place in the new world or perish."

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