Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

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

A feast for the senses: gothic, grimy sets, strong lensing, superb score and sound design and what - 14 years on! - still stands as some of the finest CGI ever seen. It's got a pleasing dash of darkness and body horror to it, too - they don't make $200 million movies like this anymore - or if they do, they tend to be things like Mad Max: Fury Road, and certainly not a Disney production aimed at a younger audience.
I'd have to disagree with the accusations of a convoluted plot - it's packed but it isn't hard to follow. It isn't as streamlined as the first film but it's far from indecipherable. It is a lot less character-driven as a whole, which is a shame, but it's got enough imaginative scenarios (the action scenes are fantastic and improve on the original film's) and development to overcome this. (The level of double crossing has also risen, though it finds fresh heights in the third film). Its sprawling nature is more human than showy - it's like a campfire tale whose teller wants to cram in as much detail as possible. And, honestly, I don't care. I wish popcorn cinema was still as charming and fun.
Dead Man's Chest hits the right balance of tones for a blockbuster, taking its story and characters seriously without being pretentious and mixing in humour without falling into pure flippancy and ironic territory. Recommended.

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