Monday, July 10, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (**)

The newest Pirates film boasts a title that's about as long as it's running time. People always complain about the length of films, but the truth is: if it's a good film, it doesn't matter how long you're sitting there. Dead Man's Chest is not a good film. In fact, it just barely passes muster as a mediocre film. And that's a real shame too. I liked the first Pirates a lot. I loved Johnny Depp, and probably loved the fact that he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow even more. When the original film came out back in July 2003, it was a breath of fresh air in a summer chock full of remakes and sequels. And now here we are three years later, and Pirates has spawned its own exhausting sequel. Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer are back behind the camera (as director and producer, respectively) and this is a gorgeous-looking movie. The production values are top notch and it's obvious that every dollar spent is shown up there on screen. The special effects are amazing as well, particularly the character of Davy Jones. He's an amazing mix of CG, make-up, and Bill Nighy's spectacular character work. I was captivated everytime he was on screen, just trying to figure out how the filmmakers pulled it off. And there is a great island escape scene toward the beginning of the film, where Cap'n Jack is turned into a human shish kabob. In fact, I was really enjoying the movie up through that point, but boy, does it go downhill from there. The story of Dead Man's Chest is erratic and unfocused. There's a bit too much going on, and it's going on really slow. I kept looking at the screen, begging--no, praying--that the movie would do something interesting, but it never does. There's a big fight scene at the end on a giant rolling wheel, but there's no drama, no danger. Depp and Orlando Bloom's Will Turner are having a three-way fight with the original film's Davenport, but we don't really care. We know these three characters aren't really going to do anything to each other, so why have them fight? The movie ends on a cliffhanger, setting up part 3, which was filmed at the same time as this one. I want to say it leaves you wanting to see the third film right away, and if the movie had done it right, we all would have. As it is, Dead Man's Chest is just punishingly long at 2 hours and 40 minutes. Any enthusiasm you had about the Pirates franchise has been pummelled out of you by the end of this one. Yo Ho? Yo Ho Hum.


At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erik Says:

I caught some of Depp talking about Pirates II on some show. One, he might take himself too seriously. Two, he really pushed the idea that Pirates is soley character driven (not so evident in the second movie, I say). Third, I'm still interested to seeing 3 (unlike Matrix 3, which I saw under duress).

At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just saw the movie today. First, the special effects were awesome. Besting Superman and X3 this summer. But... effects alone cannot carry a movie. And I REALLY wanted to like this movie. Speaking of Superman and X3, I was really hoping they'd be great and both were disappointing. Today I thought my luck would change, but alas, no dice. The movie was WAY too long, it never went anywhere, and as it progressed I cared LESS and less about each character. When Depp gets swallowed in the end, I actually hoped he wouldn't be in the next one. I actually came to dislike the characters the further the movie went on. Sparrow may be funny, but let's face it: he's an a$$hole! He keeps screwing people over and they want to SAVE him in the end? Who would go to the end of the world to save the jerk that keeps leaving you behind to die? Legolas, a word of advice: leave the sparrow to die. Alone. Then dump your fiancee because she doesn't like you anymore. She, like many 16-year-olds, likes the a$$hole. And then there's the end: they had no more new ideas they are bringing BACK the character they killed in the first one. Come on guys... all that money in the budget and you can't come up with a new character. LAME. Will I see the 3rd one? Sadly, yes. For the same reason I saw Matrix 3. I'll hold out hope that they'll try to get it right for the final chapter.

At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops. Sorry, John. The last one was mine and I forgot to put my name on it -- Brian.


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