Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Walt Disney Studios, PG-13)

You already know if you'll like this movie or not, I'll wager, and I'll also bet that I will have a difficult time convincing you of anything other than your predisposition to it.

 

 

When reviewing a film such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the question always comes up regarding just how relevant my opinion is. And really, in this case, as in many others, it is only relevant if you find yourself unfailingly agreeing or disagreeing with me, as you can accurately gauge whether or not you'll like it, and even then it only matters if you're on the fence regarding seeing this movie. You already know if you'll like this movie or not, I'll wager, and I'll also bet that I will have a difficult time convincing you of anything other than your predisposition to it.

The ongoing existential crisis of the film reviewer aside, Dead Man's Chest does exactly what it wants to do, and does it well: It upholds the high summer popcorn movie standard set by the first, gives Johnny Depp lots of time and space to prance around in, and is generally satisfying in its empty calorie kind of way. Admittedly, I was not much a fan of the original Pirates of the Caribbean, but that was more the result of being irritated at everyone fawning all over themselves about how good Johnny Depp was in it—he's always that good in every single movie he's ever done in his entire career, people; why single this one out?—and not any real fault of the film's. I like Dead Man's Chest just as much as I liked the original, minus the factor of being frustrated with the unnecessarily focused overhyping of the film.

The plot of Dead Man's Chest is as incomprehensible to the casual watcher as the first, but undoubtedly as epic as its hardcore fans. It involves something regarding Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) trying to find a chest with the ghost Davy Jones' (Bill Nighy) still-beating heart in it in order to pay back a debt. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) get roped into the mess because they can't get married unless they get something from Sparrow. It doesn't matter, as the plot is merely a vehicle for the film to present a bunch of goofy action sequences, and these sequences are the heart of the movie both for me and presumably for people like those who adore the films and their mythology. Even better is that most of these sequences work both in being funny and being at least marginally thrilling (Depp running around with a giant pole on his back and a swordfight that takes place on top of a spinning water wheel are particular standouts).

Aside from the fact that it all works, the only thing that really seems to warrant a mention in a review of the film is that, surprisingly, Disney has let it sneak through a little scarier than I would have thought they would have, and there are certain scenes (an eye plucking, some cannibalism) that seem likely to give younger audience members nightmares. For those of us who are over the age of six, though, Chest will give you plenty of Depp, if that's what you're going for—and really, what else would you go for?

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