Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Memorable and Captivating.
Yo ho ho, me mateys! When it came to Pirates of the Caribbean and my initial viewings of all four films, one of my least favorites was the second film, Dead Man’s Chest, for being the middle man. I didn’t really like it because I don’t think I felt satisfied with the film. It hinted plenty of plot elements for the third film, and didn’t really achieve as much as you would like it to as a standalone story…you had to watch the third in order to finish it. Now while a part of that may still be true, I found myself actually liking the film a bit better this time around after really keeping an eye on important parts of the film.
This had a lot to do, obviously, with Dead Man’s Chest, which was a chest owned by Davy Jones himself. Inside the chest held Davy Jones’ still-beating heart, so anyone that gets a hold of this has the ability to control Davy Jones in some form or another, or can kill him (obviously). The film begins with Jack searching for the key to the chest, because he has a debt to pay with Davy Jones, and his time has run out. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is going to be hung for her efforts to help convicted pirate, Jack Sparrow, escape his death sentence. Off Will goes, to find Jack, because to free Elizabeth, he must trade her freedom with Jack’s magical compass. Jack agrees if Will helps him find the Chest.
Once again, we are faced with another super long movie with goals coming from all direction…but thankfully, they all correlate to the same thing – the chest. Will wants the chest to save Elizabeth, and then wants it to free his imprisoned father. Elizabeth ultimately wants the chest to save Will. Jack wants the chest to settle his debt with Davy Jones. Norrington returns in this film, also seeking the chest to be accepted back into society. Davy Jones wants the chest to save himself. Even though that’s a lot to keep track of, you know it all depends on this one object, which single-handedly turns a plot that could have been messy into a very solidly-placed plot. Because of this, I don’t have to worry about who is the main character like the first film, because it’s not as much of an issue.
The film begins, as the first one did, with a very very similar plot. Will has to save Elizabeth, and to do that he must enlist the help of Jack, who then turns it around and forces Will’s hand to help himself before he thinks about helping Will. Then, somewhere midway, the plot switches gears, and suddenly it’s Elizabeth that needs Jack’s help…but the same applies for her…only with some really strangely-placed flirtation between the two. The main characters are pretty evenly spread between the three, and the character development felt more rounded out this time than before. That, I am happy with.
I am also happy with how many iconic moments are in this film. So many memorable scenes including the swinging cage, the Jack on a pole, the bar fight, Tia Dalma, the Kraken scenes, the really long and epic sword battle between Jack, Norrington, and Will. Even Davy Jones as a villain is really memorable (and looks really realistic), the entire end scene hinting at the third’s plot, and of course….the musical score as Hans Zimmer steps in to take over. I remember loving this soundtrack so much I had to put the songs on my MP3 player…or CD player, I can’t remember which back in 2006. I can truthfully say I like this soundtrack more than the first…which somewhat surprises me.
There really is a lot to this film that I actually like more than the original film…but there’s always going to be stuff to complain about. This isn’t the first film, so a lot of the character development that made us love the characters before is more washed out here as they tried to recreate the same type of jokes as before. It also doesn’t work as a standalone film, you do need to watch the third film in order to get satisfaction from the second. Movies really shouldn’t end with cliffhangers, because the reasons as to watching the film are disappointing more often than not. I can’t say particularly why…but trust me…there are things you wish to have seen happen not happen and things you wish didn’t happen that did; particularly, the flirtatious scenes between an engaged Elizabeth Swann and Jack Sparrow. That felt wrong, and I couldn’t really understand who would really want to see anything more come of that. That just takes even more focus off of Will, who is just as important to the story as Jack. We don’t need a love triangle here, Disney, this isn’t Twilight.
Anyways, I did like Dead Man’s Chest this time around, because I finally realized how many scenes are actually really unforgettable when giving it a chance. It’s memorable, heart-racing, and the musical score is unrelentingly epic. I definitely approve this film as fitting in with the necessary films of the Pirates of the Caribbean collection.