Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest came out in 2006 and is the sequel to 2003's hit, Curse of the Black Pearl. The cast of the last movie returns, with a few additions in the roles of Davy Jones and his crew.
Considering the fact that Disney made an entire sub-studio to release Tron under, the level of dark imagery contained within is surprising, due to the fact that they value their family friendly image so much.
But they did give us The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Snow White, three movies which are even now, still unsettling to me.
So maybe it's not a big surprise that it contains a man with an octopus instead of a face and his crew of men-turned sea-monsters (Which are still some of the most bizarre looking animals in existence) as well as cannibals, a cancerous and herniated heart, and a kraken that makes all classical depictions look like plush Cthulu's.
So the plot is as follows: Jack, following the events of the first movie has gone missing, and even though Will Turner and Elisabeth Swann were cleared of all charges at the end of the first movie, a greedy member of the East India Trading Company, Lord Cutler Beckett blackmails them into stealing Jack's compass. The compass points to what you most wish to have, and everyone knows how valuable that would be, even these days. So Will, noble as he is decides to risk his life to save his lady love and get the compass.
He runs into Jack and the crew of the Black Pearl on an island inhabited with cannibals, who think that Jack is a god.
So far, I liked it. It's still intriguing, it's still funny and still has entertaining action. Jack is still as goofy and unpredictable as ever, Will is still too noble for his own good and Elisabeth still holds her own against the world.
The new character, Davy Jones, does his job of being the most intimidating entity in the entire movie very well.
Despite the title, the quest for the chest in question doesn't start for a while, and the way they switch tracks is masterfully executed. I have to say, the special effects are still as astounding as they were in the first movie. From beginning to end in fact. While the movie does end on a massive cliffhanger, it's still pretty cool to watch, and it left me wondering what was going to happen in the next movie.
Despite Davy Jones being completely CGI, I would have sworn that it was a great makeup job enhance by CG. It's astounding how realistic the effects looked in it even in 2006. Which makes it all the more intolerable when movies these days have horrible CGI compared to that of, for instance, the first Pirates movie. Considering how a lot of movies special effects don't hold up over time, this is a good example of how to put your effects together. Now, the plot is again something you could almost ignore entirely. The thing is, I didn't. I actually really enjoyed it. For some reason I found Dead Man's Chests' plot compelling enough that there wasn't a single moment of the movie that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. Same as with Curse of the Black Pearl. There's a strange air about the Pirates movies that makes them so easy to enjoy everything that they are. I doubt I've had this much fun watching any other series of movies. Never once did it seem like a bloated mess, nor did it seem a chore to watch. It's just as good as the first movie, and in some ways may even be better. The villains are fun to hate, the heroes are fun to love and Jack is still as ambiguous a character as ever. He's essentially the definition of Chaotic Neutral and embodies that with everything he does. The fact that he's self-serving and greedy makes him a good counterpoint to Will Turner, an upstanding and noble man who dares to challenge everything corrupt and evil that crosses his path. For that matter, Jack also makes a good counterpart to Elisabeth, someone who is just as brave as Will is, but is completely willing to use subterfuge to her advantage. So we have Will, who is lawful good. Elisabeth, who is Chaotic Good, Jack, who is Chaotic Neutral, and a cast of villains whose personalities tend to border on Chaotic Evil, but whose actions can range from Lawful Evil to Neutral Good, which leads to an interesting story.
All in all, I really liked watching it and I loved writing about it. It was so much fun to remember it all, and I'm looking forward to writing up the next two. I give Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest an 8.7* rating.
If you want, you can check out my review of Curse of the Black Pearl.
Check out for my review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End.