Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

I haven’t been keeping up with my film news, so I walked into this film not realizing that it pulls a Matrix Reloaded at the end, i.e. it doesn’t end. It’s two-and-a-half hours of lead-up to a big cliffhanger. They don’t actually roll “To Be Continued” ahead of the end credits, but they might as well have done.

I DON’T LIKE THIS STYLE OF FILM MAKING. If you’re going to tell a story in that way, make it into a big-budget mini-series for TV, or string it out for a whole season. A week between episodes, I can just about handle (although I’m much more likely to watch it on DVD). But don’t make me wait a whole fucking year to find out how it ends. I don’t have that kind of patience. I’m happy to come back to the cinema again and again for more stories about the same characters (e.g. Bond, Mission Impossible, Harry Potter), but give me a nice self-contained story with a beginning, middle, and an end.

That said, the film is amusing enough for its duration. The word I couldn’t get out of my head while I was watching it was “spectacle”. The production values are astounding. The action sequences are brilliantly staged, combining thrills and laughs in equal measure. The make-up and effects for Davy Jones and his crew are grotesque and seamless. This is what a big-budget film should look like: absolutely fantastic.

But to counterbalance that, the script is lacklustre, and the characters are weak. The separated lovers are bland and devoid of on-screen chemistry, and even Captain Jack Sparrow with all his swagger isn’t as engaging the second time round. The themes driving the story are greed and desire, and it’s only towards the end that other elements such as honour, duty, and an emotionally significant betrayal start to creep in around the edges. It’s a good thing that is such a spectacle, because otherwise it would be a pretty soulless affair.

I only hope that the next episode (Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, due in 2007) will somehow justify having used all of this one as an extended opening sequence.

One thought on “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

  1. Richard Brunton

    I agree Martin, I did hate that too. There is no pay off in this movie whatsoever, and the inclusion of scenes which are blatant adverts for the new ride were also a bit jarring.

    I found the Sparrow character somewhat watered down from the first movie, although he had a few moments.

    Souless it is, until the last 20-30 minutes, but the big budget entertainment value distracts you from all these faults enough for it to stay the distance.

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