Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

I never quite bought into the hype of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The concept of a movie based on a theme park ride was a bit ridiculous in my mind, but at 11:59 pm on Thursday night, I found myself in a sold out movie theater waiting for the first showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest to begin.

Although I hadn’t seen the entire first movie (don’t worry- I intend to go back and watch it!) the sequel pretty much stands alone. The movie starts off with two of the main characters, William Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) preparing to be married. Their wedding is stopped, however, when both are thrown into prison for helping the infamous pirate, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), in the previous film. Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) offers to set William free- but only if William can retrieve something that Jack Sparrow has.

The movie really begins at this point. William goes out to find Jack, while Elizabeth breaks out of prison to catch up with her fiance. Meanwhile, Jack discovers that he owes a blood debt to the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), and has to give up his soul, or find 100 others to give him in return.

Dead Man’s Chest has several other side plots to keep the movie going, which contributes to the 2 1/2 hour running time. However, each minute is a delight, and as with the first movie, Johnny Depp truly does shine. He brings the character of Jack Sparrow to life, with witty lines (“I was nothing more than an almost innocent bystander”) and lots of charisma and quirkiness. Orlando Bloom also does a terrific job, though half of the theater seemed to just be swooning over his boyish good looks. The real treat is the chemistry between Keira Knightley and Depp; the two made their on screen relationship very believable and the tension between them in some scenes was fantastic.

Of course, being an action/adventure movie, there were a lot of fighting scenes. I usually find such scenes boring, but even the sword fighting scenes proved interesting in the film. The movie also delivers a lot of comedic relief. There were several laugh out loud moments, and a few times I kept laughing long past the joke/scene. One of the side plots (which I won’t give away for the sake of those who haven’t seen the movie yet) was quite sentimental, and I found myself tearing up. A few of the scenes involving Davy Jones were actually a bit scary– well, enough so that I jumped up in my seat.

The special effects were top notch. A lot of the action and fighting scenes were very realistic, and the shots of the ocean were particularly good. The costumes and sets were also superb. The makeup for Davy Jones and his crew was probably the best; the close up shots of Davy’s gang of human/sea were absolutely cringe-worthy because of how disgustingly real the characters looked.

All in all, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was a great movie. If you’re looking for action and adventure, the swashbuckling pirates definitely deliver in that category. If you want a good laugh, look no further than Depp’s performance, and Bloom and Knightley bring a bit of romance and sentimentality to the film. Even though it’s a Disney film, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children to watch alone, but it’s definitely one for the family to see together.

And if you’re still shocked over the cliffhanger…Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is slated to be released next summer.

Rating: 5_stars.svg


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