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Monday, July 10, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Almost 3 years later to the day, I saw the follow up to Pirates of the Caribbean, at the same theater, with the same expectations. My wife and those standing in the huge line were excited. In fact, I hadn’t seen a line like this in years. I went opening day but all 4 screens were sold out. Went the second day but all 4 screens were sold out. Went the third day, a Sunday afternoon, and guess what? Only 2 screens were sold out when we arrived. After dinner, a cold ice cream mix, and some 2 hours later we went to the sold out show.

It takes a lot for me to pay a full price, plus purchase dinner and ice cream prior to the movie. There were so many people seeing the movie, that if you showed up 15 minutes prior to the start of the trailers, you were in trouble. People in groups of 3 wouldn’t have room to sit together, and individuals in groups of 2 wouldn’t have a good seat. It made those of us who got there 45 minutes early glad we did.

Pirates is the #1 movie in America this week. I anticipate it will be next week, and the week after. There is something about Johnny Depp that audiences love, and the Disney Magic appears to be back, not just in the opening sequences but in the audience and family oriented style of movie.

In 2003 I was the only reviewer at Hollywood Jesus to review this movie. This year I am one of many, the phenomena of Captain Jack Sparrow has traveled far and wide. I was pleased that Johnny Depp used a tag from my original review on his web site. I had stated: “If ever a pirate matched up to the reputation portrayed to the images of my childhood it would be good ol', Captain Jack Sparrow.” That tag line among others was used. It is ironic looking back on that review I see the comments regarding the quirky nature of Johnny Depp, and make a comparison to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. A role he would play some 2 years later and unknowing to me or anyone else at the time.

This movie is if nothing else for me a trip down memory lane. As are most trips down memory lane, we often realize the original experience is much nicer than the second time around.

Dead Man’s Chest starts off shortly after the conclusion of the original Pirates. Captain Jack is on his own, aboard the Black Pearl, and Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom, and Elizabeth Swan, played by Keira Knightley are about to be married. As is usual in pirate stories, things don’t work out quite as expected. Through a series of events, Will and Elizabeth have to put off their wedding and Captain Jack has his own run in with the evil ghost pirate, Davy Jones.

Dead Man’s Chest is filled with enough Special Effects and C.G.I. to make a powder keg explode! From the opening scenes to the closing sequences, there is enough action to keep you focused for the duration of the 2 ½ hours of the movie. If looking for a action packed good time, this is the movie to see this summer.

Dead Man’s Chest addresses other themes, many spiritual. The aspect of love, eternity, and a price to pay for sin is addressed in the sub-plots surrounding Davy Jones and his crew. There is also the themes of family and love that are portrayed between the relationship surrounding Will Turner and his father. The film addresses some of these messages in comical ways such as a scene where two characters, Pintel and Ragetti are rowing a boat towards an island. Along the way, Pintel says to Ragetti who is thumbing through the pages of a Bible, trying to understand it, “You don’t even know how to read!” Ragetti replies, “It’s the Bible. You get credit for trying.” It is the concept of trying that Dead Man’s Chest gives credence and credit to.

We see characters, who continually fail, virtually every character for that matter, we see the intent and effort take place throughout the script. Some try to accomplish things for good reasons, but most have selfish intent. The selfish intent gets each character in trouble.

One of the nice things about this movie, is we see characters change. We see Captain Jack as being a much deeper character. While he contemplates his own selfish ambition, he also is willing to sacrifice himself when it matters. He has an unspeakable love of more than just the sea, and we see glimpses of that in this film.

Dead Man’s Chest is well worth seeing. I enjoyed it, but I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first movie. It is wide open for the sequel and I anticipate I will be at the theater early to see it when released. I found myself wanting more in the character of Captain Jack though; if anything the producers and director focused more on the action than they did story. I enjoyed it though and will see it again.

Now on a closing note, also going down memory lane; a part of memory lane is the retelling of my last paragraph of the Pirates review that is just as true for this movie as it was for the first. Here goes, “…for future reference, don't ever leave the theater until the credits are finished rolling, for those that left early in this movie, you missed the true ending of this story, ha ha, serves you right! Now you will have to pay again unless you can get someone to tell you, but it won't be me.

Now, on a scale of 1-10, while not quite as good as the first which received a 9, it is still pretty darned good, I’ll give a enjoyable 7.5

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