So, saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest last night. Now, I was the guy rooting for my little group to go see the original – the trailer involved pirates! And zombies! Undead zombie pirates! How could it possibly fail? Well, it didn’t – while some films would have been content with pirates, this one went for zombie pirates. And while most actors would have played a pirate, Johnny Depp played Keith Richards playing a pirate. That’s all kinds of awesome right there. I keep comparing Curse of the Black Pearl to The Princess Bride, in that it takes a fairly stale, stereotypical genre and goes nuts with it.
Dead Man’s Chest, on the other hand, wants to be The Empire Strikes Back, and I think that’s why it’s not quite as successful as the original. There’s a bit too much separating of the main characters, which means they can’t play off each other – Orlando Bloom gets to be a standard action hero rather than Depp’s straight man (and it doesn’t help that Bloom’s best line is seen in the trailer but not the final film). The best bits of DMC are where the gang’s all together, notably a three way sword fight and Keira looking exasperated as the plot develops around the oblivious male leads. There are some great scenes, some quality Depp action, and some nice effects, but it doesn’t all come together into a totally satisfactory whole, rather a stonking great trailer for next year’s conclusion to the trilogy.
But that seems to be damning, and that’s unfair. There are some bits I loved, namely:
– The line about the monkey. You’ll know it when you hear it
– Depp, Bloom and Knightly are all good
– Bill Nighy plays a squid-faced bad guy really well. But that’s Bill Nighy, one of the coolest guys on Earth
– The bit with the cannibals.
– “Jar of dirt!”
– Lots of Wile E. Coyote bits. Captain Jack Sparrow is effectively a Warner Bros cartoon come to life
– That little guy? On Jack’s crew? I’ve just realised where I know him from. He’s the Janitor’s friend on Scrubs!
– Nice twist at the end
– And some other stuff I’ve probably forgotten
– Keira looked good in that hat
So yeah, not as good as the original but by no means a waste of time. Next week’s the real clincher though – SUPERMAN RETURNS! At some point, for some reason, I think I may weep…