Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – 2 Stars (Average)
Personally, a disappointment for me (this is why I write these reviews, so you can get another perspective).
This 2006 sequel was released three years after The Curse of the Black Pearl, and not a lot was accomplished.
I admit that my expectations of this sequel were simply too high. With the original as a standard, this sequel fell short, way too short.
The same writers I liked in the original I liked less in this sequel, perhaps because their marching orders were to write the script to flow easily into a third production, and, God forbid, a fourth and fifth offering. Ditto for Director Gore Verbinski.
There is this thing about sequels, and Rocky is the perfect example. The original Rocky was simply great, and every sequel after the original was worse and worse. Rocky is the only film, and I mean only, that I ever sat through where, at the end of the film in the fight sequence, at least a third of the theater audience was so caught up in the story line they were standing and screaming (guys, of course).
Back to Dead Man’s Chest: The story line was not as clear, the flow of the action was not as smooth, the sword fight in the tumbling wheel might have been spectacular but I far preferred the original’s sword fight in the blacksmith shop, and the hanging baskets between the cliffs was over the top, not to mention Captain Jack Sparrow as a fawned-over chief, good grief (enough).
What happened? First, the original was centered around Captain Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp’s performance, the sequel saw Depp in a far lesser and more confused role.
Second, the good thing going on between Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) becomes fractured and convoluted for the sake of script alone.
Third, the beauty and grace of Keira Knightley vanishes as if she were dressed and cast from the remains of a dumpster behind a K-Mart.
Fourth, the ending (to set up the next sequel) was so contrived, messy and unclear, it was frankly upsetting.
And now for the good news, pockets were lined at the expense of art and execution as the film becomes the 6th best grossing film in the USA ($418 million and counting) and tops $1 billion worldwide (yes, $1 billion, as in a million dollars 1,000 times).
I believe release of The Curse of the Black Pearl first did wonders to set up Dead Man’s Chest to make the kind of money it has. No wonder they will be pumping out more sequels like a production line, but they won’t, repeat won’t, be better films.
Somewhere talent has to meet art and it is not here. Proof again why action flicks can go downhill in a hurry, just like that stupid, spinning wheel. I was lucky I didn’t die before that sequence mercifully ended, there was too much action and not enough depth, emotion, sense of character and focus on relationships.
And yes, the next sequel was already in the can before this one was released, kind of like the writing on a weekly sit-com going downhill as the season progresses.