Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man`s Chest
I keep my Secret Window paycheck in here
There’s not much to heckle about this movie. It just wants to make me happy, and it gives me a hyper-animated Bill Nighy and Naomie Harris, and it is willing to maim, kill and destroy any element or cast member in order to do it. So how does it miss?
Kyem to mee, I blouwe yer mine wit mee accent…
Let’s look at the animated Beauty and the Beast, for starters. If you go back and watch it, you`ll notice everything happens at top speed — character and story beats just piled on toppa each other like stuff in an ALDI cart — with only the occasional musical break to let something breathe. It’s like BAM prologue BAM introduce BAM exposit BAM castle BAM dad’s a prisoner BAM your Belle’s a prisoner BAM BAM BAM all the way through.
Bruce Campbell checks his shave
But you can’t deny that it works. Don’t even start. You can’t. Freakin` ballroom scene pwns me every time. So it is possible to throw around a lot of exposition and plow through your story at 90 miles an hour and give nobody no breathin` room and still make it work.
But what does Beauty and the Beast have going for it that Pirates doesn’t? That could be a long list, but the three biggies are 1) character arcs, 2) a single, clear narrative thread, and 3) it’s 90 minutes long.
Pirates? No dice.
Help! Twenty minutes of irrelevant narrative!
Character? Jack’s winning, Will is bland.
Mmm, I`ll take vanilla
Lizzie Swann a-a-a-almost does something interesting and believable — choose rakish but smelly Jack over one-note-wonder Will — but then you find out it’s just a trick.
- Staying on point? Try TWO over-the-top hamster-wheel set pieces.
Under these conditions, when things happen WAY TOO FAST — like the movie introduces a dice game so Will can IMMEDIATELY play it, in order to find where Davy keeps his key (OMG bet a dollar it’s in that wacky beard) and then IMMEDIATELY goes into Davy’s unlocked quarters, where he happens to be asleep sitting up, and IMMEDIATELY takes the key while squandering any chance to show finesse or strategy — it’s just dumb. If foreshadowing is planting a seed to bear fruit later, this movie just pulls out seeds and eats `em and wonders why it feels so empty later.
Mm, I give you about ten years before you hit the wall
- I still don’t know how the dice game is played. But I know Will could have benefited from *trying* to win, and if his dad was going to screw it up anyway, he could have just played his dad for his freedom. Whatevs.
The story is a big jibbering mess, despite every character’s efforts to explain to each other what is happening, repeatedly. I still left asking, “Why does the powdered-wig dude who looks like whassisface from Buffy want the chest?
Does he really want the chest? Seems like the compass that tells you where to find the thing you want mostest is a sufficiently compelling thing to want — you`d think out of a fantastic supernatural Caribbean world there would be something PWD wants mostest other than the chest, quite a coinkydink, but double whatevs.”
The thing you want the most is in my pants?
- I found it dishonest that the first Kraken kill is so swift and complete, and then when the Kraken comes for our hero it toys around forever. Lemme flop my vulnerable tentacles all over everywhere while I have the power to crack your ship in half and eat it. What. Evs.
I know the Caribbean isn’t too terribly huge, but I still would have liked understanding how locations related to each other. They’re on cannibal island, then follow a river inland to visit Naomie Harris` voodoo hottie (convenient she lives in Cannibaltown).
Then they tear all over creation and suddenly at the end everyone Jack Sparrow ever met is back at Naomie’s house. Who? Huh? How?
Shit. I always miss the driveway
Not that this movie doesn’t have the charm of the first one. The same humor is there, and the same fascinating visuals, and it’s patently inoffensive. Plus it gets a heap of happy points for paying homage to gags from the first one. It’s just stretched too thin by trying to do too much. I think.
Gah, another rewrite? This is worse than Tomorrow Never Dies
I`m glad I saw it in the theater, because it needs the big screen to do it justice, and it never could have held my attention on TV. I wouldn’t buy it, but I would watch it if one of my housemates had it. So for that I guess it ranks right around the first X-Men.
I give it two Famkes.
Out of five possible
Wait. Now that I look at these pictures I`m reminded of how incredifabulobeautiful the cinematography was. Look at these pictures. Look at them! Now go to IMDb and look at more. Special Famke for Dariusz Wolski: