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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Keira Knightley
Orlando Bloom
Johnny Depp
Stellan Skarsgard
Bill Nighy
Jack Davenport.
Directors
Gore Verbinski.
Screenwriters
Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio.
Running Time
minutes

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Pirates Of The Caribbean Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Keira, Orlando and Johnny return for the Pirate sequel.


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Plot
Just as they’re about to be wed, Eilzabeth (Knightley) and Will (Bloom) are clapped in irons by East India honcho Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) for aiding the escape of one Jack Sparrow (Depp). Beckett makes Will an offer: bring Jacks’ compass to him, and he’ll free Elizabeth. Jack, meanwhile, is having his own problems, with tentacled nasty Davy Jones (Nighy).


Review
Pirates Of The Caribbean Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
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Everybody loves it when a sequel reunites the original cast. From The Empire Strikes Back through to X-Men 2, the reinvigoration of winning team dynamics has ensured follow-ups that, at the very least, match their predecessors. But here’s a possibly controversial, certainly upsetting, proposition: Pirates 2, aka Dead Man’s Chest, would have benefited by jettisoning much of the original cast, and following Captain Jack into different waters.
       
It’s not so much that putting Johnny, Keira and Orlando back together is inherently a mistake. It’s rather that the plot contortions required to get them – along with Jack Davenport’s Norrington and Mackenzie Crook and Lee Arenberg’s comic-relief cut-throats – in the same frame leaves Dead Man’s Chest convoluted and stumbling, zigzagging its way forward over a too-long runtime. Sure, such a dazed swagger is neatly consistent with its lead character’s now trademark, drunken-sailor gait, but a more direct route would have been far, far better.
 
Why, for example, bother writing Crook and Arenberg back into the story? Couldn’t writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio have found a fresh source of buffoonery? Norrington, meanwhile, is given a whole diversion-creating sub-story that is wholly unnecessary. And as for the main plot, the exposition is forever muffled. This is partly due to the fact that in some scenes you’re straining to hear what people are saying because Zimmer’s busy score is so high in the mix. But with director Gore Verbinski rushing so much to get everything rolling and everyone together, he often leaves us behind to play catch up with our brains and figure out what the hell is going on.
 
There is fortunately a good side to all these plot complications and confusions: with pretty much every main character following their own agenda (surrounding the contents of the titular container, which is linked to Nighy’s Davy Jones) we don’t get the predictable ‘all friends together on the same quest’ structure, and there’s a surfeit of surprises, crosses and double-crosses and cheeky character beats which stay true to the original’s anti-heroic sense of fun. After all, Jack Sparrow //is// a pirate, a bad guy in a hero’s hat, a man driven by self-gain over concern for the greater good, who will run away from a fight and cheat his ‘friends’ without a second’s thought.
 
Even without the surprise value, Depp is once again an unmitigated joy as Captain Sparrow, delivering another eye-darting, word-slurring turn with some wonderful slapstick flourishes. Indeed, Rossio and Elliot smartly exploit these in some wonderful action set-pieces, the best seeing Jack attempting to escape from a cannibal village while tied to a pole that’s also skewering a selection of exotic fruits, and hurtling down a chasm Wile E. Coyote style.
 
Such inventiveness is also apparent once we’re on board Davy Jones’ slimy, barnacle-smothered ship The Flying Dutchman. While some of his bizarre, aquatic crewmembers suffer from obvious-CG-itis, Jones himself is a flawless creation, all dripping tentacles and twitching mannerisms, complemented effectively by Bill Nighy’s harsh Hibernian whisper.
 
Yet as a //character// he’s no match for Geoffrey Rush’s Barbarossa, proving a far less textured – and fun – bad guy. And that’s an important word: fun. It’s what made the first movie fly, and what this instalment lacks. Much has already been made of a similarity to The Empire Strikes Back – hardly an original move for a Part Two – and the gloomier, more serious undertones, from the devlopment of a love triangle to the downbeat climax, are not a terribly comfortable fit. Still, things may lighten up for the final chapter; here’s hoping that these pirates’ Roger becomes Jolly once more…


Verdict
Too long, and too wrapped up in its various plot contrivances to notice it’s veering off course. But Jack just about pulls the wheel back, aided by Verbinski’s flair for cartoonish comedy action.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Pirates Of The Caribbean Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Empire Star Rating

Clearly not as good as the original, but still a very strong sequel that continues the story very well, bringing in the brilliant performance of Bill Nighy as a sort of...HeWhoMustNotBeNamed character. Even more flawed and overdrawn, but still very enjoyable. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 20:29, 12 March 2013 | Report This Post


Much Better Than The First One

I never cared much for the first one, but I loved this. It was everything I'd hoped the first one would be. Fantastic. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by badsanta at 15:29, 24 June 2012 | Report This Post


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest still has the thrills and humor of the first movie, but what's gone is Depp's unpredictability and most of the originality of the first film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:49, 26 February 2012 | Report This Post


JACK IS A LEGEND!!!

One of the Best Sequels Ever ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ciaran McDaid at 11:08, 16 October 2011 | Report This Post


Slow, long and not a patch of the first

Captain Jack is back! was the claim. In truth, Jack’s ghost was all that would return for the 2006 sequel to the excellent POTC: The Curse Of the Black Pearl. The prospect of the orignal director continuing the franchise himself, with the same cast all sounds too good to be true and it ultimately was. Gore Verbinski had struck gold with Pirates, but it all seemed to go to his head and instead of understanding what it was about the first film that had worked, he fell for his own work and... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by neopol at 09:01, 03 June 2011 | Report This Post


Trading Co. Strikes Back

Interesting that Jolin's review makes the comparison to "Empire". It is similar in many ways. The main difference between the two is not length - both empire & chest are roughly 8 mins longer than their respective predecessors. The main difference is the revernce with which the material is treated. While Empire went broody and operatic, Chest remains true to it's original goal; a barrel of Rum (oops, i mean fun) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bnicholson50 at 21:04, 17 May 2011 | Report This Post


Waaaaaaaaay too long

The whole first hour set on some island filled with natives who treat Jack as a god is just pointless. For one thing the action is a little too cartoonish and you know that none of the main characters will kick the bucket this early in. The gags arent funny and the whole sequence is just silly. It also adds so much runtime onto the film without contributing to the plot at all. The rest of the film is fun adventure where Jack shines again, so if your not already put to sleep you will enjoy the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stevolegendbauer at 19:13, 11 August 2010 | Report This Post


Great movie. Orlando Bloom is great as Will Turner. The movie has truly amazing stunts and swordfighting choreography, beautiful music, very well done CGI. But the most interesting are the characters that made me POTC fan. Will, Elizabeth and Norrington are evolving characters and I find them way more interesting than Depp's Sparrow (In my opinion he was doing better than in 1st but still the acting is monochromatic and the character is way too predictable). If not for Will, Liz and Norrington t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lance1 at 18:33, 16 March 2010 | Report This Post


Pirates 2

ITS GOOOD, GO SEE IT ! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spartan24 at 11:44, 14 March 2010 | Report This Post


P.O.T.C 2

Another adventure with the crew and not forgetting Jack Sparrow, brilliant effects with Davy Jones and The Kracken more swashbuckerling fun, just cant get enough of it :) Will keep all family members entertained ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by deppfanatic at 18:30, 27 September 2009 | Report This Post


long and bloated only jack, the action and special effects pull it back

this film was long, bloated, confused and tried to walk the plank of going dark. First of it drags on way longer than it should and has about 50 subplots, the joy of the first one was its simple and 1 plot, its comedic and light hearted spirit which is only present in a few sequences here. Captain Jack is still as good as ever and the special effects and action sequences are breathtaking, amazing, adventurous and thrilling. Davy Jones is a great villain and the kraken is brilliant but apart from... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by THE DALTONATOR at 10:00, 29 January 2009 | Report This Post


Even with Captain Jack ...one of cinema's greatest creations ...this film drags badly! Don't get wrong, there are a few fun highlights ...but on the whole this is very disappointing! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SkullKassidy at 19:13, 23 September 2008 | Report This Post


FINALLY,some entertainment!

I preffered this much more to the first one.I came out of the cinema wanting to buy it on dvd. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JohnPaul1996 at 16:11, 27 June 2008 | Report This Post


I liked it

Not up there with the original, but better than most sequels ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 10:23, 23 May 2008 | Report This Post


Can't Be The First.

Oh Dear, what the hell happened?! The first was a total blockbuster after seeing it three times and enjoying every moment. But this one, I have to limt that it isn't the first and something bad has happened. What the hell is the plot? It's mixed up into big chunks with loads more people. Davy Jones is not like Captain Barbossa, he isn't got that power and tenison like he had. Sure, he is frightening but I wasn't overblown by him. The time running got longer, stupid really. But still, Johnny Depp... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 08:47, 30 April 2008 | Report This Post


Not the original, right? But, it was good, though, a little disappointing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 00:27, 22 April 2008 | Report This Post


Pirates 2

A little long, not as great as the first one but still enjoyable. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 01:56, 01 February 2008 | Report This Post


The very fine thing i like about POTC is the story and plot. it's so interesting and detailed. Anyway, better than the first, the character's are more in-depth than previously. Depp keep's his cool, making a kool na dfunny Jack Sparrow as does Bloom and Knightley. The story is fantastic and very enjoyable and increases the comedy act's ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Big Alex at 10:09, 15 August 2007 | Report This Post


The very fine thing i like about POTC is the story and plot. it's so interesting and detailed. Anyway, better than the first, the character's are more in-depth than previously. Depp keep's his cool, making a kool na dfunny Jack Sparrow as does Bloom and Knightley. The story is fantastic and very enjoyable and increases the comedy act's ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Big Alex at 10:09, 15 August 2007 | Report This Post


Better then the first

I think this one is the best in the series to be honest. The first one was too popcorny for my liking and the third get a bit confusing with all the double crossing, this was a nice mixture of both. Great action sequences, fun and some character development... or don't we want characters in films anymore? Everyone is different so watch it and make your own minds up! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by surfy at 12:44, 29 July 2007 | Report This Post


Dead Man's Chest

A disappointing sequel to the funny original. Ticks all the boxes but not as free flowing or as funny. Some of the acting is dubious and Verbinski works hard to keep us entertained. Disappointing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by qualidad at 13:28, 18 July 2007 | Report This Post


ZZZZZZZ....

This Film was such a letdown! I lost £5 and I wasted three hours of my life watching this fim. WTF is going on in it? I got Bored and restless the ending is good but thats it. Some bits are funny. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DJ Funktris at 16:11, 08 July 2007 | Report This Post


Boring and Lacks the charm of the original

Simply put this a long and boring film, its so bad that my friend who was with me can't believe me no matter how much I try to convince him that the fisrt film was actually good. IM embaressed because I was telling him how funny it will be and how good it will be before the film as I had seen the first. So put it in context its like the sequals to The Matrix. Okay it wants to become some sort of trilogy with its storyline, that doesn't mean the film has to be crap, I could think of so... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by D_DuMas at 14:41, 06 July 2007 | Report This Post


BRILLIAT FUN THIS IS JUST AS GOOD AS CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL AND AT WORLDS END ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by casino at 00:29, 31 May 2007 | Report This Post


Bigger but not better

This film felt long at times but the film has plenty of original set pieces that the third lacks ( especially that swordfight). However funny and exciting it is, it sorely lacks the lightness of touch from the original and by its ending, it feels like the guest that woudn't leave. Still, better then the third but sorely lacking the balance of the first. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ace Rothstein at 12:43, 26 May 2007 | Report This Post


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