Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

“What bodes ill for Jack, is bad for us all.”

Director Gore Verbinski (The Ring, Mousehunt) returns to helm the seaworthy sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer wisely retain most of the cast and crew, including ace cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and composer Hans Zimmer, who makes another amazing musical score, including some new organ-filled interludes.

The strong filmmaking talents boost the stellar cast’s performance even higher. Johnny Depp makes another grand entrance as Captain Jack Sparrow, the famous and most wanted pirate. Jack navigates his way through danger in typical pirate fashion yielding his unique mix of comedy, action, drama and intelligence. Jack’s skillful, mostly lucky, avoidance might come to a halt as he faces a tough personal challenge that reveals his true moral center.

Depp still holds strong attention as he shares a surprising amount of screen time with young co-stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom. Bloom returns as Will Turner, an honorable gentleman who continues to show his love for Elizabeth, as their relationship faces new challenges. Knightley returns as Miss Swann, one of the strongest female roles currently in film.

Bill Nighy (Love Actually) makes a great villain as Davy Jones. “Life is cruel. Why would the afterlife be any different?” he says. The expanded British soldier roles, including Norrington, played by Tom Hollander (Pride and Prejudice) and Elizabeth’s father, Governor Weatherby, played by Jonathan Pryce (Evita) include another antagonist named Norrington, played by Jack Davenport.

Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting) and Naomie Harris (After the Sunset) also have sympathetic and important functional roles. Returning screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio add some misdirection, more dark curses/logistics and a hilarious pirate recruitment sequence in a plot that’s a bit more situational driven than the previous film.

This 2 hours and 30 minute pirate picture comes highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) for the excellent entertainment value and is rated PG-13 for violence, mystical themes and some frightening images. Be sure to stay until after the ending credits for an additional scene. Don’t look at the full cast list – you’ll get a pleasant character surprise by the end.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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