Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Pirates of the Carribean:Dead Man's Chest

OK, this movie is pure fun. We were perfectly prepared, on a hot summer's day, to enjoy two and a half hours of spectacular stunts, fight scenes, and special effects, plot or no plot. However, I'm not going to say, check your brain at the door, though. You can ignore the critics who say that the movie is made up of a hodge-podge of fragmented plots. Instead, the plot is a variation on "The Maltese Falcon;" everyone ends up wanting the "Dead Man's Chest" for the power its contents will give them over the dark master of the sea, Davy Jones. They all have their own reasons and motives, but that doesn't work out to separate plotlines. Interestingly enough, there's actual character development: in Jack's case, it's mostly a continued metamorphosis into a sort of Bugs Bunny in Pirate Sam's clothes, but he shows a bit more of a piratically treacherous side as well. --As do other characters. When Jack gives his "come on over to my side" ("Come to the dark side, young Jedi,") speech to Elizabeth, we just know it's going to come back to bite him later. And it's a real change to see the officious yet honorable Norrington do a Jeykll-Hyde turn and revert to the vicious bastard we always felt was lurking within.

Although this is a rather darker piece than the previous, there are some subtle reminders that this is a Disney picture: in particular, there are several visual references to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," including Davy Jones' pipe organ in the hold of the "Flying Dutchman," the "Dutchman's" spiky beak, the first Kraken tentacle attack, and a later sea-level view of the Kraken bearing down on its prey which lacked only the glowing "eye" lantern to be Nemo's "Nautilus" attacking. There are some other classical tropes as well: the cannibal island has very similar geography to King King's "Skull Island" with its pheonomenal gorges and cliffs. The writers also borrow other fun bits as well: Bill Nighy's delivery of his lines as Davy Jones sometimes seems to echo the "Bridge-keeper" from Monty Python. I could just see him hissing, "What is your quest?" And Pintel and Ragetti (the comic relief pirates) escape from prison to rejoin the crew and keep up a dialog that is part Monty Python, and part Vladimir and Estragon.

The new characters are worthy additions to the old gang. Nighy is wonderful as Jones, Naomie Harris is both attractive and creepy as Tia Dalma, the obeah woman, and Tom Hollander does a good job as the "new man" Cutler Beckett, who inititates the trouble this time around.

I don't have trouble with this being a middle movie and not really ending: I only hate having to wait a year for the next installment.
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