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With the success of the first film, it wasn’t long before a sequel to “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” was made. The film was a huge box-office hit, grossing over a billion dollars worldwide. Is it as good as the first? No.
This film suffers from an incredibly complicated combination of plots as well as a very long running time. Yet, I still have to review it. Here’s the review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”.
And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!
The film starts off with an arrest for Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, once again played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, respectively. The arrest has interrupted their planned wedding and has been authorized by Lord Cutler Beckett, the chairman of the East Indian Trading Company. Beckett, played by Tom Hollander, arrests both Will and Elizabeth on charges of helping Captain Jack Sparrow escape his hanging in the previous film.
We then cut to the man himself, Captain Jack Sparrow, played once again by Johnny Depp. We find him as he apparently dodged death and escaped some bad guys or another by hiding in a coffin and paddling it on the ocean with the corpse’s ligament.
He paddles his way to his ship, the “Black Pearl”, where he shows his fellow shipmates what exactly it was that he came to steal from those heartless baddies.
What does this key unlock? Umm…we don’t know yet. So where do they head to find this key? Umm…even Jack doesn’t know that. His “magic” compass from the previous movie seems to be malfunctioning and the best thing Jack can decipher from it is to head in a
We cut back to Lord Beckett in his office where the prisoner, Will is brought to him. He decides to make a deal with Will. If Will can find Captain Jack Sparrow, obtain Jack’s compass, and bring it back to Beckett while giving Jack some official documents making him a privateer for the British Army, then Will and Elizabeth can go free. Obviously, Will accepts this offer.
Back aboard the “Black Pearl”, we see Jack Sparrow searching through the rum holds of the ship where he meets a familiar face…well, familiar to him anyway.
This man is Bootstrap Bill Turner, Will Turner’s “late” father as described in the previous film. Apparently, Bootstrap Bill, played by Stellan Skarsgård, was sent to the bottom of the ocean by the mutinous Barbossa and his crew in the previous film. But before he could die, the legendary Davy Jones made a deal with him that if he joins Davy Jones’ crew and works on his ship for 100 years, his death can be postponed. Bootstrap Bill agreed to this.
Ok, that’s not Davy Jones. We’ll see him and learn more about him later. So what is Bootstrap Bill doing on Jack’s ship? Well, Davy Jones sent him to warm Jack that his debt is about to be due. What debt? Sigh…this film has SOOOO much to explain!
Ok, apparently, Davy Jones resurrected the “Black Pearl” for Jack Sparrow in a deal that would make Jack Sparrow captain it for 13 years and now the thirteen years are up (despite the fact that Jack Sparrow was mutinied for most of that times). So, Davy Jones is sending a particular creature, a Kraken, from the depths of the sea to bring the ship back to the depths of the sea and Jack along with it. How will this creature find Jack? By a black spot that Bootstrap Bill has been sent to give Jack.
Afraid for his life, Captain Jack Sparrow tells the crew to head for land. Strangely enough, the land they head for is inhabited by some cannibalistic natives. They kill many of Jack Sparrow’s men, imprison the others in spherical cages made out of the corpses’ bones and make Jack their leader.
Being the leader, the cannibals plan to “free Jack from his earthly self” by sacrificing him. So as you can imagine, Jack Sparrow is in need of help badly. Even Will manages to reach the island in his search for Jack, but is captured by the natives and imprisoned with the other sailors as well.
Will helps the prisoners escape by swinging their cage like a pendulum to catch the mountain at the other end and climb up,
while Jack Sparrow tries to escape being dinner complete with a huge kebab stick on his back.
After a long chase scene involving the natives heading after both Jack and the prisoners wherein hilarious hijinks ensue, they all finally make it back to the “Black Pearl” and set sail…well, not too far deep into the ocean as Jack still fears the Kraken.
On the ship, Will tells Jack that he needs the compass to save his and Elizabeth’s lives. At first, Jack doesn’t accept Will’s proposition, but eventually gives in. He agrees to give Will the compass, but only if Will will find the key (that was depicted on the paper earlier) for him. Will agrees to this, but the problem remains: Where to find this particular key? To answer this question, Jack leads the men to an obeah priestess named Tia Dalma, played by Naomie Harris.
She tells them that this key can be found on Davy Jones’ person. Apparently, many years ago, Davy Jones was a regular man and in love with a woman. But when she died, he couldn’t take the pain and took out his own heart, trapped it in a chest, and buried it somewhere.
The key is the only thing that can open the dead man’s chest…so to speak!
Tia Dalma also notices Jack’s black spot and gives Jack a jar of dirt. You see, Davy Jones can only come on land once every ten years. Why is this? I dunno and don’t really care. So if Jack keeps this jar of dirt with him, then Davy Jones nor the Kraken can get him.
Finally she steers them in the correct direction to find Davy Jones and his ship, the “Flying Dutchman”. Will manages to get aboard the ship, but is caught by Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy) and his men!
Ok, all right, THIS is what he really looks like:
Before Will embarked on this quest, Jack had him that if he were to get caught, he should just tell Davy Jones that he’s here to settle Jack’s debt. Of course, Jack manages to leave out the part that his debt involves giving his soul to Davy Jones! Boy, Jack’s horrible!
Anyway once Davy Jones hears this, he magically appears before Jack and explains that how not all souls are equal and if Jack DOES want others’ souls to settle his debt, then the conversion rate is quite high!
Jack agrees to this deal, but Davy Jones questions him as to whether or not Jack has the heart to have 100 innocent people give their souls up for him.
Davy Jones removes Jack’s black spot and gives him 3 days to find these other 99 men. Where does he find these men? On the island of Tortuga where any and every man wants to be a pirate! And by any and every, we mean any and every…even good ol’ Norrington from the first movie, played once again by Jack Davenport.
Apparently, Norrington lost his job, title, position, and pretty much his life because of his earlier dealings with Jack Sparrow. So he figures nothing is left for him except to become a pirate himself. Even Elizabeth (having escaped from prison with the help of her father) joins Jack’s crew in order to find Will.
Meanwhile aboard the “Flying Dutchman”, Will comes into contact with his father. After explaining his plight, Will discovers that the key is hung around Davy Jones’
neck tentacles neck area, so he steals it while Davy Jones is sleeping. Will quickly escapes but promises to come back and rescue his father when he can.
Once realizing that Will has escaped with the key and that the chest isn’t safe, Davy Jones heads for the island where the chest is buried. Also, Jack Sparrow and crew head to the island because the compass finally works! See, Jack Sparrow wasn’t sure what he wanted which resulted in the compass not working for him. But Elizabeth knew that she wanted a way to save her love, Will from Davy Jones’ grasp. That way would be in finding the chest so that she can stab the heart and end Davy Jones once and for all. So the compass worked in her hands.
Anyway, the island is where everybody converges. Will meets up with Jack, Elizabeth, Norrington, etc. Davy Jones and company meet up with them as well and an extremely long fight sequence occurs including fighting on a waterwheel.
In the end, Norrington gets the heart and takes it to the East India Trading Company hoping to get his life back, Davy Jones plans revenge, Jack loses his jar of dirt and tells everyone to abandon the “Black Pearl” as the Kraken is about to come, and Elizabeth handcuffs Jack to the ship so that the Kraken can attack him alone and spare everyone else. Wow, that’s harsh, woman!
Jack manages to get out of the handcuffs, battles the Kraken, and apparently dies.
Later on, Will, Elizabeth, and the other pirates are mourning for Jack at Tia Dalma’s place. She quickly tells them that there is a way to bring back Jack if they all want to. And they all agree to it. The way requires a Captain though to take them to the ends of the earth, and Tia Dalma knows just the person. This is when a surprise cameo descends from the stairs.
And the film ends on this cliffhanger!
Wow, what to say about this film? Like I said before, this film has two problems that every critic has criticized it for: its long runtime and its over-complicated plots!
The film is almost 2 and a half hours long and much of it is engrossed in fight and action sequences with little to no plot focused on. And the parts that DO focus on the plot just make the plot(s) sooo hard to follow. I mean, you have Jack, Will, Elizabeth, Norrington, Davy Jones, Beckett and they all want something or the other and their paths intertwine and there’s the chest and there’s a heart and there’s a key and there’s a jar of dirt and there’s 100 souls and there’s Will’s father and…it just gets sooo confusing!
To the film’s credit, the CGI and other special effects are really good especially the effects done in creating Davy Jones’ appearance.
Most of the actors do excellent jobs including Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy. Sadly, Keira Knightley falls somewhat into the Kristen Stewart method of showing expression quite often, so I can’t say that her acting is good.
If you’re a fan of the first one, you’ll probably like this one, but don’t expect to love it or find it better than the original!
(You can click on the image below for an enlarged version of my rating sheet.)
So, the final score for this film is 25/35 = 71.43% (C-) !
The next review will be posted on December 30th.
8 thoughts on “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)”
I’m a big fan of the first one and I honestly wish that the sequels didn’t exist. Those two movies (they kind of belong together, and no, I didn’t watch the ones which came later) are a giant mess of storylines, which make mostly no sense at all. But what I hat the most about it is the rewrite they did to most of the characters, especially Norrington. They also didn’t seem to understand that a world in which Jack Sparrow is spinning his stories is fun, but a world in which everyone behaves like he does isn’t.
Yeah, Jack Sparrow is unique and his personality/antics/behaviorisms/aspirations should be his solely.
I agree with you – I really liked the first one, and while the second one was okay it wasn’t nearly as good. I want to mention that I also really appreciate your detailed recaps – I have a terrible memory for movie plots, and yours are absolutely wonderful for helping me remember everything!
Thanks! I like going thru the entire movie in my review giving as much detail as possible to follow the flow of the movie, but not telling every single detail.
I’ve seen all the POTC films before, but barely remember any, lol! So I’m looking forward to reviewing the 3rd one, because I barely remember what that was about.
I hope you’re enjoying this blog!
Interesting blog you have here; I’ve nearly finished reading the reviews in chronological order.
I actually enjoyed this movie almost as much as the first one when it first came out. Then I saw the third movie and that was just a mess. Now I realize that “Dead Man’s Chest” is just filler between the two movies. Still, it has a lot of memorable scenes like the bone hamster balls, the Sparrow-kabob, and the three-way sword fight on the giant hamster wheel.
I always felt bad for Norrington; the movies really gave him the short end of the stick till they finally killed him off. I’ve read a couple of fanfics that rewrite the ending so that Norrington takes Davy Jones’s place and Will gets to stay with Elizabeth. I think that would’ve made a much better ending.
A bit off-topic, but your review for “The Apple Dumpling Gang” made me want to re-watch it. I haven’t seen it since my mom borrowed it from the library when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I remember enjoying the movie, especially the stupid robbers’ antics.
First off, welcome to the blog and thank you so much for reading the articles! I really love this blog, but sadly it’s not as popular as my other blog, the animation-based one, so it’s always nice to hear when people read and enjoy this blog!
And yes, “POTC:DMC” is basically a filler between the two movies, but it’s not a horrible piece of film either. It does have memorable moments like you said and I feel my C rating that I gave it was a deserved grade.
I too sympathize with Norrington; nothing seems to go his way.
And I’m glad you want to re-watch “The Apple Dumpling Gang” It’s totally worth it!
My relationship with the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ sequels is complex; I acknowledge that they rarely rise to the bar of being considered objectively good films and remaining in the ‘guilty pleasure’ category.
But I do derive some form of enjoyment out of them (though 3 is the least of them as I’ll get to later), and this one has a sort of ‘Temple of Doom’-esque quality to it, much darker and yet strangely goofier than the predecessor and having a really menacing supernatural villain. I love the scenes with Davy Jones, the Flying Dutchman, the Kraken and most of Jack’s comedic scenes hit home, but the stuff with Cutler Becket reminded me of the Trade Federation from Star Wars: Episode I – it grinds the pacing down, and the Cannibal Island scene should have been scrapped. While not the worst of the sequels, big problems do hold it back a lot.