Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley
**** (out of five)
Hoist the mainsails, damn the torpedoes and do whatever it is you’re supposed to do to the poop deck, the new Pirates Of The Caribbean movie has come ashore ... and it’s just as much ridiculous fun as it was the first time around.
Virtually the entire cast and crew of the 2003 smash have reassembled for the second installment, Dead Man’s Chest, which was shot back-to-back with the third episode.
Against all odds, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have managed to deliver a sequel that perfectly re-creates the sense that, as with the original, you’re watching a freak accident of spectacular proportions. Dead Man’s Chest has the same playful sensibility, the same visual invention, and the same berserk giddiness as The Curse Of The Black Pearl, only more so — and it even holds a surprise or two.
The plot boils down to this: On the day he’s to marry his beloved Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), stout-hearted swashbuckler Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is roped into a search for his old sailing buddy Cap’n Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) ... who, it just so happens, owes a considerable debt to the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), and sees Will as a handy negotiating chip.
There follows a great deal of swashing and buckling, alliances and betrayals, and so forth, with various oceans crossed, a long-lost father to be discovered, and a leviathan to be evaded; it’s all terribly entertaining, and even if you get the feeling that a long sequence with a cannibal tribe that worships Cap’n Jack as a god is ultimately unnecessary, it’s still fun to watch Depp play scenes in their pidgin tongue.
One small warning: In trilogy terms, this is the Empire Strikes Back of the Pirates saga ... which means it ends on something of a cliff-hanger, and there’s a year’s wait for the next movie to come along and wrap everything up.
But I suspect it’ll be a hell of a ride.