The Red Right Hand
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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST
Captain Jack's Back

Director
Gore Verbinski
Starring
Johnny Depp
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley
Bill Nighy

Back To The Future set the pace for modern trilogies - in my opinion. The first movie was a roaring success in 1985 and a sequel was always on the table. Rather than simply rehashing the original - a horrid pitfall that most sequels fall prey to - Zemeckis drew up plans for two sequels that would conclude the trilogy; four years later Back To The Future Part II came out and ended on a cliff-hanger which would be resolved in the third part, released the following year. The thing that made it unique was that even though the plot tied together with each other, each film had an individual look and feel (granted, the second film wasn't fantastic and neither surpassed the original). Over ten years later the Wachowski brothers did a similar thing with The Matrix sequels. Both filmed at the same time but meant to be viewed as one long, epic piece. Unlike the 80's time travelling trilogy, The Matrix: Reloaded [Part II] cannot be watched as a stand alone piece as it resembles one large plot that's been sliced in half; a la Kill Bill. Alright, my apologies, enough with the comparisons.... for now. Dead Man's Chest is the first of two parts that will round off the Pirates Of The Caribbean series. Making the fatal mistake of basing the first film around the Colonial English lovers, Will Turner [Bloom] and Elizabeth Swann [Knightley], Disney have seen the error of their ways and realised that the scene stealer is the crazed, drunken pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow [Depp].

The plot (note: where 'plot' read 'filler') is a bit of a mesh and to describe it would be a terrible ordeal. Jack has in his possession a compass that points to whatever your heart desires. The new face to Port Royal is the ruthless Lord Cutler Beckett [Tom Hollander], who has his heart set on stealing Jack's compass. In order to do this he storms the port, disrupts Will and Elizabeth's wedding and locks them in jail. Following so far? On top of all this Jack is being hunted by Davy Jones [Nighy]; once a man, know a merciless slave to the ocean. Jack may be popular with the kids for being a bit of a scoundrel but Davy Jones is the real deal, a true pirate. None of that nancy boy yo-ho nonsense, you feel that this guy would be into the rape and pillage lifestyle, if only he could step on land more than once every ten years. You see, Jones is a cursed man who tore out his heart and buried it in a chest. Made immortal, he sails the oceans searching for derelict ships, as the dying crew pray for their lives, he offers them a chance to continue their service for one hundred years aboard his ship. I'm not entirely sure why anyone would choose that option as the entirety of his crew are barnacle infested, seaweed covered mutants; I suppose death's grip will make a man agree to terrible things.... like golf. On top of all that almost every character has returned from the original as the story visits old sets and new. At a stonking 150 mins, Dead Man's Chest is a bit of a tour de force, cramming as much as possible into this singular title; I can't even begin to imagine how long the third title (At Worlds End) will be. This is most definitely the weakest point as the whole cannibal island business was completely unnecessary and over the top, it served absolutely no purpose to plot or film, other than another action sequence and comical running. Ah, comical running. Yet despite the film's mammoth proportions, due to the constant barrage of on-screen entertainment, it seems to pass-by with a fair amount of ease.

The action is large and over-the-top but it's a Jerry Bruckheimer film, so it's not only expected, it's welcomed. As stated, the plot is enough to entertain and piece together the action but nothing challenging or thought-provoking; again, read above comment about Bruckheimer. Strangely enough, with the double-crossings and treachery it's quite difficult to identify with the characters - Knightley only gets a brief chance to explore her character's range right at the last minute of the film - leaving Jones as the only non-2D element and interesting new feature. No doubt the cliff-hanger ending and final re-acquaintance with a member of the first film will leave crowds begging for the release of part three, so Disney have nothing to worry about but, as far as the life of the trilogy is concerned, the third instalment needs to show more emotion and plot to round this whole thing off successfully. We shall see...

Release Date:
6th July 2006

The Scene To Look Out For:
The second attack of the Kraken -against the Edinburgh; that Swann originally stowed away on. It's the usual computer-powered action that summer blockbusters are littered with but done in a way that gives the deadly beast a mythic threat, similar to that of Jaws. A hint at the start of the film, final showdown at the end but this scene works so well, not fully revealing anything other than it's big!

Notable Characters:
It's not Jack Sparrow. There, that'll teach you not to assume. Sure, Depp had some good lines and stole some of the scenes, but this is his movie! He's supposed to have the best lines. No, my favourite character was the CGI Davy Jones. Nighy's performance was brilliant, giving the squid-faced pirate a truly evil streak to compliment his quietly hidden and subtle emotional side - to be explored further in the next feature. In short, Davy Jones is Gollum - the dark heart and soul of the film that claims the audience's attention without mercy.

Highlighted Quote:
"Where's the monkey? I need to shoot something!"

In A Few Words:
"Fairly lengthy and jam-packed but still the best blockbuster sequel of the summer"

Total Score:
7/10


Matthew Stogdon
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