Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest


On their wedding day Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) are arrested and face the gallows for aiding the escape of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). However, Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander), agrees to release them if Will can track down Jack and get his hands on Jack's compass for Beckett. Jack, however, is in hot water, as he owes Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) his soul, and the only possible way he can see of saving himself is by finding the chest that contains Jones's heart.

After the 2003 original it was no surprise that a sequel was made; the original grossed $654 million worldwide, recieved 5 Oscar nominations (including Best Actor for Johnny Depp) and great feedback from viewers and critics alike, so almost the entire world yearned to see Captain Jack Sparrow again.

Visually the film is very eye-catching, and won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. The amount of CGI used in the film is vast, and the most successful use of it is Davy Jones's ship, The Flying Dutchman, with it being very bold and detailed as a ship of, well, undead mutant Pirates, with a really creepy and eerie feel brought to it. Naturally the crew of the Dutchman are the most unnerving to look at, with the CGI doing a great job of making the half human-half sea creature crew look like the most vivid cursed sea farers imaginable, and brings great detail to the crusts, claws, et cetera. Jones, however, is the most memorable CGI creation though, with the boldness and size it gives him making him an even more intimidating antagonist than expected, and successfully giving every individual tentacle its own unique life/soul.

The entire film, however, is dragged down to the very deepest depths of the sea thanks to a majorly flawed screenplay. Jumping from one event to the next there is so little development throughout you just have to wonder what the point of most of the scenes are. They feature stupid action - to escape an island occupied by cannibals Will and several others roll a cage of human skeletons; and other action sequences just resort to the most childish live action cartoon violence since Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). The magic of the original's action was that despite being in a film that was farcical and slightly absurd, there was such well choreographed action sequences, well written comedy and an all round air of sophistication, but here all we get is another over-the-top, goofy blockbuster with too much action.

As well as this the minor characters have such little intelligence - a Scottish crew assume Elizabeth's abandoned wedding dress is that of a ghost - and you just can't help but wonder if they are for real; while characters such as Jack are given far too much goofy slapstick that robs him of a lot of the charm he had originally. And again the subplot concerns Will and Elizabeth's romance, but this time it is a major drawback, as it takes up a good amount of the film, and is both ridiculously cheesy, and poorly played by Bloom and Knightley, who have wooden expression and delivery, no sexual tension at all, and chemistry so awkward than nobody could ever believe they were in love.

The rest of the cast also struggle to perform well: Stellan Skarsgård seems too distant when delivering lines; Hollander is completely expressionless; Jack Davenport struggles to play an even slightly convincing drunk; Jonathan Pryce fails to capture the British aristocrat type, making Governor Swann too woolly and foolish; and Mackenzie Crook's comedic qualities are all over the place. With aid of the CGI Nighy is very intimidating and heartless as Jones. Depp, though still retains a decent amount of charm and coolness as Jack, with good comic timing and delivery, making the deliciously over-the-top character one of the only worthwhile things about the film.

Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hollander, Kevin R. McNally, Naomie Harris, Jack Davenport, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, David Schofield, Jonathan Pryce, Alex Norton, Martin Klebba, David Bailie, Christopher S. Capp, Geoffrey Rush.

Oscar: Best Visual Effects (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall).
Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction (Rick Heinrichs, Cheryl Carasik), Best Sound Editing (Christopher Boyes, George Waters II), Best Sound Mixing (Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Lee Orloff).

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