Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest — Special Two-Disc Collector’s Edition (2006)

by | Jan 3, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest — Special Two-Disc Collector’s Edition (2006)

Starring:  Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Stellan Skarsgard, Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport, Kevin R. McNally, Jonathan Pryce
Studio:  Walt Disney
Video:  2.35:1 Widescreen Enhanced
Audio:  DD 5.1, 2.0
Extras:  Previews (Meet The Robinsons, Ratatouille, Invincible, The Guardian); Audio Commentary; Bloopers of the Caribbean (4 min); Pirate Twins (1 min); Charting The Return (26 min); According To Plan (63 min); Captain Jack: From Head To Toe (28 min); Mastering The Blade – Three Sections (16 min); Meet Davy Jones: Anatomy Of A Legend (13 min); Creating The Kraken (10 min); Dead Men Tell new Tales: Re-Imagineering The Attraction (13 min); Fly On The Set: The Bone Cage (4 min); Jerry Bruckheimer: A Producer’s Photo Diary (5 min); Pirates On Main Street: The Dead Man’s Chest Premiere (4 min).
Length:  150 minutes
Rating:  ***

Following the success of the first pirate film, the decision was made to turn Pirates of the Caribbean into a trilogy.  The production chronology can be viewed in the special feature called “Charting The Return.”  Budget constraints almost meant that the production had to be shut down, but pushing forward–undaunted–the filmmakers were able to get the project going.  Most of the locations were remote and the majority of shooting took place in areas like St. Vincent, Dominica, and the Bahamas.

This lends a feeling of authenticity to the film.  Acting is good as is the direction, sets, costumes, and especially the special effects.  The makeup and appearance of the much of cast required extensive computer work, but none of it looks fake or artificial.  The extras on the discs are extensive and include interviews with cast, crew, writers, and just about everyone of whom you can think.

As with most sequels, it is advantageous to have previously watched the first film in order to know the character’s backgrounds and relations to each other.  You could, in fact, watch this film without seeing the first, but there will be a bit of confusion and an adjustment period to get a handle on the main characters and understand some of the plot.  The main characters from the first film return: Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann.  Additionally, we are introduced to a new villain, Davy Jones.

Due to their association with Captain Sparrow, both Elizabeth and Will are thrown into jail and condemned to death.  Meanwhile, Captain Jack is running from Davy Jones, to whom he owes his mortal soul.  In order to avoid their inevitable sentence, Will makes a deal with their accusor, Lord Beckett, to retrieve a magical compass that Sparrow is known to hold.  When he meets Jack the only agreement that he is able to make involves a confrontation with Davy Jones–a meeting for which Will is hardly prepared.  As in the previous film, Elizabeth and Will are dragged into much misadventure and their survival is contingent on their helping in the quest for that which may keep Jones at bay–the Dead Man’s Chest.  After Sparrow selflessly sacrifices himself in an effort to save his comrades, the film paves the way for the next in the series.  An all-knowing witch gives them hope of Sparrow’s life and the contents of the chest are still highly sought after by Davy Jones and will most likely be a theme of the remaining film as well.

First off, let me say, that this film is not as good as the first.  That shouldn’t (in any way) prevent full enjoyment from the viewers who found the original pirate film highly likable.  The movie is two and a half hours–a bit too long for my taste, but for those who can’t get enough of Keira, Johnny, and Orlando, it will be not long enough.  There are quite a few action sequences, sword-fight scenes, dark though not too scary attack sequences, and lovely Caribbean-style landscapes to help sink the viewer right into the atmosphere.  It’s a case of getting exactly what you are expecting when viewing Pirates of the Caribbean 2–grab your remote and prepare for the ride!

— Brian Bloom