Drink up, me hearties, yo-ho!
I walked into the theatre with “Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” running through my head. I walked out of the theatre with a stern realisation that a pirate’s life is NOT for me.
Pirates get chased by governments, eaten by cannibals, drowned, blown up, press-ganged, imprisoned, and dragged to the murky depths by sea monsters. No, what I want is the life of being able to WATCH pirates. Over and over and over again.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest (check out the Widescreen Edition) is a strong film, and it’s not just eye-candy. Yes, it’s beautiful, and of course ILM and their friends had a hand in making us believe in Davy Jones and his crew, but the acting is also great. Looking back, I didn’t for a minute suspect anyone of “being an actor.” They were all pirates, swashbucklers, cannibals, fugitives, witches, monsters, sailors, wenches, or whatever else.
I mean, EVERYBODY had me in suspended disbelief. I didn’t look at Jack Sparrow and see Johnny Depp, and Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom both disappeared into Elizabeth wants-to-be-Turner and her fiance Will Turner.
That’s really the test, isn’t it? Wrap us up so tightly in the story and the characters and the world that we can’t find our way out until the credits run, and THEN you’ve succeeded as a filmmaker.
Bill Nighy and his crew steal the show though. Watching them is like having a bad acid trip at SeaWorld, with bodies composed of aquatic lifeforms, sharkheads, pufferfish skin, crab eyes, and Jones with his giant lobster claw hand, and slimy octopus head with a beard of tentacles, through which he barks the fruitiest Scottish brogue this side of the Simpsons’ Groundskeeper Willie.
More than just that, though, it’s a film I want to see again. In theatres. And then own on DVD. And then I want to see the sequel (because there are, oh, a few unresolved plot points when the credits roll.)
Speaking of the credits, sit through them.
So there’s your spoiler-free review. If you liked the first film, you’ll love this one. If you never saw the first film, watch it on DVD first, because there are some key bits in it that you’ll want to have seen at least once before seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
You’ll have to wait a year to see the third installment, where we will get to see Keith Richards as Jack’s father, and Singapore when it was a pirate’s stop-over (but to be historically true, the place was called Temasek way back then). But trust me matey, the wait’ll be worth a king’s ransom in gold.