Leave it to Disney to turn the most unlovable and evil race of men into mild mannered and profanity-less marauders. They have provided Disney with their most lucrative franchise for decades, and ten years ago today, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest landed on our shores, on the 7th July 2006.
The Pirates franchise first made an appearance back in 2003, and oh, I have never escaped the irony that I still struggle to spell ‘Carribean’. Dead Man’s Chest proved the most successful of the trilogy in revenue, despite The Black Pearl’s popularity. They took everything people liked from the first one, i.e. Jack’s eccentricities, Mr Gibs, the Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan saga (kind of), the scare factor, enhanced it ten fold, and regurgitated it into a sequel.
The second film achieved all of this shamelessly with the help of a fantastically inventive plot. Pulling from nautical myth to accompany the legend of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), and away from the humble Disneyland ride on which the first film was based, the introduction of the tentacle-laced and thick Scottish drawl of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) sees Jack Sparrow fleeing for his life, and clutching a big ol’ jar of dirt.
At the same time, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is sent to find Jack on the orders of Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), who has condemned all of the pirate-y fiends of the first film to death, including ‘Elizabeff’ (Keira Knightly), who soon escapes from Beckett, being the plucky heroine that she is. Will reunites with his sodden long lost father, Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), aboard Jones’ spectral vessel, while Jack tries to find the only leverage he can muster against the heartless and heart-less Jones before he disturbs the sea creature a-dwelling on the sea floor.
The insidious nature of the Kraken is terrifying, especially for an appropriately aged child. At some points in the film, children’s fantasy becomes expertly edited horror, as we follow Will onto the Dutchman and then onto the vessel that serves as surrogate victim to the kraken’s hunger. Fight scenes are well choreographed, imitating and rivaling the first escapade between Will and Jack in the blacksmiths. However, it just doesn’t quite match the slick and clever dialogue of the first, and stoops ever so slightly lower, away from the adult audience they kept so eagerly bated in the first film. The growing alienation of the adult population may be a symptom of the increased wackiness of the plot, and ridiculousness of the stunts, however more enticing to younger audience members it is.
Recurring cast members such as Norrington (Jack Davenport), Pintel (Lee Arenberg) and Rigetti (Mackenzie Crook) were welcome sights, and recurring resident musician for the Cinema Gods Hans Zimmer provided welcome sounds for our ever tingling eardrums.
Although DMC may not be considered a classic in its own right, it is still entertaining from start to finish. Throw in the unbeatable cast, Dead Man’s Chest will surely withstand the test of time and tide as an integral member of this trilogy, if left untainted by it’s lesser successors, including the upcoming fifth film, set for release in 2017.
See the trailer for this brilliant film below: