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Toon Talk: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
July 10, 2006
Kirby reviews Disney's eagerly anticipated sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
Toon Talk: Disney Film and DVD Reviews
by Kirby C. Holt

(c) Disney

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Walt Disney Productions
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Shiver Me Timbers

It had been some time since the likes of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks had sailed the seven seas in the Golden Age of Hollywood, and audiences in the intervening years had not been kind to the big screen spectacles of blood-thirsty buccaneers (Cutthroat Island, anyone?). And skepticism was high regarding a would-be blockbuster based on a “mere? theme park attraction. Nevertheless, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl silenced all naysayer when it burst like a cannonball on to summer screens three years ago, quickly becoming one of the most popular and successful live action films in the Disney, well, canon.

Anchoring the Pearl was the loopy, lunatic performance of Johnny Depp as that dreadlocked, mascara-ed eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow, a role that netted the respected actor his first (long overdue) Oscar nomination. And while it is doubtful that he will repeat that feat with the second chapter in what is shaping up to be a profitable trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (now showing in theaters everywhere) shapes up to be an enjoyable - if overblown - romp, a rollicking adventure ride of “E Ticket? thrills.

(c) Disney

Jack is back at the helm of his beloved Black Pearl, but he has a debt to pay - a blood debt, that is - to the infamous Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), the squid-headed captain of the legendary Flying Dutchman. Seems Jack has Davy (no relation, assumedly, to the Monkee) to thank for the Pearl, and it is now time to pay the piper (octopus?) … with his soul.

Meanwhile, back in the more civilized corners of the Caribbean, young lovers Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley, fresh off her own first Oscar nod for last year’s Pride and Prejudice) have been arrested for their involvement in Jack’s escape by one Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander, who played Knightley’s would-be suitor in said Pride), who covertly coerces them to go after Jack to win their freedom.

Stirred into this convoluted plot are even more twists and turns, provided by returning characters (such as Jonathan Pryce and Jack Davenport as Elizabeth’s father and former paramour, respectively, as well as the Skipper and Gilligan of pirate-dom, stout Pintel and wood-eyed Ragetti, played once again by ace scene stealers Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook), a tribe of hungry cannibals, a ghost ship crew of walking coral, a spooky island voodoo queen (Naomie Harris), Will’s water-logged father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) and last, but certainly not least, the tentacled sea monster from the depths of the ocean, the mythological Kraken.

Just about everyone is gunning for the same thing, a different kind of treasure this time: the Dead Man’s Chest of the title. Locked within is the still beating heart of Davy Jones, and whoever possesses it controls Jones, and thus controls the Kraken … and thus all of the Caribbean.

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