"Pirates of the Caribbean: The
Curse of the Black Pearl"
Directed by Gore Verbinski.
Written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio.
Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Bill
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 7/12/06
I didn't want to believe it after a grueling
first 20 minutes, but by the time "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead
Man's Chest" was over, it easily entered the Shit Sequel Hall of
Shame, sidling in alongside fellow entrants like "Back to the Future
Matrix: Revolutions", "Lethal Weapon 4", and other films based
on very good, highly successful first films in their respective
series. I don't think anyone would question that
of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" was at least a good
movie--I thought it was damn near perfect--and judging from the
obscene record cash "Dead Man's Chest" made in just three days (more
than $130 million, a stunning number), lots of people expected the
sequel to be pretty close to what the first film was in terms of
But, amazingly, "Dead Man's Chest" is
incredibly worse than the first film at almost every angle, on
almost every level. Johnny Depp--nominated for an Oscar his
first go-round--returns as Captain Jack Sparrow, head of the Black
Pearl, a cursed ship that opens with Jack still in charge.
Jack runs into Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) in the galley one
night, who passes on to him a dangerous curse that ensures Jack and
his crew will eventually cross paths with the most dangerous ship on
the open seas, The Flying Dutchman, captained by Davy Jones (Bill
"Love Actually"). Meanwhile, our old friends Will (Orlando
Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) are arrested back at Fort
Royal by a man named Beckett (Tom Hollander) for reasons that I
can't explain, but to get out of the charges, Beckett forces Will to
retrieve a faulty compass from Sparrow to free him of the charges.
Adventure ensues, or something.
From the jump, "Dead Man's Chest" is just
not that much fun. Worse, it takes almost all of the elements
you loved about the original--great mix of laughs and action, Depp's
off-the-wall performance, pirate-like behavior, Knightley looking
great, Bloom and Depp trading one-liners--and minimizes or takes
them out of the sequel altogether, and in its place, we
get...nothing. Save for the cool special effects of the
Dutchman's crew and the Davy Jones make-up work, director Gore
Verbinski decided all of the following would make this sequel work:
Less action. Usually in
action-adventure sequels, you get MORE action, not less.
Nope, here in "Dead Man's Chest" the action is minimal and
sadly, not very well orchestrated. There are a lot of
deaths at the "hands" of a giant fucking octopus. The
film's main set piece appears to be a three-way swordfight late
in the film set on a giant wooden wheel, but it sucked and the
stunt doubles didn't seem to be having much fun anyway.
Less Depp, and when Depp is
on-screen, not as funny, kooky or integral to the plot.
The sequel is longer than the original and yet there is less
of the best asset of the series. Why?
A script that isn't nearly as funny.
Look, 200 people can't be wrong, and in my packed audience, at
least half a dozen people went to get popcorn and never came
back. Yawns were heard throughout my screening.
Pauses clearly intended to cover laugh gaps in the dialogue
pacing were left with tumbleweed blowing around my theater
More clothing on Knightley.
Look, whether we want to admit it or not, we expect to see women
and skin when we're talking about pirate movies. In the
first "Pirates" movie, check. In the sequel, no check.
Who was the costume designer on this film?
An unbelievably bad ending, followed
by a cliffhanger. If you've seen this, and you need
someone to rant to regarding the ending of this film, trust me,
I'll be a shoulder for you to cry on!
Again, while I thought "Dead Man's Chest"
was fucking dogshit--and, I can't stress how many times I wanted to
get up and leave, but realizing that the third film is already
essentially completed kept my butt in the seat--the special effects
work is pretty good. But these days, with a big-budget film,
that's par for the course. "Waterworld" was better than this
(note to Brett: fuck fuck shit
fucking shitfucker. Just wanted to make sure I got enough in.)
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard