I had a chance to get to a sneak preview tonight of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and it pretty much was exactly what I thought it would be. Taking place a short time (a few months?) after the events of the first film, the movie starts out with evidence that everyone’s action has consequences. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are arrested for helping Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) escape at the end of the first film. Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), of the East India Trading Company, offers Turner a deal: get him Jack Sparrow’s compass, and they get full pardons. And so off goes Turner to find Sparrow, to rescue his fiancee from prison and clear their names. Sounds pretty straightforward so far, right?
Meanwhile, turns out that Captain Jack Sparrow, and his beloved ship the Black Pearl, are not having much luck. Seems that Sparrow made a deal 13 years ago with Davey Jones (Bill Nighy), and it’s time to pay up: 100 years of service on The Flying Dutchman. Jack decides to go one step further, and actually destroy Davey Jones – but to do that, he will need Will’s help. That’s about all I’ll say about the plot – it gets a lot more complex, and there were a lot of unexpected turns along the way. I don’t want to ruin it, but I will just say that the movie was a blast, and thought it was a tad long in the end, it never felt boring. You have to have seen the first film to really understand this one – there are a lot of references and characters from the first one who return, and so it assumes that you are familiar with their relationship dynamics. As the “middle” film in the (so-far) planned trilogy, it has a very Empire Strikes Back vibe going on, especially with the way the movie ends. Yowza! Next year won’t come soon enough!
Depp is a blast as Sparrow, as expected, and it’s always fun to watch him maneuver his way out of the sticky situations he finds himself in. There’s a great bit involving a three-way swordfight that ends up on a water wheel that breaks loose and takes us on a very wild ride. Knightley does a good job, with a more nuanced role that adds some character depth. A pleasant surprise was Stellan Skarsg