The Seven Seas are not enough to contain Johnny Depp’s outrageous scallywag Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, the anticipated sequel to the 2003 mega-hit The Curse of the Black Pearl is in theatres now is so much bigger, louder and more convoluted than its predecessor that perhaps in the third sequel Disney will be forced to create the 8th, 9th and 10th Seas for Sparrow to conquer.
Dead Man’s Chest finds pirate Jack Sparrow searching for a way to get out of his blood debt to the legendary captain of the Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones. Setting sail with Depp are most of the cast from the original, including Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom along with welcome new additions in the form of Bill Nighy as Davy Jones and Stellan Skarsgård as the be-barnacled Bootstrap Bill. Together and separately they flee from a cannibal bb-q, supernatural sailors and a sea monster, while engaging in tavern brawls, rum drinking and general yo-ho-hoing in a story so long-winded that I could have carved a nice piece of scrimshaw waiting to get to the point of the plot. Luckily director Gore Verbinski has infused the movie’s over-long running time with enough thrills, spills and chills to keep us afloat.
At the center of it all is Johnny Depp, the pirate who, appropriately enough, steals all the scenes he is in. It’s mostly smooth sailing for Depp but as with any sequel some of the fun is gone. In 2003 his Captain Jack Sparrow was a marvel of comic invention that wowed us with his swishbuckling devil-may-care antics. Here Depp gives us more of the same but this time out we know what to expect from him. The filmmakers have wisely limited his time on screen this time out in an effort to keep the character fresh. Too much of a good thing is still too much.
The real treasure here is the fish faced Davy Jones played by English actor Bill Nighy. He leads a crew of undead sailors who have morphed into a veritable seafood smorgasbord. His first lieutenant has the head of a hammerhead shark; another has a conch shell exoskeleton while another has pufferfish cheeks. Jones himself is an incredible creation with a slimy prehensile tentacle beard and a giant lobster claw for a hand. It is a strange character but despite layers of make-up and special effects Bill Nighy makes it his own out acting the heavy prosthetics.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest may not shiver your timbers in exactly the same way the first one did, but it still delivers. It’s fun and exciting, just as any movie based on an amusement park ride should be.