Sunday, August 13, 2006

Movie Log: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Today I saw two middle-of-trilogy movies with colons in the middle of their titles. It wasn't exactly on purpose.

I had heard the vague talk that Dead Man's Chest had certain similarities with another middle-of-trilogy adventure movie (The Empire Strikes Back), and I can certainly see the parallels:
  • blonde hero learns more about and confronts his presumed-dead father
  • blond and brunette heroes are now apparently in competition for The Girl
  • heroes travel to an odd location where one of the very few black featured characters helps them out
  • brunette hero is trying desperately to avoid a debt he owes to a large slimy associate
  • brunette hero is left in rather an unpleasant position at movie's end
  • movie does not so much end as stop
I don't believe, unlike some wild-eyed Internet conspiracy theorists, that all this is evidence of large-scale plot borrowing, since the actual plots of the two movies are quite different. (For one thing, Will Turner doesn't spend most of Dead Man's Chest in the Brazilian jungle learning strange and esoteric arts.) But it is interesting.

This is not a movie to think deeply about: it's a hell of a lot of fun, laugh-out-loud funny in a number of places, and it did make nearly two and a half hours pass very quickly. I saw the first one at home a week after watching Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World, both of which made it suffer a bit. I saw Dead Man's Chest on a big screen in a theatre with nice comfy chairs and good sound, as God and Gore Verbinski intended.

Other random thoughts:
  • The Wife actually recognized Bill Nighy under his makeup, for which she deserves some kind of prize
  • Elizabeth's father has surprisingly little power for a British Governor in the high days of imperialism; the redcoats should all take his orders, not those of some jumped-up businessman
  • the two squabbling pirates are worth the price of admission all by themselves ("the dichotomy of good and evil?")
  • And it sure rains a lot in this movie...

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