Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

The sequel to Disney’s pirate classic.

“Never Trust a Pirate”

The first Pirates of the Caribbean move surprised me with its high level of quality.  The second Pirates of the Caribbean movie simply floored me.

The fact that Dead Man’s Chest managed to have the highest grossing opening weekend in movie history should come as no surprise.  This film manages to really provide something for everyone.  Kids, parents, grandparents, teenagers, college students – everybody can enjoy this movie.  You can probably count the number of movies that qualify for that status on one hand.  Seriously, I don’t know what’s not to like about this movie.  And even if you’re some uber-film critic who enjoys ripping movies to shreds, you’d have to admit that you found this movie to be entertaining.

Now I’m not saying that the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel is the greatest movie of all time, or anything.  It’s not even on my Top 5.  But in an era where movies are often hyped-up in the previews and then a major let-down in the theatre, Pirates of the Caribbean pulled out all the stops to bring its viewers on a 2-hour rollercoaster ride.

Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean

Once again, Johnny Depp proved to be spectacular as Captain Jack Sparrow.  He’s just a flat-out great character.  You know how there are certain people in real life that are just so insane, you can’t peel your eyes off them? I’m talking Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Tom Cruise…

Well Captain Jack Sparrow is the movie character equivalent of those guys, except he’s extraordinarlily likeable. The guy cracks me up.  Seriouisly, does it get any more entertaining than a drunk, metrosexual, lady-chasing pirate?  I don’t think so?

Backing Jack Sparrow up is Orlando Bloom’s William Turner. Again, a perfect match by the casting department.  Nobody can play Captain Jack Sparrow like Johnny Depp.  And nobody can play the wussy wanna-be hero that makes all the ladies swoon while still remaining respectable to the men like Orlando Bloom. That’s really a delicate balance to maintain, and Orlando pulls it off flawlessly.

Then there’s Kiera Knightly, who was ok in the first movie, but makes a move to steal the show from Johnny Depp in the sequel.  Kiera Knightly was just plain good in this movie. Her character, Elizabeth Swann, really took her game up a notch this time.  Instead of being the sterotypical rich girl who wants to be adventurous like she was in the first film, Elizabeth actually starts playing the game of a full-fledged pirate and pulls off some unforgettable backstabs both to her fiance William, and the backstab master himself, Captain Jack.

As you can probably tell, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is well on it’s way to attaining the legendary “four eyebrow” status.  That’s a level that’s reserved for only the best of movies.  So if this sequel really deserves that honor, it has to have something going for it more than just “it’s fun for everyone” Believe me, it does.

If you spend enough time on this site, you’ll quickly come to realize that I’m a big fan of the WWF.  For some reason or another, almost anything that happens can have a WWF analogy applied to it. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is no different.

The part of the movie that I want to talk about is when Captain Jack, Will Turner, and Norrington are engaged in a three-way fight over Davey Jones’ heart.  A casual movie-goer would assume that either Jack or Will, one of the two heroes, would end up with the heart. I mean, that’s how all movies like this end, with the good guys coming out on top, right? But while I was sitting there watching the movie, I couldn’t help but notice the parallel’s to a three-way wrestling match.  And so I asked myself “What would Vince McMahon do?”.

Well, he’d do the most unexpected thing.  He’d do the thing that would result in the best storyline.  So would he give it to Captain Jack and set him free from Davey Jones?  Would he give it to William Turner and let him free his father? Or would he give it to Norrington, who would hand it over to East Indian Trading Co. and set up a major problem for our heroes to overcome?

Vince would obviously choose Norrington.  It’s the most unexpected, interesting choice, that gives you the best storyline to work with.  But this is Hollywood, so you know that they’d never pull a smart move like that.  They’ve got to go for the cheesy, expected, feel-good ending.  Or don’t they?

To my utter shock, Norrington actually ended up with the heart.  It was an absolutely beautiful twist that nobody in the entire theatre saw coming.  Either you were too naive and were rooting for Captain Jack or Will, or, like me, you were far too jaded to expect Hollywood to do the smart thing.  Regardless, everyone was shocked.  And that intelligent twist has now set up the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which I absolutely cannot wait to see.

I’m certain that the twists and surprises will continue in the third installment. We still haven’t resolved which of our two leading men will end up with Elizabeth.  I thought this was also a priceless turn of events.  They took the cheesy, run-of-the-mill love story of the first movie, and completely transformed it into a juicy love-triangle which has no clear-cut resolution.  Will Elizabeth ultimately choose Captain Jack or Will?  I have no idea.  Who should she choose?  I have no idea.  Will’s obviously the better catch.  But on the other hand, is he too good to settle for a girl who’s willing to cheat on him and suck face with Captain Jack Sparrow?

These are all questions with no easy answers.  And what’s even more remarkable is that these questions are being raised by a Disney movie based on a theme park ride.  Can you believe a movie with that premise is not only entertaining, but thought-provoking to boot?!?! Pirates of the Caribbean is the Hollywood equivalent of a no-name Tom Brady suddenly leading the Patriots to the Super Bowl.  How is it possible that these movies are even good, let alone phenomenal?

That’s another question without an easy answer. But maybe like cursed Aztec Gold and the Dead Man’s Chest, some mysteries are better left uncovered.  What does matter is that the second Pirates of the Caribbean certainly made me raise my eyebrows, and I can’t wait until this franchise lifts them up for a third time!

DeROK’s Take:

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.