Pirates Of The Caribbean
Dead Man's Chest

I loved the first Pirates Of The Caribbean-movie. Yeah, it wasn't without its faults (too long, for one), but it could have been so much worse. Johnny Depp created a very loveable character with Jack Sparrow and even 'youngsters' Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley held their head up high. Most of all, the cast seemed to be having a good time and the audience (well, I at least) noticed that. A sequel was unavoidable.

Last night, Pim Verhulst, his bonny lass Judith Nobels, Bart Willemen and yours truly were all revved up to see Dead Man's Chest! First things first : it's a reunion. The filmmakers cleverly left out the trivial roles (we never find out what happened to the cursed crew from the Black Pearl) and brought back the old friends we all love from the first movie. Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann, Gibbs, Parrot-Pirate and, of course, Ragetti (the 'one-eyed') & Pintel (the 'baldy'). Every movie needs a squabbling duo - see Star Wars, Laurel & Hardy, The Muppets, Het Schnitzelparadijs ...

Where were Murtogg and Mullroy though? These two guards were funny in the first movie, but now they are missing in action.

Davy Jones, the main villain, is extremely cool. He's all bits & bytes, but he looks incredibly real. CGI-bonanza aside, the character would be nothing without the fantastic Bill Nighy (the soused rock star from Still Crazy & Love Actually). He provided the voice and the special effects-departement used his 'movements' in a motion capture-suit. The result is amazing.

Stellan Skarsgård, who plays Will Turner's father, was a revelation. He's believable as the tormented Bill Turner and he speaks English without an accent. No mean feat, considering he's Swedish.

Reviews for this movie were mostly unfavourable in the Belgian press. I don't see why : I really enjoyed the movie. Yes, it's too long as well. Director Gore Verbinski needs a better cutter, because I saw some scenes that needlessly extended the playing time. For example (not a spoiler) : there are three encounters with 'an aquatic enemy'. One was sufficient, because the less we see, the cooler it gets - e.g. Darth Maul in Star Wars - The Phantom Menace.

But other than that, there's not much to complain. It looks good (some wide angles are a sight for sore eyes!), there are some really funny moments, Johnny Depp shines and the music (by Hans 'Don't mention the war' Zimmer) is thundering.

The cliffhanger is a good, err, cliffhanger. We all want to see part three, so mission accomplished.

Don't let the negative articles about Dead Man's Chest scare you off. It's a very entertaining movie!

Julian De Backer, 6 August 2006