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Mon July 3, 2006
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
It still gets the girls and the audience.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"They were a rough lot indeed, as sailors mostly are: being men rooted out of all the kindly parts of life, and condemned to toss together . . . them that had sailed with the pirates and seen things it would be a shame even to speak of . . . ." R.L Stevenson
Swishbuckling Johnny Depp as pirate captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest reprises a role that in its maiden voyage looked like a great vehicle for Depp to show his many mugging and voice talents. Now he is a caricature of himself endlessly repeating the ticks that once tocked.
The pirates are looking for too many treasures, gold and human, so the film ends up being a stew of concepts looking for a rest. Thank goodness for easy-to-look-at Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann, a damsel hopelessly caught between her need to save virtuous fianc? Will Turner and her passion for the reprobate Sparrow. The special effects are the same old quick cuts and malleable cosmetics, crafting a crafty Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) with moving worms on his face and a kraken with tentacles worthy of Jules Verne but far more believable. Depp is the Errol Flynn of our time but with much deeper talent and narrower taste in women (Vanessa Paradis as a wife is enough for any man in a lifetime).
I have little else to say. The original Pirates of the Caribbean was an original and Depp a most creative Sparrow. The second time around it's more of the same, not a stretch or a necessity for an actor of Depp's considerable talent. As for Orlando Bloom, a sizable paycheck for no challenge is a bit like a pirate finding a chest of gold--he doesn't deserve it, but it still gets the girls and the audience.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com