More undead pirates, more swordplay, and more Keira Knightley. Not to mention three nearly sold out midnight showings on Thursday, July 6 at the AMC Fenway in Boston.
That’s the buzz around the swashbuckling sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which formally opened on Friday.
I had a chance to attend one of the Thursday midnight showings. (Theater 11, behind the guy who actually started talking on his cell phone during the movie.) I got to see first-hand what this pirate business is all about, and honestly, people go mad over this whole thing. One person even waved a black pirate flag and screamed “Arrrr” during the movie.
Despite the fast-paced action and some great scenes, like a three-way swordfight inside an out-of-control spinning watermill, the movie was way too long at 150 minutes. Two and a half hours is just too long for an adventure comedy about pirates, and more time needed to be spent in the cutting room, taking out appendix-like scenes and clarifying the main point of the movie. The plot begins abruptly enough, with the arrest of Knightley’s and Bloom’s characters for helping Jack Sparrow escape at the end of the first movie. Bloom’s character, Will Turner, is immediately offered a way out of jail and execution by helping the East India Trading Company obtain Sparrow’s magical compass.
And then the whole thing gets mixed up with side plots like Elizabeth Swann searching for Turner and developing feelings for Sparrow, and there is just way too much time spent on developing the personality and finer points of the Jack Sparrow character. He’s a maladjusted, crazy pirate, and Verbinski and company should have left well enough alone.
The movie does have some shortcomings, but this is the July blockbuster of an otherwise slow-so-far 2006 summer film season. The movie is predicted to match the original Pirates of the Caribbean’s $654 million worldwide revenue. This may seem amazingly high, but factor in that Dead Man’s Chest and the third installment in the pirate trilogy cost $450 million to produce. Dead Man’s Chest could gross over $100 million this weekend, bringing it close to Spider-Man, which opened to the sum of $115 million back in 2002.
Dead Man’s Chest will team up with the June success of Cars to round out Disney’s fiscal year. Shares of Disney stock closed down at just under $30 Friday.