Given the immense success of the first film in 2003, the inevitable Pirates of the Caribbean sequel received an $80 million boost to its budget. The film definitely looks the part. Both immense in scale and fun, Dead Man’s Chest is easily on par with, if not better than, its predecessor.
Johnny Depp owns his character, a sly pirate named Jack Sparrow. Everything about his performance makes him a perfect centerpiece for the film. The witty dialogue is only the start. His mannerisms and facial expressions cannot be matched by any other actor in Hollywood.
The misadventures of Sparrow, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) create an immeasurable sense of chemistry on screen. At two and half hours, a few trims could have been made in spots, though not a single scene can be considered wasted. A far better pace keeps the story flowing more than character development. As a direct sequel, the established cast needs little introduction.
That leaves plenty of time for what is quickly becoming a trademark for director Gore Verbinski — grand scale entertainment. The story leads to innovative and exciting action sequences, including a swordfight on a spinning wheel that is unforgettable. The imagination used to present this treasure quest is unbelievable.
Special effects are as good as they can be. Bill Nighy plays Davy Jones, and thanks to a brilliant performance and assistance from the no expense spared effects, his character comes to life in flawless fashion. The immense Kraken takes center stage as well, leading to even more exhausting excitement as crews battle the gargantuan beast via any means possible.
Other less-noticeable touches deserve credit as well. The set dressings are a definite cut above. Davy Jones' ship contains tiny details everywhere, from seaweed hanging off its bows, broken boards, to tattered sails. It’s impossible to catch all of these fine additions on only one view. This is a movie that practically requires a second play in the DVD player, and that’s as much for its entertainment value as for its attention to detail.