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FILM REVIEW: Pirates steal the show

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 16:39 IST
Highlight Story

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Tom Hollander, Jonathan Pryce, Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport
Director: Gore Verbinski
Screenplay: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Runtime: 150 minutes
Rating: ****

Carrying on from where The Curse of the Black Pearl left off, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) is getting married to Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) when one Lord Cutler Becket (a representative of the East India Company) turns up and takes both of them prisoner. Their crime? Aiding and abetting the escape of notorious privateer Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the gallows. To keep Elizabeth from hanging, Will and Becket strike a deal: Will must find Jack Sparrow and obtain his broken compass.

Meanwhile, on The Black Pearl Captain Sparrow is having problems of his own. If an angry crew (which has not sighted gold since a very long time) is not bad enough, he learns that he must outrun the fearsome sea monster Kraken, set upon him by Davy Jones – the captain of the legendary ship The Flying Dutchman – to discharge a debt. Jack must find a way out of this debt else he will be forced to join Jones’ cursed crew of undead for a hundred years, and the only way to do it is to stab Davy Jones’s heart. The third problem is that Jones’ heart is buried in the Dead Man’s Chest on a secret island. And to top it all, Will Turner shows up demanding Jack’s compass!

Backed by a full supporting cast of Elizabeth Swann, ex-Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport), pirates, drunks, ladies of negotiable affection, inept sailors, voodoo ladies, Carib cannibals and the terrifying crew of The Flying Dutchman, this is a film that lives up to the hype surrounding the sequel of The Curse of the Black Pearl.

 
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) gets into a three-way sword-fight with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and former Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport)

Johnny Depp as the rascally Captain Sparrow is the show-stealer as he nances through the film, and though Orlando Bloom is cast somewhat in the shade by his brilliant co-star, he too manages to make his mark. Keira Knightley – though high on looks – is wasted, as her purpose seems to be of a pseudo-missionary who appeals to our un-heroic hero Jack Sparrow to mend his ways, to hold aloft his sense of honour and bravery, to – basically – be a better person whom everyone can look up to, all of which is quite eye-roll-inducing.

The action sequences are delightful and thrilling (in particular the swordfights) and worth seeing many times over, the editing is incredibly slick, and as for the graphics and special effects? It may take a 7000-word essay to merely attempt to do justice to the sheer brilliance of the CGI that peppers the film.

However, like the middle film of other famous trilogies (The Empire Strikes Back from Star Wars and The Two Towers from The Lord of the Rings), the film is not quite stand-alone. Rather, it ends on a surprising, even abrupt note and remains a mere stepping stone to the concluding part At World’s End, which shall be released in 2007.

Though the film is rated for 13-year-olds and above, it is not recommended for any impressionable people as there are many images that are gory, creepy and outright frightening.

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