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Posted at the EW.com website. LINK

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Reviewed by Lisa Schwarzbaum

Because I was so harsh on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl when it steamed into port three years ago while so many others around me were hoisting their mugs of grog for the movie based on a Disney theme-park ride, I was determined to embrace Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with the open mind of a rum-soaked hearty. ''A mirthless course of script beats and busy action sequences'' is what I arggghed back then, mustering only a mild yo-ho-ho for Johnny Depp's glam-rock vamping as pirate/Village Person Capt. Jack Sparrow. I see now that I was wrong about the original: It's a thing of balletic grace, theatrical richness of character, and self-effacing economy of action when compared with the shapeless, weightless, endless sequel -- a version 2.0 that, in its final minutes, portends a future 3.0 of such necessarily staggering, ostentatious extravagance as to bankrupt all but the most iron-walleted of Hollywood producers.

Yes indeed, Pirates 2.0 is a theme ride, if by ride you mean a hellish contraption into which a ticket holder is strapped, overstimulated but unsatisfied, and unable to disengage until the operator releases the restraining harness. There's a big moviegoing chasm between joy and Pavlovian response, and this baby plunges headlong into the abyss in a summer when other equally escapist big deals manage to keep their wits about them.

So, first to the barely intelligible plot -- not that the plot in Dead Man's Chest matters a fig anyway, except insofar as young sweethearts Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are once again thwarted from, as they say in classic pirate movies, getting it on. This time what stands between the two photogenic romantic leads is bluster from a new villainous British prig-in-a-wig, some twitty adult who demands that Will do some impossible thing or another to earn his freedom. Or else. (Or else what? Like we'd care? Like Will and Liz are anything other than whirling teacup figurines?)

Meanwhile, Jack (the louche weirdness now ratcheted up by the one-of-a-kind Mr. Depp so that jumpin' Jack is an exotic Cage aux Folles bird of even fancier lip twitches, wrist curls, and rouged feathers) owes a debt to the underworldly lord of the waterlogged, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). And Jones commands a ship of dead fools disfigured with pulsating, curling, slimy goiters and squid-like protuberances. This army of the deep suggests the very picture of ick by teen standards, conjured through the very fanciest of special effects; the clattering skeletons of the original Pirates look positively minimalist by comparison.

Beneath the tangle of Jones' facial pasta, it's possible ever so faintly to make out Nighy's own familiar, welcome characteristic head tilts, more usefully employed by the delightful British actor in just about anything else he has ever done, but doubtless never more handsomely remunerated. Anyway, as Jack, Will, and Elizabeth work cooperatively, the makers of Dead Man's Chest hurl obstacles in the trio's way with the tenacity -- and undifferentiated agitation -- of shipboard monkeys. Clash after calamity after jokey mishap ensues, with time enough for many of the original secondary players to cash their own paychecks. Remember the BBC Office's Mackenzie Crook as that skinny, scurvy seafaring knave with the loose fake eyeball prone to going astray? There's more eyeball rolling where that came from.

But, see, this is where the cheat between sensation and satisfaction comes in, a substitution only likely to become more commonplace as the Pirates franchise becomes the very model of modern studio brand extension. Without character, where's the consequence? Without consequence, where's the joy? Without an artistic stake in eliciting joy (or sadness, or concern, or something other than a glazed giggle at Depp's finery), there's nothing to keep producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski, and their screenwriting galleymates from piling on another big false ending, and another, and another, Caribbean without end, until a pummeled audience begs for a toilet break and, for mercy's sake, a real conclusion.

Discounting adrenaline rush, fright, nausea, and relief as evidence of dramatic effect, there are no consequences in a theme-park ride: You get on, you get jiggled, you get off. Maybe you even ask for another go-round, because it feels so good when the jiggling stops. Difference is, a ride runs a few minutes, while Dead Man's Chest cranks for what feels like an infernal eternity.

Overall, she gave it a D+! :bat:

I don't know about y'all but I'm going for a hearty laugh and the Will and Capt. Jack goodness. Miss. Lisa seems to take these things much to seriously.

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What is the matter with that woman? :rolleyes:

Somebody must have robbed her of her childhood.cause she hasn't learned how to laugh and enjoy life. Everybody knows Pirates is an exaggerated fun ride. We all just want to get on and enjoy the thrills. :yahoo:

I'm feeling sorry for her. :cry:

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a version 2.0 that, in its final minutes, portends a future 3.0 of such necessarily staggering, ostentatious extravagance as to bankrupt all but the most iron-walleted of Hollywood producers.

Wow, that sounds fantastic!! I know she thinks what she's saying is a bad thing, but she's just left me drooling after Pirates 3 far more than I was before. That description makes it sound like the most fun it's possible to have at the movies! :lol:

Kathryn.

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"There's a big moviegoing chasm between joy and Pavlovian response." :wtf:

Poor Lisa. I wonder why she is so rabidly foaming at the mouth about this? What would elicit JOY from her? Well, as the saying goes, that is her problem and not mine. I myself am looking forward to pleasure, light-heartedness, and FUN. It's called entertainment. :doh:

And I agree with you, Kathryn. Could there be a better teaser for Pirates 3?

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Ahh, to EW's review I say "ewwwwww." :bat:

Considering Lisa S. trashed the first POTC, well, I question her objectivity. You can go to the EW site and politely inform her of such, yes, this geek did so.

I worry about me.

Still, seeing DMC scoring a 55 at Rotten Tomatoes is distressing. Then again not all the reviews are in and accounted for.

Still, as I have previously stated, the audience has the final vote. And I have a feeling it will be a rousing "Ayyyyye, matey!"

An optomistic Spanky

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Guest bluey715

Despite the bad review, at least Johnny, Orlando and Keira are on the cover of this week's magazine so I can overlook the review and just enjoy the cover.

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While we know that the review, how shall I say it politely, suckedwas not so good, I still liked the picture on the first page. So I scanned it for all to enjoy here.

They're on the cover? :2thumbs: Oh, now I can't wait for my copy to come in the mail.

Scans for this are up for your viewing pleasure HERE!

Enjoy! :shiny:

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Step away from the computer. Pay no attention to this woman. Cripes, if I paid any attention to critics, I'd never see another movie.

Any why is it - the ones I love - they hate? Screw'em all.

It's one great good time. Is it the best movie ever made? Not by a long shot. Is is fun, exciting, visually stunning, and funny? Yes.

This movie is on target to be the highest grossing movie in one weekend - in movie history. It has to beat Spiderman I from May 2002. I think it can do it. And it's already broken all box office records in the UK for an opening weekend.

I call that a success.

BTW, I'm in my hotel room replenishing libation supplies - everyone else at PirateCon is downstairs watching "Elizabethtown."

And we have a PantyFling winner.but you'll have to wait for the official announcement.

Let's just say that Canada rocks.

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Step away from the computer. Pay no attention to this woman. Cripes, if I paid any attention to critics, I'd never see another movie.

Any why is it - the ones I love - they hate? Screw'em all.

Amen to that. Why is it this happens so often. After reading her review, I also felt sorry for the poor thing. My mental image of this reviewer seems to be a person who is extremely uptight, stuck-up, and has no joy in their life. How can you watch this movie and not laugh and find enjoyment is beyond me. Maybe she needs someone to explain the whole thing to her. She definitely needs help of some sort.

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Thank you for posting this review. I don't have a party-dress (read sig & avatar) - I'm new to Ka-bloom - but just had to comment. POTC DMC is a wonderful romp. Everyone associated with it should be very proud. Orlando was a wonderful foil for Johnny, and Keira did well (as did 'Norrington'). This lady needs a good cuddle, I'm thinking. The joy of living is not in her.

Semmley

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I don't get mad, I get even with EW. I belong to their Front Row Panel (it's free) and rate the movies that I see before Monday morning. EW Readers' results are averaged and published in their Critical Mass chart along with the grades given by various critics. In nearly all cases, the Readers rate higher than the critics.

This week's survey

Front Row Panel Main Page

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