Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dead Man's Chest Part 1

So Pirates 2 opened the other week and what's this....I have not written about it on the ole blog. Truth be told I wanted to see it again before writing anything. When I saw the first Pirates I left the theater thinking "that was pretty good". But when I watch it again on DVD I really liked it quite a bit more. And now it is probably one of my favorite movies ever. When I left Pirates 2 I felt pretty much on par with with Pirates 1 "that was pretty good". So I am curious how I will feel when viewing it again. Ya best stop reading now mates because there be big, nasty spoilers ahead.

I did have some complaints about Dead Man's Chest. The big problem for me is the middle movie problem, or better still "the middle movie that was shot back to back with the next film" problem. Each time this has been done (Back to the Future 2, Matrix Reloaded) the results have been less than satisfying because it is the first half of a movie. Events are set up, plots lines introduced and nothing is resolved. I really wanted Pirates 2 to be more self contained with cliff hangers that lead into 3, ala Empire Strikes Back or Wrath of Khan, but sadly that is not the case here; more on that later.

Where the first film had a nice spirit of fun, the 2nd is much more serious and dark ala Empire Strikes Back but without asteroids and Yoda. Not that this is a bad thing. It's just different. If you haven't noticed by now my movie reviews tend to focus on what I didn't like and while Pirates 2, for me, wasn't the "I could complain all day" that Superman Returns was, I had some issues.

But first, the things that bothered a lot of other people, that didn't bother me. I have heard complaints about the movie length, Depp's performance not being "fresh", Jack being a jerk and too much Kraken. The movie is long, but for me it flew by. I was really enjoying being back in the world of these characters. There was quite a bit of action and neato visual f/x this time around and I was glued to the screen or at the very least stapled to it with some of those big industrial staples.

As far as Jack Sparrow goes some of the magic is lost because it is a sequel so we are revisiting characters we know and some of the spark of originality is gone. I don't think Depp can suddenly start playing Sparrow as Carol Channing or anything. He really needs to stay true to what he established in the first film, which he does. In this film Jack does come off as less likeable at times but that is because the stakes are higher this go around. In the first film his ultimate goal is to reclaim his ship, in this film he is trying to save his soul from damnation...so yeah he is a bit more desperate, willing to do whatever it takes to save his own skin. He is a pirate after all.

The Kraken (which I thought was usually a sea serpent in mythology) really only makes appearances in 2 sequences. We don't see it when it engulfs a merchant ship in the first act. Here it is more of a whoosh and the ship is gone. The first time we see ole Krakey is when it attacks the ship Will is on. This encounter is key for the 3rd act battle with the Kraken, when the crew of the Black Pearl blows the crap out of various tentacles a couple times. I dug the Kraken. It reminded me of the squid attack in 20K Leagues only with no wires or James Mason.

Now on to the bits that could be improved. Cannibal Island. While the sequences here are entertaining there really isn't a need for them to have been there. For as long as they are on cannibal island this part of the film only does 2 things to move the story along. #1 this is where Will meets up with Jack for the 1st time in the movie #2 the reintroduction of Pintel and Ragetti, the two pirates who were part of Jacks crew, then Barbossas crew...and now uh..Jacks crew again.

While I didn't really have a problem with these 2 pirates being in the sequel, I didn't like how they show up and no one bats an eye...sure Elizabeth almost says something when she see them, but you'd think Jack would have something to say considering these 2 took part in a mutiny that led to him being dumped on an island, left for dead. Tortuga would have been a better reentry point. Jack and Gibbs are there trying to recruit a bunch of pirates that will be "sacrificed" to Davey Jones, wouldn't Jack gladly welcome these 2 back knowing that he would be getting even so to speak. "Join me crew lads...no hard feelings...all is forgiven......how many does that make Gibbs" that sort of thing.

I would have done that in the bar and then had Norrington's reentry at the dock when they were getting ready to make way. But hey that's just me.....

The last thing that bothered me was the ending. Very quick. Jack has just been incased in carbonite..oh wait no my mistake...died saving the Enterprise...no wait..apologizes....eaten (collected) by the Kraken. So this happens, everyone goes back to see voodoo lady..snap, crackle, pop.. Barbossa is standing there eating fruit..and the movie is over. While Barbossa being alive is nothing short of miraculous, it is sorta cool because I loved Geoffrey Rush's performance in the 1st film; he is just so fun to watch. I am a bit concerned, however, that in the 3rd film he will now be everyone's buddy. Hey remember when I was undead and I tried to kill all of you ...hahahahahahaha boy were those good times. Oh Barbossa you screwball.

So yes a few things that could have been improved. But you never know I could watch it a 2nd time and none of this stuff could bother me. Guess we will see.

Next time the things about the movie I really dug.

8 comments:

3DBurke said...

Holy poop Ray. Your post is almost as long as the movie.

Bott said...

z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z -* -- wow cool uh, review Ray... but you forgot to mention something, What about the monkey!!.. it is still an undead monkey!!... how is that possible??.. why is it still under the course???... explain that for me please...

tomsaville said...

what about the confusing "romance" between Jack and Elizabeth? And the three way sword fight? And how Elizabeth's character pulls a complete 180 AT THE VERY END of the movie? Davey "Squidface" Jones is the only redeeming thing about this movie.

I still care for you deeply though, Ray.

3DBurke said...

The monkey was only in the movie so the writer could have a cameo.

Animator-Boy said...

bott: the monkey is still cursed at the end of the first film. after the credits we see the monkey swim into the treasure cove, climb up on the chest and removes a coin...thereby becoming cursed....again..check it out

tomchu: I dug the three way sword fight. i was saving that for my much shorter part 2. Confusing romance? Jack has always had an eye for Elizabeth, some say two. Remember he hit on her in the first film when they were alone on the island.

The kiss at the end was the only way she could distract Jack while she clamped him to the mast. She did it to save herself and Will because as she said "you are what its after". Jack seemed almost impressed with her deception when he called her a pirate. I liked that there was no true "good" characters. Everyone was willing to stab the other in the back to get what they wanted....

You like Superman Returns and I like Pirates 2...and that's...ok

Hector said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hector said...

Aha! The Undead Monkey! All you gotta do to solve that mystery is pop your Pirates 1 DVD into your player, fast forward through the end credits, and watch...

Ray, glad to hear you enjoyed Pirates, I thought it did a good enough job of being too fun to care much about any problems I would have otherwise had with the movie. Before I found out about the monkey (see above) my response to anyone asking me about it was "I dont care! It was awesome" lol. Hopefully the 3rd one won't suck, as seems to be the case with a lot of these trilogies with the 2nd and 3d movies connected, which you pointed out. Either way next summer is going to rock! Oh! And thanks for your help this weekend, Ive been pretty busy and hadnt had the time to respond to your message. Really appreciate it. See you around man.

Alex Fleisig said...

pirates 2 was okay. It had some fun moments, but I thought overall it was a bad film. It wasn't structured in any cohesive way. There were no segues between many of the scenes, and characters had little to no motivation for many of their major actions. And sometimes it was just too gross... gross for the sake of being gross. It was certainly not the amazing piratey achievment that the first film was.