Monday, 3 July 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead man's chest (2006)

A pirate's life for me!

Great Disney and Pixar movies get made into roller coaster rides at Disneyland Park. When I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl 3 years ago in the cinema, a sense of incredulity struck me. That movie was outrageously fun, energetic, whimsical and exceedingly silly, but never for once did the adult in me disapprove or feel stupid for liking it. And then, imagine my surprise when I realised that I have seen this before. On a pirate themed ride in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland Park. And yes, the name of that ride is Pirates of the Caribbean, and that opened in Disneyland Park in 1967, and since then has been a fixture at every Disney resort of note.

What can we expect from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest this year? The same as the last film: pirates, curses, and treasures! Johnny Depp returns as Jack Sparrow, now rightful captain of the Black Pearl. Unfortunately it appears that Jack is a victim of a most frightful curse. In return for certain favours in the past, Jack owes his soul to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), the King of the Sea, and the time has come for the Cthulhu-lookalike to collect the debt. That’s unless Jack can find a way to destroy or control Davy Jones, or find a treasure that the octopus-faced man will willingly trade the debt for. Unless Captain Jack tries running away, but remember, the King of the Sea has a crew of undead ex-pirates and a great kraken at hand.

Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley), on the verge of getting married, are once more swept into into Captain Jack’s adventure, no thanks to the machinations of Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the British East India Company. But what is the East India Company’s top representative doing in the West Indies? The enterprising man has figured out that in order for the company to rule the sea, he needs a certain item in Jack Sparrow’s possession, and that only with the help of Will and Elizabeth can he obtain what he seeks.

Can Jack escape his debt to Davy Jones? Can Will and Elizabeth have their moment of peace together? Will the East India Company rule the world? Do these questions even matter – because what we really want to know is: Is this just as fun as Curse of the Black Pearl? Are the action scenes and setups even more wild? Is the humour still as off-kilter and whimsical as before?

Yes, even as the wheelings and dealings get more baroque. Yes, and you’d think (wrongly) that some of them must have been inspired by a Disney theme ride. And yes. The script sparkles with even more dizzy wordplay than the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Jack Sparrow gets the best lines here, punning and reverse punning as if the writers had gone wild on the Black Adder series, while the absurdity of a running commentary in a certain extended joke reminded me of vintage Python.

Should you watch it? Yes! I would watch it again!

What might be Captain Jack’s Song
(sing it to... the Lumberjack Song!)

I’ve always wanted to be a pirate!
Sailing from port to port!
As I float down the islands of the Caribbean
Port Royal!
Isla da Muerta!
The smell of the fresh sea, the crash of mighty waves!
With my best girl by my side – we’d sing, sing, sing!

Oh! I’m a pirate and I’m okay
I sail all day and plunder all night!

I set my sails, I eat my lunch,
I hunt for cursed treasure.
On Wednesdays I go shopping
and have buttered scones for tea

I set my sails, I raid and loot
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on more mascara than Lizzie
and hang around in bars.

I set my sails, I brave the seas,
a-swaying with each passing wave!

First published at incinemas on 13 July 2006

No comments: