Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
While watching "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," the sequel to the smash hit with the subtitle "Curse of the Black Pearl," I thought far more about another pirate movie. "Cutthroat Island" was a film that endured about as much ridicule as any movie can, and probably justifiably so, as director Renny Harlin found that audiences didn't indulge in his "my wife Geena Davis as swashbuckling hero" fantasies quite as much as he did, if at all.
I don't make the comparison due to any specific thematic elements, but rather because I can't remember anything about "Cutthroat Island." This is not surprising since the film came out 11 years ago. However, the fact that I walked out of the theater after "Dead Man's Chest" and found myself struggling to recount the plot speaks less to my bad memory and more to a desire to repress a horrific experience, like forgetting one was abused as a child. Maybe "Dead Man's Chest" will all come back to me 20 years from now -– a repressed memory that will likely cause an aneurysm.
Much of the original's hook came from the unexpected nature of following intersecting stories and the love triangle formed by sleazy pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), hero-in-training Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and spunky Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). At the beginning of "Dead Man's Chest," the marriage between Will and Elizabeth is disrupted by the Brits. Will is charged with finding Sparrow, who's off somewhere trying to avoid losing his soul to fellow pirate Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), who seems about 70 percent man and 30 percent squid and who, like Sparrow, is undead.
Following these intersecting stories now is like being jabbed in the groin with a cattle prod. Director Gore Verbinski filmed two "Pirates" sequels simultaneously and it shows. Imagine trying to mix two cakes in the same bowl and you get some idea of what a mess this all is. Feed a bunny crack and there'd be less manic jumping about. Where the original at least had some spunk, this sequel feels as though it's been spit out by a machine.
I realize that if one unfurls a poster of Orlando Bloom in any given public area, women will quickly gather around like flies to manure, but his last two films have been this and "Elizabethtown." Inflicting those two films on anyone should be considered a form of terrorism and, at the very least, Mr. Bloom should be deported. Frankly, I'd recommend that he be stopped at the border the next time he tries to enter this country and subjected to some indecency equal to that of his last two films; it's just that even I can think of nothing that horrid.
I suppose the good part for the filmmakers is that it lowers expectations for the next film.
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