Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) – Gore Verbinski

DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies takes to the sea as I explore the chapters on Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales, and find myself confronting Davy Jones as I settled in for the first sequel to the surprise franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean.

When Disney had a surprise hit on their hand with Pirates, based on an enduring ride in the Disney parks, it was no surprise that a second film was quickly commissioned, and saw the mythology and the universe of the film series expanding to include legends and supernatural concepts of the ocean. In this case, we are introduced to the kraken, Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman!

It seems Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has been marked for enslavment by the dangerous squid-faced Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). But the odd captain has a plan to beat him, find Jones’ hidden heart via key, map and quest.

But he’s not the only one out on the ocean, when Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann’s (Keira Knightley) wedding is interrupted by British forces who force young Turner to take to the water and hunt down Sparrow for reasons of their own, with Elizabeth held in prison until he is successful.

The plot rockets along, such as it is, but it’s more the moments, locations and set pieces that make this series so much fun to watch, and at this point in the series, the world wasn’t suffering from Sparrow-fatigue.

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We learn more about Will’s father, Bootstrap Bill (Alexander Skarsgard), a man who is enslaved to Jones and consequently, with all this going on, alliances shift and are a matter of convenience from moment to moment.

The film looks great and is rounded out by an all star cast including Jonathan Pryce, Naomie Harris, Jack Davenport, and Mackenzie Crook.

Verbinski returns to direct the second installment, and condequently, it feels very much a part of the world established in the first film. It looks lush, is beautifully photographed, and features great costumes, and actors enjoying a chance to swash their buckles and cross swords.

I would never argue that these films are cinema, but they are genuinely entertaining, and popcorn movies in the best tradition, escapist fare that spare no expense, and the visual effects, practical and computer generated images, look great – Nighy looks amazing, and the kraken is truly threatening and monstrous.

The film is big, fun, an all-star special effects extravaganza that entertains, and makes a solid sequel to an unexpected hit, although the attempt to create a bit of romantic triangle between Will, Elizabeth, and Sparrow seems a bit of a misfire.

There are more monsters and creatures to be discovered in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies! Set your course, and find something to watch tonight!

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