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Fun with Franchises: Final Thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

All right… we’ve watched the film, talked about it, had fun with it, and then we went and listed our favorite images from the film yesterday. Now all that’s left is to finish up with what we actually thought about the film as a whole.

This is our space to go over what we liked and didn’t like about each film we watch for Fun with Franchises. We talk about specific things as we get to them during the articles, and we’ll mention our general thoughts during them, but we don’t really ever get to sit and do broad strokes during the articles. So this is why we do these Final Thoughts. We get to take a step back and talk about the films as a whole, rather than discussing specific scenes or images. We’ll talk about how we felt about the film, how we liked it as a film, how we liked it as a member of its franchise, and where we think it falls within that franchise.

Again, it’s not very complicated, but it is a place to find out what we actually thought about certain movies, since, while we’re having fun with them in the articles, it may get difficult to tell sometimes. Because we’ll just rip things to shreds for fun, even if we love them.

So here are our final thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest:

Final Thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest:

Colin:

I liked this less than Black Pearl, and surprisingly enough, less than At World’s End. It was an okay place to pick up the story, I suppose, and really good to look at, but I think that perhaps the fact that it was picking up a story that was tied off rather nicely made it feel more awkward than its sequel, with which it shares some continuity of plot and purpose.

I’ll start off with what I liked. This franchise still looks pretty great. There was more obvious CGI in this one (and just more CGI, period), but all in all, it still looked quite good from an objective perspective. The island where the final action sequence took place was exceptionally gorgeous. That pure, blue water, and the white sand. There are always plenty of beautiful shots of ships. And let’s don’t forget some of the great cinematography of fight sequences, like the ones we covered in yesterday’s post. I’m a big fan of this new villain — Beckett — because he’s less of a goofball and knows how to play the game more effectively than Norrington did. Not only does he know plenty about the supernatural happenings on the ocean, but he’s ready to get his company into the game. He’s smarter than Norrington was, more effective, and driven by genuine evil or greed, rather than duty. I like that.

There are a number of issues with this movie, though. It certainly relies too much on jokes from the first movie. Like, on a Hangover II level. How many times did I groan at jokes about the rum being gone or Will being a eunuch? A truly good sequel, in my eyes, works well as both an installment and as a standalone film. This one did a lot of leaning on the success of the first film. And cannibullshit. How awful was that? We spent a good 20 minutes at the beginning of the film doing an anime filler episode that was completely unrelated to the plot. And I really hate that. Might as well have thrown in a podrace while they were at it. At least I enjoy looking at podraces. I should also mention that the final extended action sequence beginning with their three-way swordfight and ending with the Black Pearl being consumed by the Kraken was long and a bit draining. Even Michael Bay gives you the odd minute’s respite from the action every ten minutes or so. I’ve found that the more movies I’ve watched, the less tolerant I am of extended action sequences, unless they’re really well done or involve vehicles and explosions. The water wheel thing was way over the top and lasted about five minutes longer than it had to.

I had a few issues with plot points, too. What’s Jones’ story? I know we’re supposed to get more of it in the next film, but it was hard to get into him as a villain when we didn’t know what his motivations or intentions were. He just wants souls? Why? Just to crew his ship? What does he DO with the ship? Get more souls? He sort of shares the top villain spot with Beckett, but unlike Beckett, he lacks an easily understood character basis. I don’t know who he is or what he wants. And that’s why he ends up being more of a plot device than everything else. It showed a bit of a failing on the part of this franchise to adequately explain what needs to be explained without giving it to Orlando Bloom to just tell us. That may be the difference between a decent blockbuster film and a truly great franchise installment. At any rate, there’s plenty that I’d like to have been informed about.

So yeah, I enjoyed the movie overall, but when I look back on it, I remember mostly the cannibullshit and the extended fight sequence at the end. Maybe also how gross all the crew of the Dutchman were. And that’s too bad, because this wasn’t a bad movie — it’s just that all of those things I remember first remind me of how it could have been a better movie. 

My Final Thoughts:

This is a difficult movie to talk about. Because on the one hand — it does work, but on the other, it has problems. And all of the stuff that happens is a nice link between the first film and the next one, and it successfully helps them complete a satisfying trilogy.

The real issue with this movie though are the filler scenes. Because there’s no Barbossa, they fill up the extra space with stupid shit. That entire sequence on Cannibal Island is totally pointless in every way. And the silly quotient in this movie is way too high. Which is weird, since it’s like they said, “We need to make this film more family,” even though it’s about a dude cutting out his fucking heart.

Tia Dalma is pretty racist, and now that I know what her ultimate purpose in the plot is, like her even less in this movie. (Though she does bring Barbossa back, which is a nice consequence.)

But the basic story is pretty solid. Jack traded time aboard the Dutchman for captainship of the Pearl, which makes sense, especially since you know he did it to try to play Jones the way he plays everyone else, and now that time is up. Meanwhile, the East India Trading Company has taken over and are after Will, Elizabeth, Jack and the rest of the pirates. That works. Broad strokes, that stuff works. And the more I watch it, the more I do like this movie more than I thought I did. But there’s stuff about it that doesn’t sit right.

The third act action sequence is the same way. It takes place in a great location and is really well-choreographed (and even conceived — with Norrington and Elizabeth and all that), but there’s just such stupid shit in there, like Depp falling into the grave and getting picked up by the wheel, and that random fucking bar that appears and disappears out of nowhere. Shit like that just makes me wonder why they had it in there, especially when so much of this movie works so well.

I want a kraken.

I don’t really have all that much to say about this movie except — I like it third best among the franchise movies, but it looks better than possibly all the rest of them. My thoughts are the same as Colin’s — this is a really good movie, but… that first one is almost perfect, and they just don’t reach that point with this. Which I normally wouldn’t blame them for (even a little bit, which is what I’m doing here. Blaming them a little bit), but — cannibullshit. That’s an extended sequence that’s just completely pointless. That shit was longer than the stuff at Port Royal with Orlando Bloom at the governor’s house in the first movie.

So — it’s really good, just not all there. Too much stupid shit. But, you could do worse for a franchise movie that doesn’t live up to its predecessor.

Plus — seriously — this movie looks fucking amazing. So top marks there. And it really helps them create a satisfying trilogy.

And really bad eggs.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow, we start At World’s End.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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