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Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

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How can a movie be both hugely entertaining and yet curiously dissatisfying? Perhaps it is the fate of Part Twos. And yet The Empire Strikes Back now stands as the greatest Star Wars, with Dawn arguably the best of the Deads. Dead Man’s Chest lies beside The Two Towers, then – a movie which is all ‘second act’, packed with incident, but no sense of significance. And while the Fellowship’s overarching quest mitigated against frustration, there’s a suspicion that Bruckheimer’s blockbuster franchise depends more on till receipts (there’s talk of parts four and five, after all).

But we’re not idiots to keep coming back for more, because Pirates is fun – an underrated virtue. Making the movie clearly wasn’t, as evidenced in the excellent hour-long doc According To Plan, showing the struggles of working to a locked-in release date. The production almost buckled under budget concerns, with on-set stumbles (hurricanes, sharks, builders) slowing the quest of Captain Jack to save his soul from the squid-faced Davy Jones (Bill Nighy, plus remarkable special effects). Uncertainty over the constantly revised script may account for the finished film’s tonal problems (it’s a romp that strains for real emotion) and certainly explains its attention-straining running time...

 

The screenwriters reference Shakespeare on the chat-track, so might appreciate a quote attributed variously to Mark Twain and Pascal: “I am sorry for the length of my letter, but I had not the time to write a short one.” Let’s hope they put the extra months of scribbling to good use for At World's End.

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