Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

When I visited Disneyland (Anaheim) many years ago, I rode the Pirates of the Carribean theme ride. It was a pretty good experience. It was also the time when I started playing Lucas Art's Monkey Island series of video games, which contains references to Pirates of the Carribean theme ride. We all loved immersing ourselves in pirates lores when we were growing up and I wouldn't expect nothing less from you.

We went to the theater to watch Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest during the weekend, armed with a not too high expectation. I am aware that Hollywood loves to butcher good franchise. Lucky for us, apart from being too long, a rather dodgy opening and long sequences, it was a pretty entertaining film. The first Pirates of the Carribean film was one of my favourite action/comedy films that I watched numerous of times. This was one of the Jerry Bruckheimer films that was respectable (he hasn't got many you have to admit).

Dead Man's Chest is an excellent sequel. Quite a number of people has dubbed it the equivalent to Empire Strikes Back - a sentiment I agree with. The original comedic and carefree attitude of the first film is retained while the action, intensity and 'darkness' level has been notched up several times up. They even brought back Pintel and Ragetti, probably to boost the comic level of the film, to such a great success. Mackenzie Crook was brilliant.

Body counts do rise up early on and the gory effect were pretty decent for a 12A film. Character development, already pretty good in the first film, retains the same pace in Dead Man's Chest. The 'love triangle' setup for the third film will only pave for further character development - something we should thank the scriptwriters for. I am also glad that key (main) characters from the first film has returned, and judging by the ending, more will be in the next sequal.

CGI effects were well done. I would even class it close to the effects of Lord of the Rings series of films. It is years and leaps ahead of that other dreadful CGI crapfest that graced my unfortunate eyes (Harry Potter 4). I read that Bill Nighly's character (Davy Jones) was 100% CGI, which was quite a shock to me. Maybe photorealism effects has finally arrived. Davy Jones does seem more 'real' than even Peter Jackson's snarling little ex-hobbit.

The other special effect - to boost the cup size of Keira Knightley wasn't as impressive though. The apparent clevage that she boasted during a scene was pretty in your face, but when she turned her body suddenly her chest seems flat. Still kudos to the airbrushing team for creating what seemed at first to be quite an impressive set of bosoms. Unfortunately the costume department failed to provide proper padding later in the film to reflect her early hourglass figure. But then again, the costume department did a great job for most part of the film.

The plot can get lost during the numerous side quests of the protagonists and plot holes. I am also disappointed that the film auteurs has decided to create a rather long and pointless sword fighting sequence towards the end, which can get a little bit boring after a while. That and the fact that the film was just too long.

We truly enjoyed the film. In an age where we hardly go to the movies after cancelling our annual cinema membership, I am glad that we chose something that was enjoyable. We eagerly await the finale, out next year.

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lainieyeoh said...

hah...i love monkey island series.

well. good to know pirates of the caribbean not entirely dodgy. can't wait to watch it.

ainee said...

crap. i hate that kind of cliffhanging ending. they gave so much suspense! cant wait to see the most gorgeous and fashionable pirate after dis. aye!

Jon said...

@lainie, yep. If only another 2D Monkey Island is being developed.

@khainee, second. Give us a closure and I would have been very happy.

Liew said...

I think Sid Meier's: Pirates! is a better game

Jon said...

As a resource management game Pirates is good but Monkey Island is closer to Pirates of the Carribean, especially the humour.