The Movie Binge

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


Pronunciation: 'bäm-"bast
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English bombast cotton padding: pretentious inflated speech or writing, POMPOUS, OVERBLOWN

Almost three years ago to the day, Cinecultist rethought all of our previous assumptions about movies based on Disney theme park rides and fell for the ballsy bombast of Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. When a movie like this comes out of nowhere with verve, pacing and spot-on performances it's such a joy for the jaded summer movie goer. While the sequel—a part two in what is planned to be three planned installments thus far—still has the swagger of cinematic cojones, they've lost the element of surprise. Over-the-topness is still the watchword of the day for Verbinski's part deux, but the joy of his baroque action sequences in outlandish set designs is tempered by disappointment from a eye-crossingly complex plot and general bloatedness. I'm not entirely sold that even summer blockbusters should be this HUGE and I definitely know they shouldn't run 145 minutes.

Some bits I did like, in no particular order: Bill Nighy and Stellan Skarsgard's dueling gross-out CGI'd costumes. Seeing Naomie Harris, who was fab as the pretentious Fassbinder-loving assistant in Tristram Shandy, with red eyes and black teeth. The fact that the cannibals' dialogue didn't merit subtitles. Three way sword-fights, and all the sexual innuendo that implies. The krakken's circular set of teeth. Johnny Depp's eyeball face paint. Keira Knightley in a sexy buccaneer's cap.

And finally: The screening where I saw this was an advance all media put on by Disney at the Ziegfeld and it was packed to the gills (bad pun intended). With some 1660 seats filled with NYC media types for free, you get this exaggerated feeling that there surely can't be anyone else in the city left to see this movie, but still it did over $132 million in box office last weekend. Guess bigger is indeed better.