Charming rogue pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back for a grand, swashbuckling, nonstop joyride filled with devilish pirate humor, monstrous sea creatures, and breathtaking black magic. Now Jack's got a blood debt to pay -- he owes his soul to the legendary Davy Jones, ghostly Ruler of the Ocean Depths . . . but ever-crafty Jack isn't about to go down without a fight. Along the way, dashing Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and the beautiful Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) get caught up in the thrilling whirlpool of misadventures stirred up in Jack's quest to avoid eternal damnation by seizing the fabled Dead Man's Chest!
Take the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, add a dash of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a lot more rum. Shake well and you'll have something resembling Dead Man's Chest, a bombastic sequel that's enjoyable as long as you don't think too hard about it. The film opens with the interrupted wedding of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), both of whom are arrested for aiding in the escape of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in the first film. Their freedom can only be obtained by getting Captain Jack's compass, which is linked to a key that's linked to a chest belonging to Davy Jones, an undead pirate with a tentacle face and in possession of a lot of people's souls. If you're already confused, don't worry--plot is definitely not the strong suit of the franchise, as the film excels during its stunt pieces, which are impressively extravagant (in particular a three-way swordfight atop a mill wheel). It may help to know that Dead Man's Chest was filmed simultaneously with some of Pirates 3, so don't expect a complete resolution (think more The Empire Strikes Back) or the movie will feel a lot longer than it really is.
Bloom shows a tad bit more brawn this time around, but he's still every bit as pretty as the tomboyish Knightley. (Seriously, sometimes you think they could swap roles.) Bill Nighy (Love, Actually) weighs in as Davy Jones and Stellan Skarsgård appears as Will's undead father. But the film still belongs wholly to Depp, who in a reprise of his Oscar-nominated role gets all the belly laughs with a single widened eyeliner-ed gaze. He still runs like a cartoon hen and slurs like Keith Richards--and he's still one of the most fascinating movie characters in recent history. --Ellen A. Kim
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