DVD Review: Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Release Date: December 5, 2006
· Gore Verbinski
· Johnny Depp
· Orlando Bloom
· Keira Knightley
· Bill Nighy
by Chad Maddux
Published: December 6, 2006
On the day of their wedding, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are arrested by Lord Beckett. The charge: helping Jack Sparrow.
"CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow!", they respond in unison. The flamboyant captain of the Black Pearl, played by Johnny Depp, returns in the blockbuster sequel, "Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest."
Lord Beckett and the East India Trading Company have a proposal for Mr. Turner. Retrieve the compass of Jack Sparrow, and he'll receive a full pardon. Will is released to pursue Jack but Elizabeth remains in custody.
Jack is trying to avoid settling a debt with Davy Jones, the undead captain of the Flying Dutchman. Jack owes 100 years of service aboard the frighening vessel. When Jack meets with Bootstrap Bill Turner, Will's father, he is cursed with the "black spot", a mark on his hand, a pirate's symbol of a marked man.
Jack is also on a quest. He is trying to find a key that opens a chest. The East India Trading company is also after the chest. They all want the chest for the same reason but their intentions are very different. Along the way, several characters will return unexpectedly from the first film. And at the very end, a huge surprise just seconds before the film ends! The film is a cliffhanger with an unashamedly obvious segway into the third film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End," due out next year.
I made the mistake of seeing this film before seeing the original. As a result, I was a bit confused and the surprises were less impactful since I didn't understand their meaning. However, after seeing the original and watching this film again, it all makes sense. It mixes humor with action, romance with disturbing aquatic creatures. The blockbuster hit, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide, has the perfect mixture of elements that make it highly entertaining.
The characters are portrayed very well. Johnny Depp's performance is very entertaining, despite my preconceived notions about his flamboyant approach to his pirate character. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley have terrific on-screen chemistry. And you have to give credit to Bill Nighy: playing the tentacled Davy Jones could not have been easy.
There are over five hours of bonus features included in this double disc set. The audio commentaries and bloopers are on the first disc. Everything else is on the second disc. I'll mention one item briefly: the "Brought to you by" nonsense on bonus features is just going too far. Normally, bloopers are my favorite bonus feature. However, these bloopers are the irritating, rapid-fire bloopers that move so quickly, you can't even tell what is happening. Some "bloopers" aren't even bloopers: it's just people laughing with no set-up. The commentary features the two screenwriters.
First on the second disc, a featurette on the Captain, entitled "Captain Jack: From Head to Toe - Secrets and Legends Revealed by Johnny Depp and Others" is an interesting "biography" of the film's star. Johnny Depp mumbles throughout, as is his style. Another featurette looks at his nemesis. "Meet Davy Jones: Discover the Creation, Mystery and Mythology of the Sea's Ghostly Ruler" is a very in-depth look at the character. This segment was, by far, the most entertaining featurette.
"Mastering the Blade" was also very interesting, showing the sword fighting techniques used in the film. The other featurettes were very brief or uninteresting. "A Producer's Photo Diary" was just what it sounds like. I've always disliked the photo sets on DVDs and this one was no different. "Creating the Kraken", while interesting to see, was rather laborious. "Charting the Return" was very dull; I moved on without completing it.
The film is presented in Widescreen (2:35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. French and Spanish language tracks are also available along with accompanying subtitles. The two-disc set is packaged in a double-disc case and comes with a booklet.
Despite the asinine inclusion of advertisement splash screens, this is a terrific set, perfect as a gift for Christmas. The film is very entertaining as well as some of the bonus features. If you already own the first, there's no reason to skip a purchase of the second.
"Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of adventure violence, including frightening images.