The Pirate in Us All
It's official - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is a great movie. We took all the kids and went to the matinee showing today, and I really liked it. But maybe not for the reasons you might expect. Let me see if I can explain (without giving too much away).
First of all, we loved the first movie. We walked into that one with a sort of with a sort of 'grin and bear it' attitude - my sister and her then fiancee had asked us to go, and we felt like we had to take one for the team. It was definitely not something we would have gone to on our own - I mean, come on, it's a Disney ride, right? I walked out utterly stunned, thinking, 'This is the best pirate movie of all time - I WANT TO BE A PIRATE! ARGHHHH!' (picture my wife looking embarrassed and you'll have it to a tee).
So that was the first movie. If you didn't like that one, you won't like this one. Save yourself the money and don't bother going. BUT... if you liked the first one, then you simply must see this one too. Whether or not you will like it, though, may be a different story.
Put simply, this is a very different movie. One friend described it as 'darker' - that may be an apt description, but probably not in the way you'd expect. This movie feels different, slower. There are less memorable one liners. But then again, these are people we already know from the first movie, and so you simply can't have the same element of surprise (how do you top something like the opening scene in the first movie anyway, with Jack sailing his leaky boat into port? It can't be done, so we shouldn't be too critical when they don't try!).
That said, there are still some great twists - the three-way sword fight was brilliant (nuff said). There is lots of the same comic relief that kept the first one from taking itself too seriously. The special effects are good, not overdone (or creepy wierd). With all that said, I found myself kind of 'waiting' for the movie to take off. I also found myself wondering 'Is this good enough that we're going to buy it when it comes out on video?'
And then, all those concerns were answered (affirmatively) in the last 10 minutes of the movie. This is where it is utterly brilliant. The first movie is a pirate movie - it's about a pirate named Jack Sparrow. This second movie is a philosophical expose, dressed up as a pirate movie - it's about the pirate in all of us.
And here's where it is absolutely brilliant - you don't realize what's going on until the end of the movie. The movie only really makes sense in retrospect, when you look back and realize what's been going on. The question at hand is simple: what will you do to get what you want, the thing that you love most? Who are you willing to betray in order to get (or save) what is dearest to you. The movie is full of people doing just that - selling out their principles to get what they desire. Even Elizabeth - yes, dear, charming, sweet Elizabeth - reveals that she too has a dark side. And it is absolutely stunning and tragic to watch it play out.
So I come away from this movie thinking, "Wow. I need to see that again. Because what was going on there was much more than a simple pirate movie - it was asking real deep, meaningful questions about friendship and love, right and wrong, and where do we draw the line." In short, this is a movie about human nature, about how all of us are pirates deep within, and when that inner darkness comes out, it ain't always pretty.
I also came away thinking I can't wait to see the next one. It's been a long time since I've seen a good cliffhanger, and this is one of the best. It will be very, very interesting to see how they resolve this thing - they've asked some good questions. Now we need to see if they come up with good answers.
Ok, that's all I'll say for now. Hopefully this will whet your appetite to go see it for yourself. Marilyn was a tad disappointed; all three of my kids loved it (because after all, its still a rousing piratey affair); I loved it because of the deeper questions it raised. And the ending is absolutely stellar. Do yourself a favor and go check it out. Once you do, I'd love to hear what you think about it (but let's try to check any spoilers to a minimum - the element of surprise is essential here!).
Looking forward to hearing what others thought of it...