Yo ho ho and once more disguised – this time as a barrel of rum! – I have again sneaked into our local cinema in order to see THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.
SPOILERS ahoy, me hearties, so if you want to see the movie, do not read beyond this point.
HERE BE DRAGONS!
The first thing I want to say is that this movie is a GOOD sequel because it does the thing that GOOD sequels do which is to tell a NEW story. So it is like "The Empire Strikes Back" and not like "Return of the Jedi".
Which is IRONIC because there are a lot of other ways that this story is like the STAR WARS films too!
To start with, they both have big squidy monsters with tentacles and lots of teeth!
The monster in PIRATES (etc) was called the KRAKEN (and that was ALSO the monster in CLASH OF THE TITANS! But then it looked more like a man in a RUBBER SUIT). It was a good and very scary monster!
Then there is also the encounter between young WILL TURNER and his dear old dad who is now covered in DISFIGURING barnacles and has turned to the DARK SIDE. Yes, it is the "I AM your father" moment! Will's dad even tried to save his son by stiffing his boss, DAVY JONES, though with less success than Daddy Skywalker!
Finally there was much BADINAGE between PIRATICAL Captain Jack (Solo) Sparrow and ARISTOCRATIC governor's daughter Elizabeth (Leia) Swann about WHO would turn WHOM to the dark side!!!
The love triangle angle was played much better than in Star Wars, though, with Elizabeth very confused as to her true feelings – not helped by Jack's magic compass – and Will seeing her snog Jack and getting QUITE the wrong idea about why she was doing it. Unless he got the RIGHT idea because she didn't know herself! Plus nobody has turned out to be anybody's SECRET TWIN SISTER, Yet.
I thought all this was pretty GROSS though, so I was glad when the KRAKEN came and ate them!
This film manages to have a good story for all three of the main cast, starting with Jack discovering his DEBT to Davy Jones is due, then Will going on a quest for the magic compass and rescuing Jack only to get himself marooned on Davy Jones ship the FLYING DUTCHMAN (which does NOT fly but is a SUBMARINE instead!) and then Elizabeth escaping and cross-dressing in order to rescue Will and maybe getting caught by Jack instead.
Last time, the jolly old British Empire was represented by Commodore Norrington, aka the man who plays Steven Moffat in COUPLING.
This time, we thought that he had been replaced by an EVEN MORE SLIMY individual in Tom Hollander playing Lord Cutler Beckett, the head of the EAST INDIA COMPANY who was behind Will having to go after Jack's compass. He was very HISSABLE, but we were still VERY delighted when Commodore Norrington returned (sans ship and indeed sans Commodoreship) half way through and SEEMED to join forces with our heroes.
Daddy Alex thought that the film might have been too long and that it could have managed without the COMEDY CANNIBALS(!) But I enjoyed this bit because it was very funny, especially when Captain Jack was turned into a KEBAB.
In fact there were lots and lots of laugh out loud moments, which meant that the film was very enjoyable even if it was dark and scary sometimes too!
Also, that was the "Will's mission" part of the story and it showed that Captain Jack can be a bit USELESS when he's RUNNING AWAY instead of facing his problems. Will's more strait-laced approach may not get the job done but he inspires Jack to arrive at more, er, creative solutions!
The film (based on a THEME PARK RIDE) is a ROLLER-COASTER starting on the high of the light hearted early adventure, dropping you into the dark pit of Jack's betrayal and Davy Jones' locker, then whirling you back up again to the extraordinarily energetic conclusion: a three way triple-cross and then sword fight over the eponymous DEAD MAN'S CHEST, expanding into a five way and then six way fight as first Elizabeth becomes embroiled and then Davy Jones' fishy Pirates arrives! The relentless pace still allows lots of CHARACTER in the fight – Jack's crazy capers counter-pointing Norrington's ruthless revenge. And you have to pay attention all the time to see where the prize is… and who is bluffing, out-witting or just plain beating whom! And the winner is… a surprise!
Then, just like "The Empire Strikes Back" the story finishes on a definite DOWNER, with apparently the baddies in possession of what they wanted and Will and Elizabeth in doubt about their relationship and Captain Jack in, er, the Kraken's tummy!
So all in all it is a GOOD THING that they have all got together to make a THIRD Pirates movie!