Timbers? Shivering? With my reputation?

Mark Kermode — the foun­tain of vit­ri­ol at the centre of the BBC’s film review effort — has had plenty to say about Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man’s Chest. In short, he didn’t like it. He thinks it rep­res­ents one of the fail­ures of mod­ern cinema. Holding Dr Kermode’s opin­ion in regard, I sat down to watch the offend­ing DVD with my girl­friend last night. I had pre-loaded my brain with jokes a la Johnny Depp need­ing to be dragged to the Terence Stamp Hospital for Outlandishly Hammy Acting and “God, it’s sooo com­mer­ic­al. There’ll be a bloody theme park ride next.”

Anywho, I liked it. I’m one of these tir­ing people so entranced by the wee flashy lights on the goggle box that I’ll laugh at any­thing, but POTC: DMC made me laugh heart­ily. “Look! It’s the dog from the first film! And he’s car­ry­ing -” I broke off for a gig­glin’ fit — “the jail keys!” (My girl­friend said, “Hmm,” which is a sub­vocal imper­at­ive for me to shut up.)

Overall, the film is quite com­plex. Interestingly, not as a com­plex as a Shakespearian com­edy — which, I’d sug­gest, the film resembles in many respects (as pop­u­lar enter­tain­ment with lots of ship­wrecks, cross-dress­ing, double- and triple-crossed view­points, and plenty of sword-on-sword action). But keep­ing up with the stakes is dif­fi­cult. As a view­er, you just have to know, instinct­ively, what the char­ac­ters are gun­ning for. If you need to use writ­ten notes (or stop the DVD and ask your boy­friend) then the film is prob­ably too con­vo­luted.


Look, I don’t know why I wrote ‘Arrr!’. But this is a post about a pir­ate film, land lub­bers, and we’ve’s got rules.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

2 thoughts on “Timbers? Shivering? With my reputation?”

  1. Hmmm, I was really dis­ap­poin­ted by it, to be hon­est. Not actu­ally bad, didn’t hate it, but felt let down from the first movie. It was like Temple of Doom com­pared to Raiders of the Lost Ark — it had the ele­ments I wanted but they felt as if they were all done very much by the num­bers, plot­ted and planned by Blockbuster Movie Committee while the first felt genu­inely enjoy­able because, daft though it was, it had a lot of heart. Hoping the third one is more Last Crusade (he said, stick­ing with his Indiana theme).

  2. Thanks for your com­ment, Joe. You’re right, I think, that the sequel cer­tainly did lack heart. It’s almost as though they weren’t expect­ing the first one to do very well and just enjoyed them­selves. I can ima­gine every man and his dog at Disney chip­ping in with script ideas for the second one. I have to watch the third, though. Desperately look­ing for­ward to the next Indie… “and the Frame of Zimmer” per­haps

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