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.