A little too much dead action in "Pirates" | VailDaily.com

A little too much dead action in "Pirates"

Shauna Farnell
Special to the Daily

It’s a fast road from an original masterpiece to a sequel brandishing little more than an expensive stream of eye-popping action. Just ask the guys behind the most recent “Star Wars,” “Matrix,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “Harry Potter” creations.”Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” mutes the novelty of Johnny Depp’s wobbly pirate persona in Jack Sparrow, exchanges Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann’s once-substantial romance with close ups of a new team of antagonists with tentacles for jowls and barnacles falling off their faces, corpses having their brains picked out by crows and a giant sea creature puking up mucus and crushing one crew with ship after another.There’s no denying that a lot of the action is fantastic and clever, but much in the way that the background noise of an entire day’s worth of TV gunfire can numb the senses, “Pirates 2” has a similar effect after two and a half hours of said Hollywood abrasions.

The best thing about the first “Pirates” was the constant presence of Depp’s zany, wild-eyed zigzag and flamboyant gesticulation. While the schizophrenic Keith Richards was faithfully intact for part 2, Sparrow was perpetually dazed about his purpose in life, which sucked some of the force right out of his every swaggering movement.The entire film in many ways was geared toward setting the stage for the forthcoming part 3. (Then again, “Empire Strikes Back” employed the same strategy).The film begins with Sparrow bursting out of a coffin floating at sea, which ranks up there as one of the top scenes in the whole movie. Sparrow then finds himself (unexplainably) marked with the curse of the black hand, with which he is at any time subject to being eaten alive by the hideous leviathan that haunts the sea (aforementioned mucus spitter). Turner and Swann are about to be married when they are mysteriously and rather groundlessly arrested and sentenced to death.

Then Turner sets out on a mission to pardon Swann and Swann sets out to find him. When the two are together again, Turner gets wrapped up in a comedic sword twirl that lasts about 35 minutes, leaving his love to be chased by fanged sea shells, whom she respectably fends off with a newly acquired prowess for weaponry and acrobatics.I have to say I would have liked “Pirates 2” much better if it had been consolidated into 2 hours or less. I loved the firefly lagoon scenes that, like much of both “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, remains true to the namesake ride at Disneyland. The script was funny, if not diluted when spoken by characters with too much tar in their mouths. Less focus on makeup and action targeting the dark and grotesque would have been greatly improved by a spotlight on what the movie was actually about.Still, for entertainment value, “Dead Man’s Chest” beats 2 and a half hours of video games.

Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 748-2936 or sfarnell@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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