Two thumbs down. I initially thought it was going to be a great movie. The opening scene looked promising enough with a heavy drizzle of rain soaking cups and plates on a table, while a kneeling bride anxiously waited for his groom. I was wrong. The first sequel lasted more than 3 hours but it stood its ground. This second sequel is an hour shorter than the first, and it survived that long only because of the presence of Depp, Bloom, and Knightley. How long will it take before movie producers realize that famous actors and cinematic effects do not make a great movie? It is a great story that spells the difference!
Warning: Don't watch this film if you haven't seen the first one yet. But that's not an absolute rule. I still remember the storyline of the Curse of the Black Pearl but I still ended up confused watching this film. You can feel how the writers tried in vain to cough up a thread to sew together the riotous scenes. What happened to them? Were they drunk when they wrote the story this time?
Tia Dalma. Remember that name because I can bet that you wouldn't get her name right after watching the movie (I didn't). Tia Dalma is Capt. Jack Sparrow's mystical confidant and adviser, played by Naomi Harris. She is a cross between Neo's Oracle in the Matrix series, and Star Wars' Yoda. Oh, yes! It is already a challenge that so-called "mystical advisers" in films speak paradoxically, but to add a Yoda-syntax on your sentences makes it doubly difficult to comprehend.
Flying Dutchman. Yes, he is in this sequel. This is the only part I loved in this film. We know there are many versions of the flying Dutchman fable, but the one in the movie is the version I like best. Here, the flying Dutchman is Davy Jones voiced by Bill Nighy. He is spectacularly essayed by CGI, and if only for him, you should watch the film. His ship is fully-loaded: it can go underwater, it has the ability to call the Kraken, a behemoth tentacled creature that can easily submerge any ship, it has the triple-canon weaponry, and it has a crew all looking like aquatic animals.
Dead-Man's Chest. What's it all about? It looks like a treasure chest but it does not have money or jewels. What's inside? Davy Jone's beating heart. Everyone is after it, because every one in the movie has an ax to grind with the flying Dutchman and wants him dead. I think the writers should have focused on this aspect only instead of taking the audience for a ride with unnecessary distractions like that scene with cannibals on an island.
Breaking all records. If this movie was so bad, how was it able to beat the weekend records of Spiderman 2 and Revenge of the Sith? Honestly, I don't know. It isn't even a holiday weekend in the US when it opened. I can speculate it must be the excellent presence of the Flying Dutchman. Maybe it was the Kraken?
Thanks to Buena Vista International, HBO Asia, and Global Destiny for the advanced screening invitation and for providing some respite to my heavy schedule.