Saturday, July 08, 2006

...and a bottle of rum!

I emerged from the theatre three hours after going in, exhausted, panting for breath, holding my sides... and very gratified! Seeing the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel was so much fun I could barely walk afterward. There are some uproarious sequences that will keep you glued to the screen and waiting with anticipation for the next stunt, and you will cheer as Cap'n Jack Sparrow does his cartoony best to make it through yet another gauntlet of epic, Warner Brothers-esque peril. Seriously, this is the best cartoon movie in a long time! (At least since The Incredibles...)
Personally, I loved the Kraken. Ever since I was a wee lad thrilling at the Disney production of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I have loved monster squids rising up from the fathoms and with a thousand tentacles pulling down helpless frigates, freighters and Flying Dutchmans. Even so, I was totally unprepared for just how monstrous this beastie could be: Cap'n Jack has a very memorable encounter that still has me laughing.
Obviously Johnny Depp was born to play Sparrow. While he has reduced the character to a few familiar tics, he is still a joy to watch, especially when the Cap'n has to get out of a scrape. The escape sequence wherein he does his best impression of a runaway shish kabob is unforgettable. Keira Knightley is gorgeous and spunky and a great actress; she manages most of the "heavy lifing" character-wise with panache. The less said about the bland Orlando Bloom the better -though the ladies with us at the movie didn't care a whit about his performance.
Lots of familiar characters return. My favorite was Norrington, the stiff commodore from the first movie. A scene where he is caked in mud and vomit and simply standing swaying, rum bottle in hand, is priceless. Nice to see some character evolution -or, in this case, devolution.
Bill Nighy as Davy Jones is precious. You will believe a squid has a heart. And his crew-! A bevy of mutated fishmen that are worth the price of admission. If I see this movie again (once I recover my energy), I will be watching the crew to try to figure just what exactly they are. You have never seen such a motley bunch, and I mean that as praise. One of the strengths of these movies is that the pirates really look like pirates, even when they are CGI!
Whatever you do, if you have yet to see this, avoid the cast list: seeing it in advance will spoil some of the movie's best surprises.

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