Making the Grades
Three years and $300 million later (the booty from the original Pirates movie), it should be no surprise that Captain Jack is back in a sequel to the theme park ride inspired Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. This time the infamous rouge (played to precision by Johnny Depp) discovers he owes an unpaid debt to none other than Davy Jones, the nastiest -- and definitely the ugliest -- pirate of the seven seas.
After thirteen years of commanding The Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow has somehow forgotten the ship's mortgage is still in Jones's name. That's also bad news because Jones (Bill Nighy) isn't your typical bill collector. Instead, he and his crew are beings paying for their reprehensible lives by slowing decomposing and metamorphosing into various sea creatures (which are amazingly crafted) and living their hellish lives on board The Flying Dutchman, a vessel which can magically surface nearly anywhere in the ocean without notice. With a squid for a face, the tentacle covered pirate and his ghastly crew certainly rank as one of the most gruesome sights seen on screen. Encumbered by Jones's devilish powers, Sparrow is informed the price to ransom his boat is ninety-nine souls.
It would actually be one hundred, had not his friend Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) agreed to volunteer to serve on the Dutchman, after uncovering a personal secret. However, this course of action forces him to postpone his plans to marry Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Turner's dilemma leaves the bride-to-be spending an inordinate amount of time with the dastardly Jack, leading to the obvious romantic triangle implications.
Adding additional meat to this two-and-a-half-hour epic, is yet another side plot involving the East India Trading Company, helmed by pirate hunter Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander). What he, Captain Sparrow and Will all need is a treasure chest that holds the beating heart of Davy Jones. Whoever can get the key, find the box, and possess the heart has ultimate rule over the seas and Jones's destiny.
Parents who were dealing with the ethical issues of "good" pirates versus "bad" politicians in the first movie will find those concerns minimized in this outing which pits nasty pirates against nastier scallywags and big business playing the baddest of them all. And, like the last movie, nothing in this film is intended for serious consumption. By choosing to exploit Depp's popular character to the fullest, there are few scenes of serious drama. Every other moment is rooted in sarcastic wit thanks to Sparrow's eccentric grandstanding.
Yet, for those too young to be in on all the jokes, there are many horrific scenes, especially involving the Dutchman's crew. Character's rotting bodies are slashed open, parts fall off, and one man loses his head... which begs for the lower half of his corpse to return and pick him up. Murders, torture, and even a strong hint of cannibalism permeate this adventure. These pirates also live up to the stereotyped notion that rum is a main food group, with Sparrow in particular often shown guzzling and stumbling around on deck.
Thankfully profanities are nearly extinct, and some low-cut dresses as well as references to prostitutes are the extent of the sexual content. If you aren't expecting your kids to learn any positive life-changing messages and feel they are mature enough to deal with the Jones's appalling crew, this may be a summertime adventure worth sailing on.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest.
Why do you think audiences have grown to love the character of Jack Sparrow? What makes an underdog personality easier to relate to?
The classic tall ship, The Bounty, was utilized once again in this movie. It was originally built for a 1960s version of Mutiny on the Bounty, starring Marlin Brando. For more information on this important craft, visit http://www.tallshipbounty.org/.
For party ideas for your little scallywags, check FamilyFun.com’s Pirate Party.