If you were on the fence about going to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and hoping this morning’s reviews would help you make a decision, I fear you’re outta luck. A perusal of critics from across the country finds them decidedly split into camps that PinkIsTheNewBlog might label ”Woot!” and ”Boo!” (EW’s own Lisa Schwarzbaum is definitely in the latter, calling the flick ”a theme ride, if by ride you mean a hellish contraption into which a ticket holder is strapped, overstimulated but unsatisfied, and unable to disengage until the operator releases the restraining harness” in her D+ review). Read on, and if you’ve seen the movie for yourself, please choose a side in the comments section below.
-Joel Siegel, ABC News: "This film is so much fun. The cast has fun. The audience has fun. Your popcorn tastes better, it’s that much fun. And all the other wannabe summer blockbusters have been so serious and glum. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is the best summer movie of the summer. And, of course, you know it’s rated ‘Aargh!’"
-Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: "Emboldened by the original film’s $653 million global take, producer Jerry Bruckheimer has made a monster, turning a fun, fresh romp into a misguided mishmash of special-effects excess and horror-show repulsiveness. The charismatic cast that sparked the original is lost in a tempest of supernatural meanies and repulsive creepiness."
-Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times: "Quite possibly the silliest movie to grace multiplex screens this summer, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest can only be described as a hoot. A goofball riff on the pirate-movie genre, this sequel is as insubstantial as popcorn — and as delicious."
-Katherine Monk, Vancouver Sun: "The narrative details are murky and ill-formed, and once again, the talents in charge figured they could fix things with some fancy computer work. The code-writers worked overtime creating some magnificent illusions — particularly the creatures that form the crew of the Flying Dutchman, as well as Jones’s secret weapon: a giant octopus that crushes ships in one slimy embrace. Yet, for all the hard work, the film is soft in the middle as it runs around in circles and resists genuine emotional development."
-James Verniere, Boston Herald: "The best, most spectacular summer blockbuster thus far, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, the second installment in Disney’s Pirates trilogy, is more fun than a barrel of undead monkeys and an example of what a brilliant cast can do given half a chance and a director on top of his game."
-Ty Burr, Boston Globe: "Arrr, keelhaul the blaggards! The dreaded curse of the sequels hits home with a vengeance in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, a noisy and lazy stopgap movie that goes absolutely nowhere and takes 2 1/2 hours to get there."
-Randy Myers, Contra Costa Times: "The whole creaky plot is secondary to the manic, loud action pieces that sometimes resemble a Buster Keaton film. That and the razzle-dazzle digital effects, which seem to be produced by a team as large as the population of Byron. Undoubtedly, these artists pulled off something special, making Dead Man’s Chest the best special effects extravaganza since The Lord of the Rings movies. Sorry, King Kong, but the giant, grouchy octopus here even shows you up."
-Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: "In the disappointing sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, a strange thing has happened: Depp doesn’t figure in a large part of the action. Instead, we are given interminable scenes featuring Captain Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and his scurvy crew, as well as far too many interludes involving dewy lovers Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley). Can it be that director Gore Verbinski and his screenwriters, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, don’t understand the secret to their own success?"
-Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: "This big-budget studio job does not provoke a conflicted or worse response, as does Superman Returns or the gone, already forgotten remakes The Omen and Poseidon. However bloated (nearly 2 1⁄2 hours, just as Black Pearl shouldn’t have been) and saggy in its midsection, if you’re at all into squiggly tentacles, all sizes, or Depp’s hilarious, feyly swanning characterization, this is the most satisfying big-screen excuse for overpriced popcorn so far this summer."