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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

Size matters in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which recreates the swashbuckling adventures of its predecessor in excess but forgets to take the necessary breathers between for more natural, less contrived fun. Plot was almost besides the point to 2003’s surprise hit The Curse of the Black Pearl, which so joyously mined the cheeky antics of the resurrected pirate genre and melded them with Johnny Depp’s most delectable showcase of over-acting for the rare case of a truly worthwhile mega-blockbuster. That film's chief flaw was its plot-heavy, overindulgent running time, a lopsided two-and-a-half-hours that could have easily been sharpened into a leaner and more energetic form. Dead Man’s Chest repeats this error by piling on the set pieces and subplots beyond the point of necessity or worth; the CGI might be impressive, but with the focus on such generally rudimentary developments, there’s no chance for the visuals to instill a lasting sense of wonder. Depp’s savory performance is a perfect extension of his previous, Oscar-nominated turn, although his own eagerness seems dimmed by the extra narrative baggage being lugged around this time; at times, his frantic bodily language is reminiscent of Buster Keaton’s silent pantomime. Captain Jack must pay a long-standing debt with his soul to the aquatic villain Davy Jones, while engaged William and Elizabeth are arrested for aiding the outlaw Jack in the past. With a plot that piles on the icing whilst forgetting the cake as well as a cliffhanger ending that will lead directly into the third installment (to be titled At World’s End, one can’t help but think that the movie would have been better described with the subtitle Reloaded.