Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

 

Theatrical poster
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Written by Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
Based on Characters by
Stuart Beattie
Jay Wolpert
Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
Starring Johnny Depp
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley
Bill Nighy
Stellan Skarsgård
Naomie Harris
Jack Davenport
Tom Hollander
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Dariusz Wolski
Editing by Stephen E. Rivkin
Craig Wood
Studio Walt Disney Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s) July 7, 2006 (2006-07-07)
Running time 151 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Turkish
Greek
Budget $225 million
Gross revenue $1,066,179,725[1]

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is a 2006 American adventure fantasy film and the second film of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, following Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). It was directed by Gore Verbinski, written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. In the film, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) discovers his debt to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) is due, and the marriage of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) is interrupted by Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), who wants Turner to acquire Sparrow’s compass.

Two sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl were conceived in 2004, with Elliott and Rossio developing a story arc that would span both films. Filming took place from February to September 2005 in Palos Verdes, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and The Bahamas, as well as on sets constructed at Walt Disney Studios. It was shot back-to-back with the third film of the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was released in the United States on July 7, 2006. The film received mixed reviews, with praise for its special effects and criticism for its plot and running time. Despite this, it set several records in its first three days, with an opening weekend of $136 million in the United States, and became the third film ever to gross over $1 billion in the worldwide box office, currently ranking as the 4th highest-grossing film of all time, and is currently the highest-grossing film by Walt Disney Pictures. The film received 4 Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and won the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

Plot

The wedding for Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann is disrupted with the arrival of Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Co. who has warrants to arrest the two and the ex-Commodore James Norrington for helping Captain Jack Sparrow to evade his hanging. Elizabeth is imprisoned while Beckett negotiates with Will to locate Jack and retrieve his compass which has the ability to point in the direction of what a person most desires. At the same time, Jack Sparrow reveals to his crew on The Black Pearl that they are going to find a mysterious key. Jack is approached by a reincarnated Bootstrap Bill Turner, Will’s long-deceased father, who reveals he is now part of the crew of The Flying Dutchman captained by Davy Jones, and Jack must pay his debt to him – Jack asking Jones to raise his ship from the depths and make him captain for thirteen years. Bootstrap further tells Jack that the Kraken will be sent after him. In panic, Jack sails the Black Pearl to the nearest land.

Jack is worshipped as a god on Pelegosto

Will searches for Jack, eventually finding the Black Pearl on Pelegosto where a tribe of cannibals worship Jack as a god and plan to eat him. Jack, Will and surviving crew members escape the island, joined by Pintel and Ragetti, former members of the Black Pearl crew who escaped execution. Elizabeth escapes jail with help from her father Weatherby Swann but he is captured while Elizabeth is sent off by Beckett to offer Letters of Marque to Jack in return for the compass. Jack and his crew visit voodoo priestess Tia Dalma, who tells them that the key unlocks the Dead Man’s Chest where Davy Jones’ cut-out heart is hidden; the key is in possession of Jones. Tia also gives Jack a jar of dirt to protect him from Jones, since Jones is cursed to touch land only once every ten years.

Upon finding a damaged ship, Jack sends Will aboard to “settle” his debt with Jones. Will is captured by the fish-like crewmen of the Flying Dutchman and Davy Jones reunites with Jack, forcing him to gather one-hundred souls in three days for his deal to be called off. Will is drafted onto the Dutchman, where he meets his father, Bootstrap Bill. After tricking Jones into revealing the location of the key, Will manages to steal it from Jones while he is sleeping and escapes the ship with the promise to rescue Bootstrap. Jack and his crew stop in Tortuga, where Elizabeth and a drunken Norrington join them.

Jack and his first mate Joshamee Gibbs realize that Beckett wants the compass to seek the chest and use Jones’ heart to control him and destroy all piracy on the seas. Will finds refuge on a trading ship, but it is destroyed by the Kraken. The Black Pearl sails to Isla Cruces where the chest is buried, and Jack, Elizabeth and Norrington recover it. Will arrives with the key, planning to stab the heart to free his father, unaware that whoever stabs the heart becomes the next captain of the Flying Dutchman. Norrington wants the heart to regain his position in the Navy, while Jack is primarily interested in becoming immortal, able to sail the ocean waters for all time.

Quickly, the argument about the heart’s fate flares tempers, and a three-way sword fight breaks out between Jack, Will and Norrington. While Pintel and Ragetti try to steal the chest, Jones’ crew arrives on the island, forcing Elizabeth, Pintel and Ragetti to fight them together, causing the chest to be dropped. Jack unlocks the chest, finds the heart inside, and hides it in the jar of dirt Tia Dalma gave him. Norrington spirits away the heart and the Letters of Marque, Jack believing the heart is still in the jar. Later, the Flying Dutchman attacks the Black Pearl which escapes the Dutchman until then attacked by the Kraken. Jack tries to flee, but returns to help defeat the Kraken, wounding it with an explosion, but the ship is heavily damaged and most of the crew are dead, leaving only Jack, Will, Elizabeth, Gibbs, Pintel, Ragetti, Cotton and Marty. Jack orders everyone to abandon ship, but Elizabeth, having realized that the Kraken is only after Jack and not the ship or crew, chains him to the mast to ensure everyone else’s escape.

Jack’s confrontation with the Kraken

Jack frees himself, but the Kraken rises up behind him. In a final act of defiance, Jack goes down fighting, hurling himself at the Kraken as the monster drags the Pearl and him to the depths, which Jones watches from his telescope. Jones then opens the chest to find the heart missing, which is delivered to Beckett by Norrington. The surviving members of the Black Pearl return to Tia Dalma, who suggests they retrieve Jack from the afterlife, but recommends a captain who knows those waters. Then, to everyone’s surprise, a resurrected Captain Barbossa arrives, asking about the fate of “his” ship.

Cast

  • Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow: Captain of the Black Pearl. He is hunted by the Kraken because of his unpaid blood debt to Davy Jones. He is also searching for the Dead Man’s Chest to free himself from Jones’ servitude.
  • Orlando Bloom as Will Turner: A blacksmith-turned-pirate who strikes a deal with Cutler Beckett to find Jack Sparrow and his compass so he can save both himself and his fiancée Elizabeth from execution. Later he is reunited with, and seeks to free, his father, who owes a lifetime of servitude to Davy Jones. He is heartbroken when he sees Elizabeth kiss Jack, as he believes she loves Jack, unaware of the fact that the kiss was a trap so she could save herself, Will and the crew.
  • Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann: Governor Swann’s daughter and Will’s fiancée, who is arrested on her wedding day for helping Captain Jack Sparrow escape. Escaping jail with help from her father, she meets up with Jack in Tortuga and joins his crew to search for both Will and the chest. Her engagement to Will is broken after he sees her kiss Jack, though the kiss was a trap so she could save herself, Will and the crew. It is implied she still loves Will.
  • Bill Nighy as Davy Jones: Captain of the Flying Dutchman. The main antagonist, Davy Jones was once a human being. Unable to bear the pain of losing his true love, he carved out his heart and put it into the Dead Man’s Chest, then buried it in a secret location. He has become a bizarre creature – part octopus, part crab, part man – and collects the souls of dead or dying sailors to serve aboard his ship for one hundred years.
  • Jack Davenport as James Norrington: He resigned his commission as Commodore in the Royal Navy after losing his ship and crew in a hurricane in the pursuit of Jack Sparrow and his crew. Fallen on hard times and into alcoholism, he joins the Black Pearl’s crew and seeks to regain his honor and career.
  • Stellan Skarsgård as Bootstrap Bill Turner: A crewman aboard the Flying Dutchman who so happens to be Will Turner’s father. He was cursed by the Aztec gold on Isla de Muerta (along with Hector Barbossa‘s crew). Thrown overboard after refusing to take part in the mutiny against Jack led by Barbossa, he spent years bound to a cannon beneath the crushing ocean. Found by Davy Jones, he swore to servitude aboard the Flying Dutchman crew and escaped death.
  • Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs: The Black Pearl’s first mate and Jack Sparrow’s loyal friend, he once served in the Royal Navy under Lieutenant James Norrington.
  • Tom Hollander as Lord Cutler Beckett: Sarcastic chairman of the East India Trading Company, he travels to Port Royal to capture and recruit Jack Sparrow as a privateer. What he really desires is Davy Jones’ heart, with which he can rule the seas with Jones’ commanded servitude. He takes the position as secondary antagonist which Norrington held in the first movie.
  • Lee Arenberg as Pintel: A pirate and former Black Pearl crewmember under Captain Barbossa, he was imprisoned after the Aztec curse was broken, but escaped to rejoin Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl crew.
  • Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti: Pintel’s inseparable crewmate. He has a wooden eye, and despite being illiterate, has begun “reading” the Bible, with the excuse that “you get credit for trying.”
  • Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma: An obeah priestess who Jack Sparrow bartered with for his magic compass. She explains the legend of Davy Jones, in addition to owning a similar locket to his.
  • David Bailie as Cotton, a sailor who lost his tongue and trained his parrot to talk for him.
  • Jonathan Pryce as Governor Weatherby Swann. Elizabeth’s father and governor of Port Royal. He adores his daughter but puts little faith in Will – not considering him the best match for Elizabeth.
  • Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa: The ex-captain of the Black Pearl is resurrected during this film; however, he does not appear until the final scene. Having met his demise in the previous installment, Barbossa is resurrected by the character Tia Dalma and agrees to rescue Jack Sparrow in order to save the Black Pearl. For this role, Rush was uncredited to keep his return a surprise.

Production

Development

Following the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), the cast and crew signed on for two more sequels to be shot back-to-back,[2] a practical decision on Disney’s part to allow more time with the same cast and crew.[3] Writer Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio decided not to make the sequels new adventures featuring the same characters, as with the Indiana Jones and James Bond series, but to retroactively turn The Curse of the Black Pearl into the first of a trilogy.[4] They wanted to explore the reality of what would happen after Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann‘s embrace at the end of the first film, and initially considered the Fountain of Youth as the plot device.[5] They settled on introducing Davy Jones, the Flying Dutchman and the Kraken. They also introduced the historical East India Trading Company, who for them represented a counterpoint to the themes of personal freedom represented by pirates.[6]

Planning on the film began in June 2004, and production was much larger than The Curse of the Black Pearl, which was only shot on location in St. Vincent.[7] This time, the sequels would require fully working ships, with a working Black Pearl built over the body of an oil tanker in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. By November, the script was still unfinished as the writers did not want director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer to compromise what they had written, so Verbinski worked with James Byrkit to storyboard major sequences without need of a script, while Elliott and Rossio wrote a “preparatory” script for the crew to use before they finished the script they were happy with. By January 2005, with rising costs and no script, Disney threatened to cancel the film, but changed their minds. The writers would accompany the crew on location, feeling that the lateness of their rewrites would improve the spontaneity of the cast’s performances.[5]

Filming

The two bone cages used in one of the opening scenes of the film. The cages are now located on an attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Filming for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest began on February 28, 2005,[8] in Palos Verdes, beginning with Elizabeth’s ruined wedding day.[5] The crew spent the first shooting days at Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles, including the interiors of the Black Pearl and the Edinburgh Trader which Elizabeth stows away on,[8] before moving to St. Vincent to shoot the scenes in Port Royal and Tortuga. Sets from the previous film were reused, having survived three hurricanes, although the main pier had to be rebuilt as it had collapsed in November. The crew had four tall ships at their disposal to populate the backgrounds, which were painted differently on each side for economy.[3] One of the ships used was the replica of the HMS Bounty used in the 1962 film adaptation of Mutiny on the Bounty.[9][10]

On April 18, 2005,[11] the crew began shooting at Dominica, a location Verbinski had selected as he felt it fitted the sense of remoteness he was looking for.[5] That was exactly the problem during production: the Dominican government were completely unprepared for the scale of a Hollywood production, with the 500-strong crew occupying around 90% of the roads on the island and having trouble moving around on the underdeveloped roads. The weather also alternated between torrential rainstorms and hot temperatures, the latter of which was made worse for the cast who had to wear period clothing. At Dominica, the sequences involving the Pelegosto and the forest segment of the battle on Isla Cruces were shot. Verbinski preferred to use practical props for the giant wheel and bone cage sequences, feeling long close-up shots would help further suspend the audience’s disbelief.[3] Dominica was also used for Tia Dalma‘s shack. Filming on the island concluded on May 26, 2005.[12]

The crew moved to a small island called White Cay in the Bahamas for the beginning and end of the Isla Cruces battle,[3] before production took a break until August, where in Los Angeles the interiors of the Flying Dutchman were shot.[13] On September 18, 2005,[14] the crew moved to Grand Bahama Island to shoot ship exteriors, including the working Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman. Filming there was a tumultuous period, starting with the fact that the tank had not actually been finished. The hurricane season caused many pauses in shooting, and Hurricane Wilma damaged many of the accessways and pumps, though no one was hurt nor were any of the ships destroyed.[3] Filming completed on September 10, 2005.[15]

Special effects

The three stages of animating Bill Nighy’s character.

The Flying Dutchman’s crew members were originally conceived by writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio as ghosts, but Gore Verbinski disliked this and designed them as physical creatures.[16] Their hierarchy is reflected by how mutated they were: newcomers had low level infections which resemble rosacea, while the most mutated had full-blown undersea creature attributes. Verbinski wanted to keep them realistic, rejecting a character with a turtle shell, and the animators watched various David Attenborough documentaries to study the movement of sea anemones and mussels.[17] All of the crew are computer-generated, with the exception of Stellan Skarsgård, who played “Bootstrap” Bill Turner. Initially his prosthetics would be augmented with CGI but that was abandoned.[18] Skarsgård spent four hours in the make-up chair and was dubbed “Bouillabaisse” on set.[19]

Captain Davy Jones had originally been designed with chin growths, before the designers made the move to full-blown tentacles;[20] the skin of the character is based on a blurred version of the texture of a coffee-stained Styrofoam cup. To portray Jones on set, Bill Nighy wore a motion capture tracksuit that meant the animators at Industrial Light & Magic did not have to reshoot the scene in the studio without him or on the motion capture stage. Nighy wore make-up around his eyes and mouth to splice into the computer-generated shots, but the images of his eyes and mouth were not used. Nighy only wore a prosthetic once, with blue-colored tentacles for when Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) steals the key to the Dead Man’s Chest from under his “beard” as he sleeps. To create the CG version of the character, the model was closely based on a full-body scan of Nighy, with Jones reflecting his high cheekbones. Animators studied every frame of Nighy’s performance: the actor himself had blessed them by making his performance more quirky than expected, providing endless fun for them. His performance also meant new controls had to be stored. Finally, Jones’ tentacles are mostly a simulation, though at times they were hand-animated when they act as limbs for the character.[21]

The Kraken was difficult to animate as it had no real-life reference, until animation director Hal Hickel instructed the crew to watch King Kong vs. Godzilla which had a real octopus crawling over miniatures.[22] On the set, two pipes filled with 30,000 pounds of cement were used to crash and split the Edinburgh Trader: Completing the illusion are miniature masts and falling stuntmen shot on a bluescreen stage. The scene where the Kraken spits at Jack Sparrow does not use computer-generated spit: it was real gunge thrown at Johnny Depp.[23]

Reception

Johnny Depp at the London premiere for the film in July 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest premiered at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on June 24, 2006. It was the first Disney film to use the new computer-generated Disney production logo, which took a year for the studio to design,[24] although the trailer and television advertisements for the film did use one of the two previous logos.[citation needed]

Box office

The film broke two North American records upon release, largest opening day gross with $55.8 million, beating the previous year’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith by 11%, and biggest opening weekend gross with $135.6 million, beating 2002’s Spider-Man.[25] The film set 15 other box office records, including the fastest film to reach $100, $200 and $300 million, the highest ten-day gross and many others but most of them were overtaken by The Dark Knight in July 2008. It also reached the $1 billion mark worldwide in record time (63 days) and spent a record-breaking 10-weekend period on top of the box office outside the U.S.A. and Canada but both records were easily topped by Avatar in January and February 2010 respectively.

The film ended with $423,315,812 in the United States and Canada and $642,863,913 overseas summing up to $1,066,179,725 worldwide, becoming the eighth-highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada and the fourth highest worldwide, behind Avatar, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Adjusted for inflation, the film is the forty-fifth-highest-grossing in the United States and Canada.[26]

Overseas, it is the eleventh highest-grossing film.[27] Its international releases that generated a total gross of more than $10 million include Australia ($2.5 million), Brazil ($10.8 million), France and the Maghreb region ($46.1 million), Germany ($610.4 million), Italy ($250.2 million), Japan ($84.5 million), Mexico ($18.7 million), the Netherlands ($13.2 million), Russia (including the CIS) ($27.5 million), South Korea ($26.6 million), Spain ($36.6 million), Sweden ($140.2 million) and the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta ($980.7 million).[28]

Critical response

After months of anticipation and industry hype, reviews for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest were mixed, as the film scored a 54% “Rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but has an 86% rating for audience.[29] Among the positive critics were Michael Booth of the Denver Post, who awarded the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, praising it as “two hours and 20 minutes of escapism that once again makes the movies safe for guilt-free fun.”[30] Drew McWeeny was highly positive, comparing the film to The Empire Strikes Back, and also acclaimed its darkness in its depiction of the crew of the Flying Dutchman and its cliffhanger.[31] The completely computer-generated Davy Jones turned out to be so realistic that some reviewers mistakenly identified Nighy as wearing prosthetic makeup.[32][33][34]

On the other hand, critic Paul Arendt of the BBC negatively compared it to The Matrix Reloaded, as a complex film that merely led onto the next film.[35] Richard George felt a “better construct of Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End would have been to take 90 minutes of Chest, mix it with all of End and then cut that film in two.”[36] Alex Billington felt the third film “almost makes the second film in the series obsolete or dulls it down enough that we can accept it in our trilogy DVD collections without ever watching it.”[37]

The film ranks 475th on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest films of all time.[38]

Accolades

At the 79th Academy Awards, visual effects supervisors John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. The film was also nominated for Best Art Direction, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

The film also won a BAFTA and Satellite award for Best Visual Effects,[39] and six awards from the Visual Effects Society.[40]

Other awards won by the film include Choice Movie: Action Adventure, Choice Drama/Action Adventure Movie, Actor for Johnny Depp at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards; Favorite Movie, Movie Drama, Male Actor for Depp and On-Screen Couple for Depp and Keira Knightley at the 33rd People’s Choice Awards; Best Movie and Performance for Depp at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards and Best Special Effects at the Saturn Awards, and Favorite Movie at the 2007 Kids’ Choice Awards.[41]

Home media

The film became available on DVD on December 5, 2006 for Region 1 and sold 9,498,304 units in its first week of sales (equivalent to $174,039,324). In total it sold 16,694,937 units, earning $320,871,909. It was the best-selling DVD of 2006 in terms of units sold and second in terms of sales revenue behind The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.[42]

The versions for Regions 2 and 4 had already been released on November 15, 2006 and November 20, 2006, respectively.[43] The DVD, incompatible with some Region 1 hardware DVD Players due to the use of ARccOS Protection, came in single and two-disc versions. Both contained a commentary track with the screenwriters and a gag reel, with the double-disc featuring a video of the film premiere and a number of documentaries, including a full-length documentary entitled “According to the Plan” and eight featurettes. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on May 22, 2007.[44]

References

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  41. ^ “Awards for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”. IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/rg/title-tease/awards/title/tt0383574/awards. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  42. ^ “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – DVD Sales”. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2006/PIRT2-DVD.php. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  43. ^ “Amazon.co.uk: Pirates Of The Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest”. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pirates-Caribbean-Dead-Mans-Chest/dp/B000IHZ4F6. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  44. ^ “Disney Sets ‘Pirates,’ ‘Cars’ Blu-ray Dates”. High-Def Digest. 2007-01-24. http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Pixar/Disney/Disc_Announcements/Disney_Sets_Pirates,_Cars_Blu-ray_Dates/448. Retrieved 2007-01-27. 

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