At the Movies

I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest yesterday, like a lot of people did over the weekend. I went to an 11:15 a.m. showing, and our theater was probably about 3/4 full.

If you've read the reviews, you probably know that they're mixed. Some reviewers thought it was too long, some didn't like the cliffhanger ending that requires you to go back next year and plunk down more money, and some though the movie was hard to follow, especially some of the dialogue and plot points. I thought the movie was pretty good, and if you saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and liked it, then you're probably already planning to see it.

Warning: If you didn't see the first movie, don't make the same mistake as Slate movie reviewer Dana Stevens, who went to PotC: DMC and didn't like it, and freely admits in her review that she didn't see the first one.

Man, it's too bad that there's no way to have movies on DVD or something like that, so you could watch them at home. Oh, wait, there is such a thing, isn't there? C'mon, Dana, you're a journalist. How about doing a little background research and watching PotC: CotBP first, so that you actually understood what was going on in the second movie?

It's kind of like going to see The Empire Strikes Back without seeing Star Wars first. And indeed, it's a similar situation, because it was only the success of the first movie of each trilogy that led to the second and third movies being made. You can't start a trilogy by watching the middle part first, if you want to understand who the characters are and why they are doing what they are doing. So see PotC: CotBP first, if you haven't already, or don't waste your money.

Anyway, back to PotC: DMC: It is, indeed, rather long at 2 hours, 30 minutes run time, but it's such a thrill ride that the time passes quickly. Be sure to take care of any necessary restroom visit before the movie starts, and don't order the super-jumbo sized drink, even though it's only 50 cents more than the small drink. Your bladder will thank you.

All of your favorite characters from the first movie appear in this sequel, including one at the very end that I was not expecting to see. Spoiler warning: Highlight white area to reveal hidden text, if you want to know who it is. Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), the villain who apparently was killed at the end of the first movie, but shows up in the final scene of PotC: DMC.

The verdict: It succeeds as a summer action/adventure movie, and it sets the stage for what will likely be my next visit to the movie theater to see the next part of the story around Memorial Day weekend, 2007. I don't really like going to the movies, since people's heads are in the way, etc. I've been spoiled by DVDs, which allow me to see the whole screen, pause the movie if I want to deal with something else momentarily, etc. There are, however, some movies you really do want to experience on the big screen, and this is one of them.