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Thursday, July 6, 2006 06:30 pm

Yo-ho-ho and a lot of dumb

The new Pirate is a scattered, meandering mess of a movie

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Running time 2:25 Rated PG-13 ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East
There’s a good movie somewhere in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest — at least I think so. Hack about 45 minutes out of this bloated testament to excess and you’d have sleek entertainment bolstered by one of the most impressively mounted productions in recent memory. Unfortunately, what director Gore Verbinski foists upon his audience is a scattered, meandering mess of a movie that’s long on action and short on substance. The script, by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, is far too complicated for its own good, sending the three main characters from the first scene hither and yon, only to reunite them in the film’s final act. The self-serving actions of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) drive the plot once again as he’s called upon to repay a debt to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). Needless to say, he’s in no hurry to pay up. Meanwhile, the marriage of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) has been interrupted by the arrest of both bride and groom on charges of treason for helping Sparrow escape hanging. They face execution unless Will returns with a mysterious compass that Sparrow has in his possession. Cutting back and forth between storylines prevents the film from ever building up a full head of steam. One exception is a wildly inventive and entertaining series of scenes that finds Sparrow attempting to escape a tribe of cannibals while his crew tries to elude their own grisly fate. These two events collide, with hilarious and astounding results. Given the stellar production design and impressive makeup, it’s a shame the film is so poorly executed. Jones’ ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman, is composed of the bodies of those who’ve served her, and its sails are blackened tatters that portend doom. The other sets, including Sparrow’s ship and a swamp home belonging to a voodoo priestess, bring to life the supernatural world inhabited by these characters. Even more impressive is the makeup where Jones and his crew are concerned. Each of them is part man, part sea creature, encrusted in coral, barnacles, and sea slime. Jones himself is a wonder, more octopus than man, and his first mate, a hammerhead shark creature is equally impressive. Without question, this is a scary bunch of lost souls, and parents should be warned that smaller children should be shielded from them.
In theaters this week. . .
The Devil Wears Prada [PG-13] Andy Sachs, a homely freshman reporter, lands a job in the competitive world of fashion magazine journalism. Parkway Pointe, ShowPlace East

The Fast and the Furious: the Tokyo Drift [PG-13] Shawn Boswell enters the world of fast cars when he moves to Tokyo to avoid jail. Parkway Pointe Open Caption
An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore takes on global warming. Parkway Pointe

Nacho Libre [PG] A clumsy cook needs to make fast cash, so he takes up Mexican wrestling. Parkway Pointe

Over the Hedge [PG] A shady raccoon persuades other critters to steal food in the suburbs. Parkway Pointe

A Prairie Home Companion [PG-13] A fictionalized account of Garrison Keillor’s beloved radio show, featuring crooning cowboys, a country music diva, and others. Parkway Pointe
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest [PG-13] Capt. Jack Sparrow is back to repay a debt to Davy Jones. ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East
Superman Returns [PG-13] After an extended hiatus, does the world need Superman? Absolutely! ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

X-Men: The Last Stand [PG-13] A new cure that reverses mutations causes tempers to flare in this third and final installment of the X-Men tale. White Oaks
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