A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest contains a lot of peril and action-violence. Characters are shot at, chased, dragged, trampled, rolled down hills, and nearly roasted over an open fire. A severed beating heart is shown in a box. Men are put in cages so that their eyes can be plucked out by birds. Elizabeth and William are threatened with hanging. It's implied that cannibals might eat a dog. In one disturbing scene, Will is tied to a mast and flogged by Bootstrap Bill. Also, the grotesque pirates and CGI sea creatures are menacing and downright scary. And there's lots and lots of rum. Profanity includes "damn," "ass," and "bloody." Innuendoes and double meanings are rampant, notably involving a compass, swords, and fighting.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
"You have a debt to pay," says an ominous voice in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST. "You owe Davy Jones your soul. That was the agreement. Time's up!" And so begins the second installment of the franchise that's turning pirates into rock stars of the new millennium. Yes, the loopy Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is caught in yet another tangled web of ghostly creatures lurking deep in the ocean. It seems that he owes a blood debt to the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), ruler of the ocean and captain of the Flying Dutchman. And, oh, yeah, his beard is made up of creepy tentacles! To find the chest, "you must sail to da ends of da eart' and beyond," proclaims Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), a mysterious voodoo priestess. In short, unless Jack can figure a way out of this predicament, he'll be doomed to an afterlife of damnation and slavery. Being a pirate and an opportunist, Jack doesn't shy away from enlisting the help of his old friends, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and his fiancé, Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightly), who've been thrown into prison by the evil Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander), a representative of the East India Trading Company. Beckett has his own plan to keep Davy Jones and his ghoulish pirates from attacking his company's ships.
Is it any good?
This movie is all about Johnny Depp, who camps it up from one action-packed scene to the next. Let's see: There's a giant sea monster, a voodoo princess, barnacle-encrusted pirates, a desert island, hungry cannibals, buried treasure, a ghost ship, an insane sword fight, and every other pirate cliché you can think of. Really, it gets a little exhausting, and after the first hour or two, the whole thing starts to wear on your psyche -- even Depp's drunken pirate schtick, which seemed so fresh and fun in the first movie. The storyline puts Will and Elizabeth's romance on the back burner, and that's what helped to give the first movie some depth. Still, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is a lot of fun, moves along fairly well, and ends with a great cliffhanger. It would have been better if they'd chopped off about 30 minutes in the middle.
Kudos to Stellan Skarsgård (Good Will Hunting), who gives a hearteending performance as Bootstrap Bill, and to Bill Nighy (Love Actually), who deserves a "best villain" award for bringing Davy Jones to life in all his tentacled glory.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how far people should go in the name of friendship. Is Jack justified in dragging Will and Elizabeth into his adventure in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? What could he have done differently to protect his friends?
How does this movie compare to the original? Are sequels ever better than the first movies? Give some examples.
Why do you think this series has been so popular? What is the appeal of a franchise based on an amusement park ride?
- In theaters: July 7, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: December 5, 2006
- Cast: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom
- Director: Gore Verbinski
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 150 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of adventure violence, including frightening images