Out Now

Starring: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightely, Orlando Bloom, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce

Certificate: 12A

Our Piratical friends are back, with a bigger budget and more swash to buckle, more seas to sail, more quips to make and more villains to overcome.

The plot of this one is fairly complicated to repeat, but broadly speaking everyone is, for their own reasons, after the titular Dead Man's Chest. Why? Because it contains the heart of Davy Jones, supernatural fiend of the sea. Beyond that, just enjoy.

This film oddly manages to be both funnier and less funny than the first, for a start. There are some genuine gut-laugh moments - Jack getting kebabbed, some wonderful stunt falls, dialogue that just sparkles between everyone on screen and some very nice references to the first film. However, the continuing joy of the first film isn't quite there. This film is definitely darker in tone, with the stakes higher and the consequences more severe.

But I'm not here writing this review to talk about the tone of the film, or the darker edges, or the Kraken (although it's brilliant). The set-pieces are heart of the film, and they're wonderful.

From (what starts as a three-way) fight on top of, around and inside a moving water-wheel, to a chase sequence by strange Carribean cannibal natives, back to the Kraken again (seriously, it was awesome), to Davy Jone's ship the quality pretty much drips off the screen. Everything works - the choreography, the effects, the terror, the fun, the sheer pace of the film carries you along and only rarely lets you catch your breath.

It is a little overlong, perhaps, and the ending is very much a "To Be Continued..." with very little resolved which does mean you'll leave the cinema a little unfulfilled. However, what I took from the film was a great sense that the third film is going to have to work very, very hard to top that.

Although I do hear a rumour that Chow Yun Fat is to play the King of the Singaporean pirates. Does this mean we face the possibilities of...

PIRATES VS NINJAS?

We can only hope.

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