Archive for December, 2006

DVD Review – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Collector’s Edition

December 8, 2006


by Blake

Originally posted December 8, 2006.

The story that became the saga of Pirates of the Caribbean began in the 1950’s when dream-maker Walt Disney was imagining a new area of Disneyland entitled New Orleans Square, complete with a riverboat, five-star restaurants, marketplace shops, jazz bands, and, finally, a new attraction filled with the pillage and plunder of a pirate-raided ghost town.

Overpowered with action, comedy, action, romance, action, adventure, action, and a run time of 150 minutes, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest may be a bit lengthy, but certainly lives up to the high standards Walt Disney and his Imagineers set when the original champion attraction opened in 1967.

Many of the beloved characters from the first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl (which was released in 2003), return in Dead Man’s Chest as the notorious Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) owes the revolting newcomer Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) his soul after 13 years in debt. Meanwhile, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is off to free his fiance Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) from prison.

Other returning characters include Jack’s crew (Gibbs, Marty, Cotton, and the parrot), former commodore James Norrington (Jack Davenport), Governor Swann (Jonathan Pryce), Pintel & Ragetti (the portly pirate and his wooden-eyed accomplice, played by Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook), and “Jack” the monkey. (If you’re wondering how the monkey can still be skeletal in the moonlight after the curse was lifted, make sure you flip back to the first movie’s DVD and watch AFTER the credits. There is also a special surprise after the credits in Dead Man’s Chest, as well.)

Additionally, other new main characters include Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company (Tom Hollander), Will’s father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), and the superstitious Tia Dalma (Noamie Harris).

The storyline may be a bit difficult to follow (okay, VERY difficult to follow), but after spending 150 action-filled minutes with lovable Jack Sparrow and his crew (topped off by a mind-blowing ending), I had mixed emotions.

I was somewhat perplexed as to what exactly was happening (but after four times now, I finally understand it). I was also satisfied with the completely pleasurable, comedic, vivacious movie experience I was served. I couldn’t be more happier with it. It’s adventurous storytelling to the max with very likable characters to accentuate it.

The DVD arrives in stores in three different formats: one-disc fullscreen, one-disc widescreen, and two-disc collector’s edition. The two-disc edition’s four hours’ worth of bonus material feature bloopers, a very insightful audio commentary, a production diary, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Kraken, a very fascinating look at the re-Imagineering of the attraction (with the addition of Jack Sparrow and Barbossa in Audio-Animatronics form), red carpet interviews from the premiere, and much more.

Personally, I’d be completely satisfied if the DVD didn’t have any bonuses at all, that’s how great I thought the movie was! However, I, of course, was over content with the Collector’s Edition’s two discs – four hours – of extras. 🙂

How do I rank Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Collector’s Edition DVD? (Bolded is my choice.)
Utterly Repulsive
Blech
Not Good
Good
Very Good
Brilliant

Who will Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Collector’s Edition DVD most likely please?: Disney Fans – Older Kids (ages 9-10) – Tweens (ages 11-13) – Teenagers – Young Adults – Adults

by Blake; originally posted December 8, 2006. All images (C) Disney.

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Silver Screen Review – The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

December 8, 2006

by Blake

Originally posted December 8, 2006.

Jack Frost is on his way to the North Pole and is serving up plenty of holiday fun in the newest installment in The Santa Clause movie series, The Escape Clause.

To catch you up to speed on the last two clauses, the first clause in 1994 allowed regular father Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) to become Santa. The second clause in 2002 proposed Scott, now Santa, to become married (the “Mrs. Clause”). This time, the “escape clause” refers to the current Santa wishing he had never become Santa at all, allowing anyone to fill his place. That’s where Jack Frost (Martin Short) plays in to things.

All the characters from the original two clauses return, with the exception of Bernard (David Krumholtz), Santa’s number-one elf. The film provides no explanation of why Bernard left or what happened to him. All we know is that Curtis (Spencer Breslin), previously titled number-two elf, is now number-one.

Besides that, all of the other characters are back including Scott’s son Charlie (Eric Lloyd), Mrs. Claus a.k.a. Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell), Scott’s ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson), Laura’s current husband psychologist Neil (Judge Reinhold), Charlie’s half-sister Lucy (Liliana Mumy), and all of the legendary holiday figures such as Easter Bunny, Mother Nature, Cupid, and others. Those repeatedly-gassy computer-generated reindeer also unfortunately return, as well.

The film’s plot surrounds Jack Frost trying to upstage Santa and take over Christmas while Carol struggles to combine her new life as Mrs. Claus with her need to be with old family and friends she left behind (such as newcomers Alan Arkin and Ann-Margret, who play Carol’s parents).

The movie mainly takes place in the North Pole, with not much happening outside of the Pole’s berm. That’s satisfactory for a little bit, but after a while the film seemed to become somewhat like a television series episode and not much like a movie, with nothing really happening aside from sequence after sequence of problems in the North Pole. Once the plot finally progressed after about 50 minutes of postponement and we were finally taken out into the rest of the world, the movie began to get favorable.

Several characters that come to mind in adding enjoyable moments during dull North Pole scenes include the relaxed Neil, the agitated Sandman, the delusional father of Mrs. Claus, and the villainous Jack Frost. As for the reindeer, their overused gas is just getting annoying at this point.

Overall, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause will provide families with laughs, emotional moments, and a generally enjoyable movie experience. The movie’s second half is much better than its first, and once the film arrives at that point there’s not much not to like. Although the film was released a little early to be a Christmas movie (it debuted on November 3, 2006), by now I think we’re all ready for a little Christmas excitement.

Besides, what’s a better ingredient for Christmas merriment than the magic of Disney with the wonders of the holidays?

How do I rank The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause? (Bolded is my choice.)
Utterly Repulsive
Blech
Not Good
Good
Very Good
Brilliant

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause will most likely please: Preschoolers (ages 3-4) – Kids (ages 5-8)

by Blake; originally posted December 8, 2006. All images (C) Disney.