Archive for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Category

Disney Talk – Expo Excitement

September 13, 2009

Image © Disney.

Everyone from Kermit the Frog to Miley Cyrus to Captain Jack Sparrow made appearances during the Walt Disney Studios presentation at the D23 Expo.

By Blake

Originally posted September 12, 2009.

What is Disney magic? Is it endearing music? Classic characters? Famous celebrities? The promise of enchanting things to come in the future?

Whatever it is that you personally pinpoint as the source of Disney magic, there’s no denying that it’s being put to use in full force at the outstanding D23 Expo, currently taking place in Anaheim, CA. While I’m not there, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading reports from the various events taking place. Disney magic is being used so much that ALL of the above examples have already been implemented, and the convention isn’t even over yet. The Expo’s Walt Disney Studios presentation was certainly no exception.

The presentation took place yesterday, September 11, 2009, and was hosted by Dick Cook, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios.

Among the highlights of the presentation were a 20-minute medley of classic Disney songs performed by a live orchestra, a performance by Miley Cyrus of “The Climb,” and sneak peeks of upcoming Disney films. On hand to promote upcoming titles were Robert Zemeckis, director of Disney’s A Christmas Carol; John Travolta with family members Kelly Preston and Ella Bleu from Old Dogs; Tim Burton, director of Alice in Wonderland; Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Sorcerer’s Apprentice; and actor Nicholas Cage from Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Also during the presentation, Disney announced a new film label called “Disney Double Dare You.” The movies under the label will be scary family films. I’m thinking something along the lines of the film version of The Haunted Mansion? Maybe. Several new Disneynature titles were also announced.

More Disneynature films are on the way. Image © Disney.

However, to me, the real high points of reading the reports from this very special presentation were two major announcements.

Disney has been implementing a slowly-but-surely Muppet comeback for a while now. Some of this return has already begun, given the success of the Muppets’ viral YouTube videos, their Studio DC specials on Disney Channel, and last year’s Christmas special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa on NBC. There’s been lots of talk floating around about the Muppets returning to the big screen in a huge way, and yesterday Disney finally officially announced the title of this upcoming adventure in a stellar way.

How stellar? How about a cast of Muppets appearing live on a scaled-down Mark Twain riverboat?!? Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Pepe the King Prawn, and many more of their friends appeared to perform several songs, as well as announce their film’s title. The movie will be called The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made, which is quite curious considering that Jim Henson himself had batted around an identical title. I love the Muppets and am very excited to see what this new film has in store for them.

The Muppets appeared on a riverboat at the D23 Expo to announce their upcoming film, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made. Image © Disney.

The last surprise of the presentation was a quite a doozey. You might even call it swashbuckling. I would have loved to see the shocked faces of attendees as Johnny Depp appeared on stage as Captain Jack Sparrow! Depp was in-character and also was there to confirm that he would appear in The Lone Ranger as Tonto, and reprise Captain Jack in a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean installment. A new bit of information was announced as the film’s title was revealed – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, coming summer 2011. I personally can’t wait.

With many exciting movies to look forward to, a new film label getting started, a new Muppet film to get pumped about, and some more news about Pirates, it was quite wonderful as a Disney fan to read all of the reports from the spectacular Walt Disney Studios’ D23 Expo presentation. “Bring me that horizon.”

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted September 12, 2009. All images © Disney.

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Theme Park Headlines – Patriotism and Tragedy

July 8, 2009
Image © Disney.

1,000 new American citizens, an Animatronics version of President Obama, and a tragic monorail accident were among the occurrences of Walt Disney World’s Independence Day week 2009.

By Blake

Originally posted July 8, 2009.

The Fourth of July 2009 at Walt Disney World will not be easily forgotten anytime soon, as a result of a series of completely unrelated events, some exciting and one sorrowful. There were some celebratory events, such as the welcoming of 1,000 newly-sworn-in American citizens and the openings of several exciting new attractions, though one particular tragic accident involving a monorail crash and the death of a Disney Cast Member flared headlines across the country.

One of the lead-ins to the holiday week was the appearance of an Audio-Animatronics character of Luxo, Jr., the lamp from the Pixar short of the same name. Luxo is found on a ledge above guests on Pixar Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, near the Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction. Although he made his debut around June 22 (which was followed by coverage on LaughingPlace.com), StitchKingdom.com’s Twitter updates are now reporting that Luxo is currently not making appearances, but will resume doing so soon. When he’s out, Luxo appears every 15 minutes and interacts with guests in addition to participating in some creative antics.

Luxo, Jr. has made his debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Image © Disney/Pixar.

On June 29 at the Magic Kingdom, The Pirates League officially opened in Adventureland. Similar to how Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique features princess makeovers, The Pirates League is all about pirate makeovers. Guests may choose from a selection of assorted packages, all of which are listed at WDWNews.com. Like Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique, the makeovers are a bit pricey, the least expensive package being $49.95 plus tax. Coverage of The Pirates League can be seen on AllEars.net, DISUnplugged.com, and StitchKingdom.com. However, if guests would rather not have an all-out makeover but are still looking for a unique Disney hairdo experience, they’d be better off at the less expensive Harmony Barber Shop on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, U.S.A.

Moving on, sometime over the course of last week (though I seem to find contradictory opening dates – a preview was held on June 28 nonetheless), The Hall of Presidents re-opened from its extensive refurbishment with major new additions. It has a new subtitle, making its full name The Hall of Presidents: A Celebration of Liberty’s Leaders. Among the changes are the inclusion of Morgan Freeman as narrator, Abraham Lincoln giving The Gettysburg Address, George Washington speaking (he previously did not), and the addition of Barack Obama to the lineup of presidents presented as Audio-Animatronics. Pictures of the newly re-opened attraction can be seen at AllEars.net (beware of spoilers, though!).

On July 3, also in the Magic Kingdom, 1,000 people were sworn in and officially became United States citizens. Broadcasted live on CNN, the ceremony took place in front of Cinderella Castle with the help of Mickey Mouse (dressed in patriotic attire), Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton, actor Andy Garcia, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After they gave the Oath of Allegiance, the new citizens experienced The Hall of Presidents. Coverage of the event can be seen at StitchKingdom.com.

That evening, Magic Kingdom held a performance of a special Independence Day fireworks presentation titled Celebrate America. On Independence Day itself, July 4, another performance of the show was held. Also on July 4, Epcot’s IllumiNations had a special holiday finale, while Disney’s Hollywood Studios had its own patriotic fireworks show.

A special Indpendence Day fireworks show, Celebrate America, was held at Magic Kingdom on July 3 and July 4, 2009. Image © Disney.

Early morning on Sunday, July 5, the mood changed significantly as two monorails collided. The crash tragically killed 21-year-old Cast Member Austin Wuennenberg. The Epcot monorail system closed for the day, re-opening the afternoon of July 6 with additional safety precautions. It is definitely sorrowful that something like this happened, though hopefully nothing like it will occur again. BlakeOnline sends prayers and thoughts to friends and family of Wuennenberg as they cope with their loss.

The Independence Day week events continued as a new Princess Diana exhibit titled Diana: The People’s Princess opened on July 7 at Downtown Disney. Although guests may enter Downtown Disney itself for free, admission into the Princess Diana exhibit is $5.00 for children through age 9 and $14.50 for ages 10 and up.

Diana: The People’s Princess, a new exhibit about Princess Diana, is now open at Downtown Disney. Image © Disney.

With all of that activity going on, it certainly was quite a hectic Independence Day at Walt Disney World this year. Luxo, Jr., The Pirates League, The Hall of Presidents, the many new American citizens, the special fireworks shows, and Diana: The People’s Princess were all causes of celebration while the tragic monorail accident was definitely a mournful event.

By Blake; posted July 8, 2009. All images © Disney. Pixar Animation Studios logo © Disney/Pixar.

Disney Talk – Oscar Recap 2008

March 2, 2008

Image © Disney.

This year’s Academy-Awards have come and gone with ten Disney nominations and one win.

By Blake

Originally posted March 2, 2008.

2007 certainly was a prosperous year for Disney movies, particularly three of them which garnered special success. Ratatouille proved that some Disney films could have a surprisingly large adult fan base. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End capped off its very popular trilogy proving that Disney could have a solid franchise that stood up among the ranks of Harry Potter. Lastly, Enchanted cranked out some of the best new Disney music in years. All three of these spectacular films came to the attention of the Academy, collectively receiving ten nominations for the 80th Annual Academy-Awards, which were held last Sunday, February 24, 2008.

First, let’s talk about Ratatouille. It was nominated for Best Animated Film, Best Original Score, Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Original Screenplay. Thankfully, it did win Best Animated Film. Unfortunately, Ratatouille lost its other four nominations. Juno won Original Screenplay, Atonement won Original Score, and I still don’t know the difference between Achievement in Sound Mixing and Achievement in Sound Editing. However, the same film, The Bourne Ultimatum, won both awards.

Ratatouille won Best Animated Film and was nominated for Best Original Score, Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Original Screenplay. Image © Disney/Pixar.

Next up is Pirates. It was nominated for Achievement in Makeup and Achievement in Visual Effects. Well, it lost Makeup to La Vie En Rose. However, I was 99.9% sure Pirates would win for Visual Effects . . . but it didn’t. Instead, The Golden Compass took home the award. Although I haven’t seen The Golden Compass, it must have had some pretty nifty effects to beat out Pirates’ maelstrom sequence.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was nominated for Achievement in Makeup and Achievement in Visual Effects. Image © Disney.

Lastly, we come to Enchanted. Three of its songs (“Happy Working Song,” “That’s How You Know,” and “So Close”), written by acclaimed Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, were all nominated for Best Song. All five songs in the Best Song category were performed throughout the show, and all three of Enchanted’s songs had excellent performances. “Happy Working Song” was sung by Amy Adams, who plays Giselle in the film, and was spot-on and in character 100%.

Three songs from Enchanted were nominated for Best Song. Image © Disney.

“That’s How You Know” (which was introduced by Miley Cyrus) was performed by Kristin Chenoweth, which kind of confused me because Chenoweth isn’t even in the film. As it turns out, Amy Adams apparently only wanted to perform one song, so a substitute was used for “That’s How You Know.” Chenoweth did the song justice and the performance (featuring a packed stage full of brides, grooms, construction workers, and senior citizens) was quite spectacular. (Although, if there had to be a switch of performers, I’m glad it was in “That’s How You Know” . . . anybody other than Amy Adams singing “Happy Working Song” might have sounded out of character.)

The last of Enchanted’s nominated songs, “So Close,” was introduced by Patrick Dempsey, who plays Robert in the film, and was sung by Jon McLaughlin, who sings the song in the film. The performance was done in true Disney fashion, reenacting the ballroom scene from the film quite nicely, complete with a “Hidden Mickey” and performers portraying the film’s four main characters (proof that Enchanted characters COULD work out for appearances in the parks!).

The moment soon arrived to reveal the winner for Best Song. Who won? “Falling Slowly” from Once, which was performed on an acoustic guitar and a piano. The song’s writers, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, did seem very deserving in their acceptance speech, telling that they only had had $100,000 to make the movie and had come through a long journey to get where they were. So, yes, I felt happy for the winners but still disappointed that Enchanted didn’t win.

However, even though Enchanted didn’t win, its nominations prove several very important points. First, Disney music is alive and well again. I mean, think about it. The music featured in Enchanted could go on to become signature Disney classics. (If this keeps up, we can possibly hope to see a few performances from High School Musical 3 at next year’s Oscars.) Second, the performances prove that Enchanted is definitely fit for the stage. Whether it be on Broadway or somewhere in the Disney parks, the film would work out wonderfully in a lavish stage production. (Hey, isn’t old theatre in DHS’s Streets of America being refurbished as you read this?)

So, although only one out of its ten nominations won, this year’s Oscars certainly had Disney representation all throughout its ceremony. I admit I am a bit surprised at Pirates’ losses, though I’m glad Ratatouille won Best Animated Film. And then there’s Enchanted. Even though the film didn’t bring home any wins, if the Disney execs had their heads screwed on right as they viewed last week’s Oscars, they’ll realize that Enchanted would definitely work in a stage production someway.

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted March 2, 2008. All images © Disney. Ratatouille image © Disney/Pixar.

DVD Review – Pirates: At World’s End Limited Edition

December 9, 2007

The most highly-anticipated movie of the decade arrives on a 2-Disc DVD with a plethora of bonus features.

By Blake

Originally posted December 8, 2007.

The newest Pirates adventure, At World’s End, certainly had a lot to live up to when it opened last May in theatres. After all, its predecessor, 2006’s Pirates: Dead Man’s Chest, went on to become the second-highest-grossing film in movie history, just behind Titanic. Not only was the money aspect of At World’s End expected to be huge, it also had to live up to the brilliant characters and story of the first two films.

Luckily, there is no disappointment in the final (?) installment in the popular Pirates of the Caribbean series. The film is somewhat confusing story-wise, though second viewings should clear up the foggy spots for you. I called the movie fantastic though lengthy in my review of it when it initially released in theaters, so I won’t repeat myself by critiquing the film all over again. Today we’re here to talk about the new DVD release of the film.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is being released in two different versions: standard and limited edition. The limited edition has 2 discs’ worth of goodies and is only available until September 2008; while the standard release has no time limit, though just has one disc with almost no bonuses. Here I’ll be reviewing the 2-disc limited edition.

Disc One

Total Disc Length Time: About 173 minutes
Highlight of Disc: At World’s End Feature Film
Highlight Runner-Up: Bloopers of the Caribbean

Disc one holds the feature film and one sole bonus feature. If you opt to buy the standard version, this is all you’ll get. Surprisingly, unlike the previous two Pirates DVD installments, there is no audio commentary whatsoever present on the disc. The commentaries for the first two films were very informative and entertaining, and I just wonder why a commentary wasn’t included for this round. Disc one’s menus are themed to Soa Feng’s map. This unfortunately doesn’t work out too well – since the map is cluttered with drawings and symbols, it’s difficult to see exactly what your remote is pointing at.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Feature Film (about 168 minutes) – Captain Jack Sparrow is trapped in Davy Jones’ Locker and is needed at a gathering of the world’s nine pirate leaders to battle against Cutler Beckett and the East India Trading Company. It’s up to Will, Elizabeth, Barbossa, and the rest of the crew to save Jack from the Locker and defend piracy once and for all. Don’t worry, it will all clear up as you watch it more 😉 (Read a full review of the movie itself here.)

Bloopers of the Caribbean (about 5 minutes) – A feature that’s become mandatory on every Pirates DVD, this is a set of hilarious outtakes. The bloopers are filled with hysterical physical and verbal comedy.

Sneak Peeks (about 10 minutes) – The advertisements from Disney. Nothing here is too surprising, as all of the projects previewed have already been previously announced by Disney. The commercials include the 101 Dalmatians DVD, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, Pirates 1 & 2 on Blu Ray, the Underdog DVD, The Game Plan DVD, and the High School Musical 2 DVD.

Disc Two

Total Disc Length Time: About 85 minutes
Highlight of Disc: “Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom”
Highlight Runner-Up: Deleted Scenes

Disc two is abundant with everything a Pirates fan could ever ask for, and delivers in-depth behind-the-scenes featurettes to explore the making of this massive film. Disc two’s menus are much more navigational-friendly, as they’re themed to Davy Jones’ locker, with a simple blue arrow pointing to the choice you want to make onscreen.

“Keith and the Captain: On the Set with Johnny and the Rock Legend” (about 5 minutes) – One of the few discardable features on the disc, this deals with the hyped-up appearance of Rolling Stones member Keith Richards as Captain Jack’s father, Captain Teague. It includes interviews with Johnny Depp about his original inspiration from Richards of evolving the Jack character in the first film, as well as interviews with Richards.

Keith Richards as Teague, Captain Jack’s dad in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
“Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom” (about 19 minutes) – If you only pulled one thing away from the movie, it was probably the colossal maelstrom battle sequence. This particular bonus feature is all about the creation of this immense scene, including the giant warehouse that stored replicas of The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman on a gigantic moving rig in front of a 360-degree blue screen, as well as the computer effects that went into making the battle seem believable. This in-depth making-of that’s nearly as long as the maelstrom scene itself is absolutely the highlight of the disc.

“The Tale of Many Jacks” (about 5 minutes) – Along with the maelstrom sequence, another “how’d they do that?” scene was “Multiple Jacks,” where Captain Jack is hallucinating many different clones of himself. As it turns out, at one point there were 12 Jack look-alikes running about on set for the scene, and many takes needed to be redone countless times get all the Jacks present. It certainly wasn’t the scene to be working on if you were impatient.

Deleted Scenes (about 6 minutes) – Another exciting bonus on the disc that we weren’t treated to for the Dead Man’s Chest DVD are the deleted scenes. Unfortunately, there are only 2 cut scenes present here, as opposed to the 19 featured on the first film’s DVD. While entertaining and definitely humorous, I can’t help but thinking that there had to be more than just 2 scenes removed from the movie. Optional audio commentaries for the 2 scenes are provided by director Gore Verbinski. While informative, the commentaries seem very rushed, as there is only so much information you can squeeze into a 1 ½-minute scene.

“The World of Chow Yun-Fat” (about 4 minutes) – Another discardable feature, this deals with actor Chow Yun-Fat who plays a minor role in the movie. Yun-Fat’s interviews are spoken in his native language, with English subtitles at the bottom of the screen. While somewhat enjoyable, I’m left wondering why bonus biographical features were made for the actors of very minor characters like Teague and Soa Feng, instead of some of the more primary characters like Jack and Barbossa.

From left: Chow Yun-Fat as Soa Feng, Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
“The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer” (about 11 minutes) – While this feature’s title might lead you to believe it’s a biographical journey of Hans Zimmer’s music career, it isn’t. Actually, it’s just a look his process of creating just the Pirates music. Informative and revealing, this shows just how much passion it takes to score a film, and all the different components that go into creating a score.

“Masters of Design” (about 25 minutes) – This is a set of five individual features that deal with five separate designer’s contributions to the film. They show the creation of Soa Feng’s map, Teague’s coat, the Pirate Code book, Davy Jones’ cursed crew, and the Singapore set. They show how amazing it is that so much work and dedication goes into just one tiny aspect of the movie.

“Hoist the Colours” (about 5 minutes) – What might have better been used as an integration of “The Pirate Maestro” DVD feature, this deals with the creation of the film’s song “Hoist the Colours”. As it turns out, if you listened closely when the song was sung at the beginning of the film, you might have had an idea of how it all turned out at the end.

“Inside the Brethren Court” (about 10 minutes) – A feature that will appeal most to younger viewers, this is a look at the biographies of each of the nine pirate leaders. I found it remarkable that the time was actually taken to develop each of these very minor characters’ stories, and quite pleased that we’re presented them all here . . . though the piratey-sounding narrator gets quite annoying after a while.

Wrapping It Up

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is a fitting conclusion to the spectacular Pirates saga: fantastic filmmaking at its best with amazing special effects (sure to be granted an Oscar nomination). The movie itself would be an obvious buy alone, and the bonus features on the 2-disc limited edition with a plethora of behind-the-scenes goodies for Pirates fans only raise the film’s value. Although additional deleted scenes as well as an audio commentary would have been nice, the DVD is still a brilliant compilation.

How do I rank Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Limited Edition? (Bolded is my choice.)
  • Aaaaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Limited Edition will most likely please: Disney Fans – Older Kids (ages 8-10) – Tweens (ages 11-13) – Teenagers – Young Adults – Adults

By Blake; posted December 8, 2007. All images (C) Disney.

Silver Screen Review – Pirates: At World’s End

June 2, 2007


The latest (and possibly last) installment of Jack Sparrow’s adventures exceed the high expectations fans anticipated, though also provides headaches and full bladders by the time its end credits roll.

By Blake

Originally posted June 23, 2007.

“Ah, we’re good and lost now.”
Although this could be viewed as a quote from Captain Barbossa of the latest Walt Disney Pictures release, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, it’s also how the audience feels throughout the nearly 3-hour-long movie—lost.

The 168-minute third installment to the ‘Pirates’ series, At World’s End, certainly had high hopes when it opened late May. In 2003 (Nemo and Pirates . . . wow, what a summer that was!), The Curse of the Black Pearl dominated box offices worldwide and became the #1 Disney movie of all time with a record-breaking 600+ million dollars. Of course, this being Disney, sequels were planned for such a success as this. In 2006, Dead Man’s Chest not only replaced its predecessor as the #1 Disney movie of all time, but also went on to become the #3 highest-grossing film in history—not Disney history, but history, period—earning over $1.1 billion worldwide.

At World’s End has already set some film records within its first few weeks of release. It had the highest Memorial Day weekend opening ever (topping 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope), the fastest film ever to reach the $400 million mark (topping the very recent Spider-Man 3), and will probably go on to meet, if not dominate, Dead Man’s Chest’s gross.

During the 168 minutes we have during the third installment in the record-breaking film series, we’re showcased to stunning visual effects, several different plot lines, intertwining characters’ missions, and, by the end of the movie, slight headaches. Many audience members viewed it as confusing and hard to follow . . . which, in turn, could lead them to be hungry for second helpings to clear things up. After viewing the movie two times in the first 36 hours of its release, I can personally say seeing the movie twice surely clears the foggy perspective of the storyline, and also gives audiences a chance to view the film not as confusing, but as master storytelling at its best.

So, what’s the mind-boggling plot? Well, all the characters’ missions from the second movie remain the same, but now even more layers of problems are mixed into matters. Jack Sparrow’s crew, led by the thought-to-be-dead Hector Barbossa, are traveling to the end of the earth to fetch back Jack from Davy Jones’ locker, where the notorious pirate was sent after Davy Jones’ pet Kraken devoured him (along with his ship, the Black Pearl).

Why do they need Jack? Well, for money-making purposes, the movie’s creators couldn’t just toss their lead (and clearly audiences’ favorite) character out the window forever. For storytelling purposes, Lord Cutler Beckett, an exec of the East India Trading Company, now holds the heart of Davy Jones, and whoever has the heart controls Jones. In turn, Jones rules the entire seas. So now, Beckett is attempting to wipe out piracy forever. Pirates are disappearing off the map left and right, with only one chance left to win against Beckett—The Brethren Court. It’s up to Jack and Barbossa to round up the members of the Brethren Court to fight against piracy once and for all.

Several plot twists and turns make their way into the movie as well, making for some serious surprises that I would just be foolish to reveal here. 😉

As far as comparison to its predecessors, At World’s End definitely earns its PG-13 rating, for “intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images.” I’ll say! Nearly every scene is jam-packed with action, this time more serious-toned than the playful-toned scenes of the other films. The third installment also delivers more graphic visuals that viewers may want to look away from the screen for. This film is also more dark than the other films, as the overall mood of the film is more dark-toned than the others.

But, of course, there are MANY more positives than negatives when it comes to this action-packed, layered-storytelling Pirates series. Knowing that audiences will be bawling, the film’s developers certainly threw in many more comedic sequences, making this the absolute funniest Pirates yet. Walt Disney once said “For every tear there should be a laugh, and for every laugh there should be a tear”. I honestly have never seen a movie that paralleled this thought as much as this one. I also didn’t realize how emotionally attached I was to the film’s key characters.

“Jack” the monkey is certainly the crowd favorite, and the film’s creators seen to knew it, as they throw the character into a more noticeable role than they did in the second movie. The monkey appears more, and now he has a little rivalry going on with Cotton’s parrot . . . hilarious.

Also providing comic relief are the ever-funny Pintel and Ragetti (a.k.a. the goofy pirate and his one-eyed chum). But, this time, they not only provide laughs, but are also a vital part of the film’s plot.

And, boy, it sure is nice to have Barbossa back. Not necessarily a funny character, but just the way he deals with things (such as donning a wide grin and laughing when he appears to be in serious danger) granted a few chuckles out of me.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the film contains possibly the most creative and hilarious single movie sequence I’ve ever seen!

Parental Notice: As I stated previously, At World’s End definitely earns its PG-13 label. If your kids survived the other two movies, they’ll be ready for this. If you continually remind your child that “it’s just a movie”, they might be fine. However, if your child is strictly used to Barney and Blue’s Clues all day, you’ll most certainly want to hire a baby-sitter for this round. It really just depends on what your child can and can’t handle.

One question that I’ve been asked a lot during the past few weeks is: Which is my favorite Pirates of the Caribbean film?
Well, right now it’s hard to say. I really liked the original’s charm, innocence (well, at least kinda innocence), and its ride-influenced themes and gags. I like the second and third films for their master layered-storytelling and unique visual effects, as well as the development of the characters. I admired the third film not only for its clever way of “wrapping it all up”, though it ultimately wasn’t the strongest installment of the three. So, I have to say (being a Disney fanatic), the first is my favorite.*

Jam-packed with magnificent storytelling, stunning visual effects, and just plain “piratey” fun, Pirates of the Caribbean: At Word’s End is surely “what you’ll want most” this summer.

(Note: When you see ‘At World’s End’, you’ll also be treated to the premiere trailer for the newest Disney Princess movie, ‘Enchanted’!!!)

*However, over time, I’ve grown to like the third movie more. It’s my favorite as of 2008! 🙂

By Blake; originally posted June 23, 2007. All images (C) Disney.

Disney Talk – At World’s End

May 19, 2007

What Will Happen and What Promotional Devices Can Help Us Foreshadow

By Blake

This article is part of Pirate Countdown 2007.

*SPOILER WARNING*
The following article contains major spoilers about the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films, as well as my own personal opinions about what might happen in At World’s End. Beware if you haven’t seen the first two films (or don’t want ANY idea of what will happen in the third) . . . because there are spoilers ahead!
*SPOILER WARNING*

Originally posted May 19, 2007.
So, Davy Jones’ heart (and the entire sea) is in the hands of the East India Trading Company, led by Cutler Beckett. Jack Sparrow is dead and now imprisoned in Davy Jones’ locker (along with the Black Pearl). Jack’s entire crew, led by the thought-to-be-dead Captain Barbossa, must travel to World’s End to retrieve their buddy. Obviously, many twists were revealed last summer when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, the second film in the Pirates series, was released and now that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, is about to be released, we can only guess what surprises Disney may have in store for this time around.
If you’ve seen the trailer or TV commercials that are advertising the film, then you know that Disney’s not going to go the entire movie without Jack Sparrow – even though he is dead, we still see him in his fictional “afterlife.” So, let’s just say that about halfway through the movie, Jack’s crew might be already finished rescuing Jack from the end of the earth – then what?
Well, be it that the entire sea is in the hand of Beckett, pirates everywhere obviously don’t want to be controlled by the East India Trading Company. So, it’s up to Jack, Barbossa, and the crew to round up the pirate lords from all across the globe to gather for the ultimate battle against good and evil (no, it’s not Fantasmic!).

Based on that plot (which could or could not be true – I’ve just read the movie’s website!), here are some of my predictions on what I think could (or could not) happen in At World’s End. Note that at the time I am writing this, I have not seen the movie – all of these predictions are based on what I’ve read on the film’s website, seen in its trailers and commercials, and the marketing devices Disney is using to promote the film.
In the past, Disney has left some very solid (and often very obvious, yet much hidden) clues as to what will happen in the Pirates films long before they come out. For example, take a look at the “skull/crossbones” logos for the first two films in the series:

The Curse of the Black Pearl‘s teaser poster (above) showcases a skull with Jack Sparrow’s trademark bandanna, as well as two authentic swords crossed behind the skull. This sets a classic “piratey” feel, which rubs off in the classic “piratey” first movie. I thought the first movie particularly captured the spirit of the original Disneyland ride, full of pure fun. Not that the second film didn’t, I just thought that the first film did it better. Cursed treasure . . . extended sequences in Tortuga . . . it just had a more classic “piratey” feel to it, which was foreshadowed by the mood of the poster.

Here’s the poster for the second Pirates film, Dead Man’s Chest (above). Were you surprised when Captain Jack Sparrow was “deceased” in Dead Man’s Chest? You shouldn’t have been, if you paid close attention, once again, to the movie’s teaser poster. This time the poster not only sets the mood of a possibly more intense and violent film than the first, but also gives away a major plot spoiler, though few people noticed. In this poster, the swords are replaced by two flaming torches and the skull, once again, dons Jack’s signature bandanna, but also adds a few trinkets to its attire . . . oh, and wait! What’s that hanging from the skull? It appears to be a voodoo doll of Captain Jack . . . with a stick stabbed through his body! If that’s not very obvious foreshadowing (that obviously nobody, including me, picked up on) then I don’t know what is.

So, let’s see if we can predict what will happen in At World’s End based on the movie’s poster:

So, once again, the skull displays Jack’s bandanna and some trinkets, but this time adds a model of Jack’s deadlock-like beard. The swords/torches are replaced by bare bones (perhaps symbolizing Jack’s departure?). Additionally, eight characters of a foreign language appear that translates into “Good luck, Captain Jack.” Meaning, Jack is going to need all the help he can get if he’s going to escape Davy Jones’ locker and round up all the pirate lords.

In addition to the posters, some scenes throughout the first two films hinted at what was next to come in the storyline.

For instance, some people (okay, LOTS of people) were utterly shocked when Captain Barbossa appeared at the end of Dead Man’s Chest. But, if you kept a sharp eye on the lookout throughout the second film, you wouldn’t have been so surprised. In the first scene featuring Tia Dalma (and the only scene featuring her before the final sequence), take a look at when Miss Dalma frees “Jack the monkey” out of his cage. If you look carefully, the monkey walks across the shack, where he sits upon a pair of boots, presumably with feet inside. Supposedly these are Barbossa’s boots! And take a look at what Jack observes and picks up: Barbossa’s hat! So, if you were looking at the tiny details throughout the movie, such as these, many of the film’s surprises wouldn’t be so surprising.

So, now let’s go through a role call of the primary characters of the film, what their current “mission” is, and what (I think) will most likely happen to them in At World’s End.

Captain Jack Sparrow, recently gobbled up by the Kraken, is anxiously awaiting his crew to rescue him from the depths of Davy Jones’ locker., otherwise known as “World’s End.” Jack’s mission from the second movie, to settle his debt with Davy Jones, is (at the moment) complete because just as Jack was being eaten, Davy Jones proclaimed “Our debt is settled.” Since Jones now think Jack has his heart, the debt probably isn’t settled for long – but for now, it is.

In the second movie, Will promised his father freedom from an eternity on Davy Jones’ ship. In the third movie, his mission remains the same, but now on top of that, several conflicts have occurred. Now Will’s got to help save Jack from the depths of World’s End along with the rest of the crew. Additionally, at the end of Dead Man’s Chest, Will looked on and watched as his fiance Elizabeth “heavily kissed” Jack. Of course, it was all part of a plan to abandon Jack on the Black Pearl . . . but did Will know that? Apparently Will thinks he must now win Elizabeth’s love all over again because in the trailer, he (once again) asks Elizabeth to be his bride (during an epic battle scene), even though they were already set to be married earlier. Elizabeth replies “I don’t think now is the best time!” Does she mean that it’s simply “not the best time” because she’s currently in battle? Or . . . does she mean she’s not emotionally ready to marry Will? We’ll have to wait and see!

Partly because of this, Elizabeth Swann is currently questioning her place in the world. All within a brief amount of time, she’s transferred from a very proper English woman to a full-fledged pirate. She doesn’t know whether to follow her heart (leading her to Will – or is it Jack? – and more pirate adventures) or whether to follow in the footsteps of where her father thinks she belongs – helping govern Port Royal.

When we last saw Davy Jones, he was the ruler of the ocean . . . now, he’s not so threatening. Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company is now in possession of Jones’ heart, so now all poor Davy is left to do is take commands from an English guy in a powdered wig. Davy Jones’ mission in the third film is the same as in the second – to get that heart! (He would have saved him, and a lot of pirates, a whole bunch of trouble if he would have just not taken out his heart in the first place!)

Tia Dalma appeared in one location in the second movie, and that was her shack in a bayou. In the third film, she’s be more spacial, as (according to the trailers) she’ll be traveling with the crew to fetch back Jack from World’s End.

Cutler Beckett’s master plan to control the seas is coming into place rather nicely. He’s eliminated (for now) Captain Jack Sparrow, he’s got Will and Elizabeth out of his hair, and he has the heart of Davy Jones in his possession. It seems nothing can stop this guy!

Former Commodore James Norrington was, just like Will and Elizabeth, supposed to be sent to jail for letting Jack Sparrow get away in the first movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl. He paid off his debt, however, when he delivered the heart of Davy Jones to Cutler Beckett at the end of the second movie, Dead Man’s Chest. Now, he’s resumed his position in the Royal Navy. I personally think Norrington was evil all along, wanting to marry Elizabeth only so he could get to her father’s position as governor. (Evidence that led me to this conclusion was in a making-of book – “Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies” – where it states that an early-developed character, much similar to Norrington, was purely evil and disguising his true nature by working in the Navy. After all, if he really was a pure, genuine guy in the first movie, how come all of a sudden he takes up a pirate’s life in the second film?) Of course, that thought is just speculation at this point. It could end up becoming true, or it could not happen at all.

Davy Jones’ “terrible Beastie” pet, the Kraken (I pronounce it “Crack-En”, but you can say “Kray-Ken” or “Krah-Ken” if you like), recently swallowed Jack Sparrow at the end of the second film, Dead Man’s Chest. Someone I recently spoke to thought that the Kraken died when he (?) ate Jack because Jack swung his sword into the Kraken’s mouth. However, I think this is extremely improbable. If the Kraken has survived hundreds of gunshots, cannon fires, and other threats, then why is one sword going to send him to his death? That’s just my personal opinion, however.

Captain Hector Barbossa (betch’ya didn’t know his first name!) was recently brought back from the dead. When he appeared to Jack’s crew at the end of Dead Man’s Chest, the second film, and proclaimed that he would captain them to World’s End, he also asked what happened to “his” ship . . . which brings up a peculiar question: Once (or if) Captain Jack is retrieved from World’s End, who is the captain of the Black Pearl? I’ve seen a short clip concerning this issue, and I think the final results will be quite humorous. Other questions to be answered by Captain Barbossa include: Why does he want to help save Jack? After all, he took away Jack’s ship, mutinied him – twice – and tried to kill him multiple times . . . so why in the world would he want Jack to come back? Another question is: How did Barbossa come back from the dead? If it’s the same way Jack can come back – by someone rescuing him from Davy Jones’ locker – then who was the rescuer and how did Barbossa get to Tia Dalm’a shack? Ultimately, the biggest question is who’s captain of the Black Pearl?! The way I see it, it was Jack’s ship originally before Barbossa snatched it away from him . . . but then again, Jack primarily has it on loan from Davy Jones. So . . . WHO’S THE CAPTAIN?!?

Moving on to another character, Gibbs has a peculiar and mysterious story to tell that will hopefully be revealed in At World’s End. If you go back to the first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, and view the very first scene (the one with 10-year-old Elizabeth) then you’ll recognize a very clean-cut, sharp-looking Gibbs . . . working for the Navy. What? How’d he go from working with the governor to being best pals with Captain Jack? I really (really!) hope that Gibbs’ mysterious past will be revealed in the third film.

Governor Weatherby Swann is just trying to do his job. He doesn’t know whether he should stick to the rules and be a proper governor or take up for his daughter, who he loves dearly and has recently been involved in a few pirate “episodes.” All he wants is for his daughter to be safe happy, and will go to any lengths to reach that goal, even if it means getting himself into trouble.

Pintel and Ragetti (otherwise known as the goofy pirate and his one-eyed chum) were originally members of Barbossa’s cursed pirate crew in the first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, but now they’re members of Jack’s crew as they sail to the end of the earth to fetch their captain back.

Well, I believe that’s everyone! Now, enough of my blabbing! Let’s see what readers think will happen “At World’s End!”

Reader Melissa says: “Jack will be saved. In fact he doesn’t even need saving because he’s not dead. Just as he busted out of that coffin in the beginning of Pirates 2, he will bust through the Kraken. The Kraken will swallow Jack and then spit him out, proclaiming, “Yuck, you don’t taste good.” But, because Davy Jones has control over the Kraken, the pirates of the world will need to meet at world’s end to all try to take their place as the best, most powerful pirate and to defeat Davy Jones. Will and Elizabeth will still not get married and we may see some sort of a love triangle between Jack, Elizabeth, and Will.”

Reader Kenny answers some questions I asked readers:

  • Will Jack be saved? Of course.
  • Who will get the chest? The Monkey.
  • Is Barbossa good or evil? Good.
  • What in the world does that monkey have to do with everything? See #2.

Reader Jeff says: “Jack comes back (duh), fights the English to save the pirate way of life, realizes he’s gettin’ too old for this kind of stuff and settles down with that voodoo witch doctor lady. They move to the swamp, get married, & they have pirate voodoo babies to continue the pirate tradition.

“Will Turner and Miss Swann agree things are getting a little too serious right now and agree to just be friends & see other people until the 4th sequel. Miss Swann admits she likes guys in big round black hats & falls in love with Captain Barbossa. Captain Barbossa calls all his old pirate buddies (including but not limited to Soa Feang (his college roommate)). He tells them to meet him at their old hang out/ the world’s end. They meet there & in a tearful speech Captain Barbossa announces he’s now a good pirate, he puts on a big round white hat, and says he’s gonna marry Miss Swann.

“Boy it’s gonna be a great movie!”

That was rather creative! Well, there you have it, folks! Will our predictions be correct? Find out in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, in theaters May 25, and stay tuned here for coverage of this epic movie release!

By Blake; originally posted May 19, 2007.

Disney Talk – It’s Almost Here!

May 19, 2007

This article is part of Pirate Countdown 2007.

By Blake

Originally posted on May 19, 2007.

After nearly 11 anticipating months, the wait is finally over!!! Walt Disney Pictures’ and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions’ Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End will premiere tonight (Saturday, May 19, 2007) at Disneyland in California (just like the previous two films in the series). The premiere will have the bragging rights of the world’s longest red carpet of all time, stretching down Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A. and winding its way through New Orleans Square, arriving at its destination, the Rivers of America.
There, a crowd of nearly 7,000 fans, cast/crew members, and celebrities will gather as a giant movie screen constructed on Tom Sawyer Island will project the world premiere presentation of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. However, this time around, unlike the previous two premiere events, tickets were available to the general public and sold out after just 14 days on sale. The price? – A whopping $1,500.
By Blake; originally posted May 19, 2007. Pirate Countdown image designed by Blake with the Word Art program. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End will debut in theaters on May 25, 2007.

Disney Talk – Concerning Pirates 4 . . .

May 19, 2007
This article is part of BlakeOnline’s Pirate Countdown 2007.
by Blake
Originally posted May 19, 2007.
There have been many rumors circulating around the world wide web lately concerning a fourth (and, at one point, even a fifth and sixth) Pirates of the Caribbean flick. However, as time has passed, that seems less and less likely. But, Pirates fans, don’t dwell! There is still hope for another sequel, but of course nothing if 100% set in stone yet.
There have been various reports going back and forth of crew members and actors that were present in the three current Pirates films, some saying they’re ready for another round and others saying it’s not happening. With many interviews and articles contradicting each other, it’s hard to choose which ones to believe and whether or not to think if this fourth movie really is happening or not.
Obviously, when making any sequel, there’s the possibility that it won’t live up to its original predecessor(s). Would you want more Pirates, even if it meant a decrease in value?
So, we possibly could be seeing a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie showing up sometime in the future, but based on articles, opinions, and news all going every which way and saying different reports, there’s still some questioning up in the air about its realization. Johnny Depp has said that he’ll be glad to return if a good story is provided . . . I know I’m thirsty for more Pirates and I can’t wait to see what the vast horizon in the Pirates world brings us.
By Blake; originally posted May 19, 2007. Jack Sparrow image (C) Disney. Pirates Countdown image designed by Blake with the Word Art program.

BlakeOnline Special – Reader’s Character Picks

March 10, 2007

Readers share their favorite Disney characters.

by Blake

Originally posted March 9, 2007.

Earlier, I asked who readers’ favorite Disney characters were. So, here now, are the BlakeOnline Reader’s Character Picks!

Thomas O’Malley from The Aristocats

Coming from an era of lesser-remembered Disney animated films, The Aristocats in none-the-less a charming tale of fancy Paris kittens and their mother that get lost in the wilds of France. Along the way, the kittens and their mother Duchess meet up with Thomas O’Malley, who teaches them how to live on the wild side.

Cool, calm, and laid back, O’Malley loves to just relax and take things pretty easy. Although this is entirely different than the way Duchess is used to living, Thomas O’Malley soon shows her how to see things his way, without worries.

What I found particularly odd about The Aristocats was that the most (for me, at least) humorous and entertaining parts of the movie did not feature cats, but dogs. The hounds Napoleon and Lafayette always earn several laughs from me throughout the film.

Baloo from The Jungle Book

Baloo is the living spirit of “chill.” Not having a care in the world, he proudly protects the “man cub” Mowgli and explores and plays with him around the jungle. Luckily, he had Bagheera the black panther to watch over him and keep him out of trouble! Figuratively, Baloo may be more of a child than Mowgli!

Reader Kenny wrote a poem about why he likes Thomas O’Malley from The Aristocats and Baloo from The Jungle Book:

“I know that you will find this odd
Which characters will get the nod

There were so many,
I didn’t know who
I couldn’t pick one
So I picked two!

The first pick of mine lives in an alley
Not many will not him
He’s C. Thomas O’Malley!

The second one smells and needs some shampoo
But he’s still one of the best
You guessed it – Baloo!

Now here’s where it’s weird
Like plaster of Paris
They’re both played by the same voice – Phil Harris!”

The next entry is part of Pirates Countdown 2007
Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean

Captain Jack seems to be Disney’s #1 most popular character right now, and with good reason. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (released in July 2006) was the #1 highest-grossing Disney film of all time and is only one of the THREE films in history to gross over one billion dollars. You’ll probably find Jack Sparrow in any mall of Wal-Mart you walk into lately – Disney tries to make the most of any character or movie when it’s successful, often overdoing themselves.

Jack Sparrow – sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow – is truly the ultimate villain: cunning, egocentric, clever, haughty, rude, greedy . . . yet we don’t view him as the bad guy. Instead, we view Davy Jones as the main villain. And we should – he’s definitely more powerful and more evil than Jack. But he’s on a different level of a villain. If you really want to get technical, the powdered-wigged generals at Port Royal are the good guys! If the good guys always won in the Pirates movies, the old guys at Port Royal would have Will and Elizabeth put to justice and Jack (permanently) dead.

In the Pirates films, the difference of good and bad is night and day compared to other films (especially Disney films). Jack Sparrow is really a villain, yet everyone is rooting for him (including me). But even now, as we are about to enter the third film in the series this May, the villain level turns on us again in a surprising plot twist.

What did readers say about Captain Jack? Readers Denise, Hunter, and Colton think that “Jack Sparrow is the very best Disney character ever designed.”

That’s quite a statement: and one that I’d gladly agree with.

Minnie Mouse from classic Disney cartoon shorts

Minnie is purely the ideal girlfriend. All for Mickey, she makes picnics, goes on outings, watches Mickey’s pet, bakes, plants, sews, shops, and so much more. Of course, the two wouldn’t want to be to sudden about their relationship – they would be rushing things if they got married after nearly 80 years of dating!

Minnie is loyal to her pals, particularly Daisy Duck. However, Daisy often gets Minnie into so many precarious situations (particularly in the television shows Mickey’s Mouse Works and House of Mouse) that Minnie wonders why she always puts up with Daisy! Daisy proclaims Minnie is her “only friend in the world.” Though, through compassion, mercy, and patience, Minnie always pulls through for Daisy when the duck needs it most.


Reader Lacey wrote an essay about why Minnie is her favorite character:

“‘Why?’ You ask. What’s not to like, she has cute clothes, long eyelashes, wonderful shoes, and a dashingly handsome boyfriend!!!

I would love to have that really cute red dress with the white dots on it. Everyone loves polka dots! And, you know those yellow shoes just set it off. Also, the bow . . . now that is an accessory! Every girl looks good with a bow in her hair.

She also has such a sweet voice, and she is kind to everyone. Now, the world could take a lesson from her. A soft voice and a kind spirit . . . think how much better the world would be if we all tried to be a little more like Minnie Mouse!”

Reader Melissa wrote a creative poem about Minnie:

“She’s got a smile on her face
And a twinkle in her eye
She loves to go shopping
And she dates a real cool guy.

Her name is Minnie Mouse
You can find her at Disney World.
Strutting around Ton Town
She’s quite a swingin‘ girl.

Her kitchen’s got cool gadgets
Her yard has pretty flowers.
She has a lot of friends
She’s the queen of Girl Power.

She’s been in lots of movies
Some would say she’s a star
Maybe you’ve gotten her autograph
Or seen her riding in a car.

I met Minnie one day
And she was very, very nice.
I even saw her ice skate
In a show: Disney on Ice!

Over the years Minnie has changed
But she’s still a real sweet gal
Lovin, laughin, making friends
And Mickey’s still her #1 pal!”

Pluto from the classic Disney cartoon shorts

Pluto may be the most complicated Disney character of them all. Because he doesn’t speak, his movements of face expressions have to clearly define his mood or thoughts. In the 40’s, when Pluto’s collection of shorts were in their “golden age,” animators would put mirrors at their desks to make faces in so they could successfully capture the expressions they wanted Pluto to use!

I’ll compare this subject to the walk-around characters at the Disney parks. Because most of the characters that are there to meet don’t have to capability to speak, it’s necessary to make head and arm movements to capture the characters’ feelings.

It’s the same situation with Pluto. Because he doesn’t speak, he has to move, walk, or look a certain way for the audience to understand how Pluto is feeling or what he’s thinking. He’s purely a dog. Loyal, dependant, protective, and yappy! As for Goofy . . .

Reader John wrote a poem concerning the Pluto/Goofy matter:

Poor Pluto

“Goofy, the dog, acts so crazy
And he’s surely not a scholar.
Things seem just a little hazy,
But he has clothes – you, a collar.

Pluto, on all fours you must walk
Goofy, meanwhile, can walk upright.
You can only bark, but he can talk.
Disney, it just does not seem right!

And, as if these things weren’t enough;
You’ve got no teeth, Goofy has TWO!
It seems to me you have it rough,
But, if it helps, we love you! Goofy, too!”

Peter Pan from Peter Pan

Peter Pan is truly a child in every sense. He loves to play, and takes every chance he gets to have some fun. He barely has any worries, which can sometimes get him into troublesome situations, especially involving pirates.


Reader Denise says, “He truly defines fantasy with a bit of most people’s reality. A little escape to a kid-like, fun filled, action packed, story land is always a dream for me, and many other adults I am sure!”

Well, that wraps up the Reader’s Character Picks! 🙂

By Blake; originally posted March 9, 2007. All images (C) Disney.

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.