Saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest this weekend. I wasn't expecting to like it as I'd heard almost nothing but bad reviews of it in the run up to the weekend. It had a pretty middling 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and I just wasn't sure that they could replicate the first movie without either completely redoing it or taking it in a direction that I just didn't want to go.
Well, I'm happy to report that all my fears were for nothing. Even though there are serious pacing problems in the first 45 minutes, it's pretty much just rollicking fun. Nothing serious, nothing overly pretentious, and it certainly doesn't take itself to seriously. Some of the action sequences go on (and on and on and on) for way too long. The plot is a bit of mess and could have certainly used some tightening up, but since it's basically the first part of one big movie, I'm willing to cut it some slack.
The effects are pretty good -- they do what effects should do which is enhance the experience, not become the experience. I think that's where King Kong ultimately stumbled, although I do love that movie as well. It was just a little bit too much in love with its special effects -- cripes, the second act of that movie could have been excised from the film and been submitted to the Academy in the Best Animated Feature category. Pirates probably had one too many giant octopus attack scenes, but overall, I didn't think it was completely overdone.
The movie is basically a live action cartoon, as Heidi said. It's just the kind of summer entertainment that we've all come to expect. Much like my wife, I like it a lot better in hindsight than I did while I was actually watching it. I'll probably catch it again when it comes to the dollar theater.