Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006, USA) C-150m. SCOPE *** D: Gore Verbinski. Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Kevin McNally, David Bailie, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hollander, Naomie Harris, Geoffrey Rush. Truly monstrous sequel to the 2003 blockbuster pits Jack Sparrow (Depp) against an undead octopus-faced captain and his crew of sea phantoms. Turner (Bloom) must find Sparrow to save him and Knightley from the gallows. Central gimmick: The Dead Man's Chest, which may contain the solution to Jack's problems. Often-muddled plot is outdone by first-rate production design and camerawork and excellent special effects. Darker, more exhilarating that the original, but certainly not better. Ends with a cliffhanger advertising Part 3 (2007). Rousing score by Hans Zimmer.

© Ron Altman