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Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (Blu-ray DVD)

Manufacturer: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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Hot on the heels of the Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl Blu-ray release comes Pirates of the Caribbean Ė Dead Manís Chest. In this second installment of the Pirates trilogy, the lives of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan are once again turned upside down by the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. As the movie progresses we find out that Jack made a deal to become Captain of the Black Pearl, and now his is debt is dueÖ he owes his soul to Davy Jones. The only way Jack can escape his fate is to find the legendary Dead Manís Chest, which is fabled to hold the still beating heart of Davy Jones. Unfortunately for Jack, the East Indian Trading Company is also after the chest. After being condemned to death by the Company, Will sets out to find Jack only to be captured by Jones. Elizabeth (also condemned by the Company) escapes to save Will. As with the first installment, the Pirates of the Caribbean Ė Dead Manís Chest is an exciting plot with multiple storylines that will keep you entertained till the end.

Soul of the Deep Blu-ray Sea
The Curse of the Black Pearl was a site to behold on Blu-ray and so it is with Dead Manís Chest. As a matter of fact, I didnít even see Dead Manís Chest in the theatre. Why bother? With the proper home setup, Blu-ray brings the theatre experience to you. In some respects, Dead Manís Chest brings an even better visual experience because of the amazing animation done with regards to Davy Jones and his crew as well as the exquisite sights of the cannibal island. Of course, the sound is as splendid as everÖ the effects and environmental sounds bring you right into the action and the wonderful soundtrack delivers just the right mood for every scene.

Some Special Features
With regards to extras, Dead Manís Chest isnít quite as extravagant as Curse of the Black Pearl. Where the Pearl provided almost 13 hours of extra features, Chest only provides a little over 7 hours. In addition, most of the extras on Chest are from the original DVD release. So if you already own the DVD, you arenít getting much more here in terms of extras. Of course, the main purpose for purchasing the Blu-ray release is the HD movie format, and with that you most definitely will not be disappointed. Also, the Blu-ray disc does provide one cool extra not found on the DVDÖ

Liarís Dice
If youíve already watched the movie, you most likely remember the scene in which Will challenges Davy Jones to a game of Liarís Dice. On disc 1 of the Blu-ray release youíll find the movie itself as well as a commentary track by the screen writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio. Unfortunately, there are no commentary tracks by the director or any of the cast members, but I digress. In addition, youíll find an interactive version of the Liarís Dice game. You get to play the game against the pirate Pintel in a first person perspective with a number of the crew watching. Simple on-screen controls allow you to choose your bid or call Pintel a Liar during each round. The player who loses all their dice loses the game. A simple instruction booklet is included in the package. Whatís nice about this game is that you get to interact with some of the pirates from the movie. The game is also in HD. Plus, the game is interactive not only in play but also in the way the pirates respond to your bids. For example, if you place a safe bid, they will tease you about it. Of course, itís basically a game of chance but itís still fun to play.

Original DVD Features
The remaining bonus features are located on the second disc in the package and provide the same content as the original DVD release. This disc is divided into five main sections. Pirates Around the World lets you view the theatrical and teaser trailers for the movie in a number of different languages. Inside Dead Manís Chest gives you some information about how the story and movie came into being. Subsections include: Pirate Lore, Locations & Sets, and Story & Characters.

Pirates On Location gives you a look at filming on location at a couple of the more significant sites. Subsections include: Cannibal Island and Tortuga Bar Brawl. Mastering The Blade lets you see how three stars of the film trained for the sword fighting scenes. Subsections include: Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Jack Davenport.

There is also an untitled section that includes the bulk of the extra features. To begin, you have Charting The Return and According To Plot, which provide a behind-the-scenes aspect of how the movie concept was created. Captain Jack: From Head To Toe lets you hear all about the character Captain Jack Sparrow from wardrobe to personality, including interviews with Johnny Depp.

Meet Davy Jones: Anatomy Of A Legend and Creating the Kraken are two of my favorite extras. In Meet Davy Jones, you see how they made the character of Davy Jones come to life. It is simply amazing what can be done with technology these days. The actors of the Davy Jones crew wore special black motion capture suits, but instead of having to be filmed separately, they were all part of the original filming. Then their characters were extracted and animated with computers. Amazing! Of course, with the Kraken we all know the monster isnít real and must be computer generated, but with the Davy Jones crew it looks like a great makeup job, but itís all computer animated. In Creating the Kraken, youíll learn about the inspiration behind the monster and how the actors were able to film the scenes without actually seeing the monster.

In addition, you get a number of shorter extras including: Dead Men Tell New Tales: Re-Imagineering The Attraction, Fly On The Set: The Bone Cage, Jerry Bruckheimer: A Producerís Photo Diary, Pirates On Main Street: The Dead Manís Chest Premiere, Stills From The Set, and Bloopers Of The Caribbean.

Setting Sail!
All in all, Pirates of the Caribbean Ė Dead Manís Chest on Blu-ray is a great product. This is especially true if (like me) you didnít see the movie or have just seen it in the theatre. If you already own the DVD, then the value of the extras isnít so great but for me the HD-quality movie is still worth adding this disc to your collection. Now, I canít wait to see the final film of the trilogy. Itís in theatres as I write this review, but Iím waiting for the Blu-ray release.

For more information:
* Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (Blu-ray)
* Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest (DVD)
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