J.D. Lafrance
Pirates of the Caribbean: Special Edition DVD Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Special Edition

May 21, 2005

Director: Gore Verbinski, ,
Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Damian O'Hare, Giles New, Angus Barnett, David Bailie, Michael Berry Jr., Isaac C. Singleton Jr., Kevin McNally, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

Arrr, mateys! There be something even more deadly than the Curse of the Black Pearl. It is the curse of the dreaded double-dipping! What with losing Pixar in 2006 and the imminent departure of Miramax seemingly any day now, Disney is scrambling to find some quick and plentiful revenue. So, why not gouge the consumer? For the one or two of you who haven’t picked up the excellent 2-DVD set of Pirates of the Caribbean, fear not, Disney has re-released it with an additional disc (aka “The Lost Disc”) with eight additional featurettes. For the rest of us, is it worth buying the whole package all over again?

For my review of the actual movie and the extras on the original edition, check the link below.

Special Features:

“The Lost Disc” starts off with “Becoming Jack,” a seven-minute look at how Johnny Depp became Captain Jack Sparrow. Mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the film’s director, Gore Verbinski chime in with their respective takes on Sparrow. Of course, Depp talks about the influence of Keith Richards (and Pepe Le Pew!) on his character. This is a fine featurette but nothing terribly illuminating.

“Becoming Barbossa” is Geoffrey Rush’s take on his character. At first, he wasn’t too keen on the film but after reading the script, he liked the mix of gritty detail and escapist fantasy and signed on.

“Thar She Blows!” is a six-minute featurette on the Interceptor ship, from construction to destruction. Several detailed models were created in the process and a lot of meticulous work was done to blow it up.

“More Fly on the Set” features behind-the-scenes footage of the preparation work done to film three scenes, including Elizabeth Swann being forced to walk the plank. This is a nice look at how much work actually goes into preparing a scene and then shooting it on a big budget movie like this one.

“The Monkey’s Name is Jack” is a four and half minute look at Barbossa’s monkey, Jack (aka Levi). There is footage of the monkey and his trainer with soundbites from Rush on his co-star. This extra seems quite superficial and reeks of padding out the DVD.

“Sneak Attack Animatic” is a clip that was created entirely on computer so that that the filmmakers could pre-visualize an attack sequence from the movie.

“Pirates Around the World” is an amusing sampling of what the movie sounds like dubbed in several languages all over the world, including Thai and Portuguese amongst others. It is rather amusing to hear Captain Jack with an Italian accent.

“Spirit of the Ride” is a seven-minute look at how the movie tried to capture the spirit of the ride that it’s based on. Depp recalls fond childhood memories of Disney attraction while interviews with Verbinski and the screenwriters demonstrate how they actually recreated many of the parts of the ride in the movie.

Finally, there is “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” a 14-minute history of the original Disney attraction that was only previous accessible via computer on the original 2-DVD set. This is a nice look at Disney history with vintage clips of Walt and his team planning and actually constructing the famous ride.

Casual fans will probably want to skip this new edition as the new DVD’s extras really don’t warrant buying everything again. Disney should have offered some kind of mail-in deal that allowed one to purchase the extra disc for a reduced price. Completists will definitely want to buy this new version for all the new goodies. Naturally, if this is your first time buying Pirates of the Caribbean then, by all means, get this edition.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 80%



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