Of Undead Monkeys and a Datin-to-be.

An Undead Monkey and a Heartless Squid

When I first saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, I didn’t expect to like it. But as it happened, I came out of the cinema highly entertained, convinced that Johnny Depp was a good actor, and with a bunch of lines stuck in my head. So naturally, I wanted to see the sequel (whose titles were translated into BM as Lanun-lanun Pulau Caribbean: Harta Lelaki Mati – I couldn’t help laughing and wondering, “Where’d they get the ‘pulau’ from?”).
Despite what critics said about Dead Man’s Chest, I still wanted to see the show for myself. After some failed planning and last-minute decisions, I eventually managed to go on Sunday evening and form my own opinion of it.

[ Spoiler Warning ]
It isn’t quite as good as the first movie, but it still has its moments. Chest, although full of twists, somehow comes off as less interesting than Black Pearl. Maybe it’s due to the somewhat darker, more serious nature of this second film. All Captain Jack Sparrow had to worry about in the first show was whether or not he got his revenge on Barbossa; but now he has to worry about staying alive and escaping the monstrous Kraken sent by the walking squid called Davy Jones.

The dialogue is about as cleverly written as the first one, with only a shortage of Jack’s sarcastic wit and favourite phrase (“Savvy?”) marring it for me. He only said “Savvy?” once in the whole show. :( He was still funny sometimes, but not as funny as last time.

Effects-wise, splendid work by ILM, as always. Wouldn’t be surprised if Dead Man’s Chest picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects. Davy Jones and Co. were a great blend of prosthetics, make-up and CGI. (Might get a nomination for that too.)

One of the parts I found funniest in the movie was when one of Jones’ men lost his head (literally) and the head started speaking a mixture of Cantonese and English, directing the body to where it was. It was just hilarious to suddenly hear Cantonese out of nowhere.
There was also the part where Will, Gibbs and some of the crew run away from the cannibals – still stuck in their ball cage. Gibbs’ instruction to “Lift it like a woman’s skirt!” and run was too hilarious to not laugh at; as was his later order to the crew aboard the ship to “Pull like yer paid to do it!” ROFL.
Remember the guy from Barbossa’s crew whose false eye kept falling out? He’s baaack. Along with his short, pudgy friend, they provide quite a lot of laughs in the show; such as their linguistic debate on the pronounciation of “Kraken.”
“It’s krah-ken.”
“No, it’s kraay-ken.
“What – with a long A?… In the original Scandinavian, it’s krah-ken.”
“Well, we ain’t Scandinavian!”

The three-way sword fight between Jack, Will and Norrington was interesting and also quite funny in how they kept turning on one another. Norrington’s joining in did surprise me, though. Still, it brought another dimension to the whole fight. And Elizabeth’s futile efforts to try and get them to stop was an amusing sideshow. The part of the fight on the giant wheel – that made them look like hamsters to me – was well-choreographed, I thought. (Jia Wern tells me that it’s adapted from the old movie, King Solomon’s Mines.)
I somehow think that the monkey – yes, Barbossa’s pet monkey – stole the show nearly every time it showed up. The monkey and Jack make for a hilarious combination, and they played up the monkey’s “undead” attribute with Jack’s temper (and his lack of a vent for frustrations) quite well, I thought. Hence a scene where Jack storms aboard the Black Pearl, demanding, “Where’s that monkey? I need to shoot something!”
(Also found it funny when Jack brought the monkey to Dalma as a gift and deadpanned happily: “Look what I brought you – an undead monkey!” *whips out gun and shoots it* )

That, in turn, brings me to one of the most mysterious aspects of the show. If Barbossa and his crew are now free of the Aztec gold curse, and are therefore no longer immortal, why is the monkey still like that? Did the terms of the curse not apply to the monkey or what? In any case, I haven’t been able to come up with any sensible answer.

Anyway, although Dead Man’s Chest wasn’t as great as Curse of the Black Pearl, I would still go to see At World’s End (or whatever the last movie’s title is) next year. :D

Datin Siti Nurhaliza
(Edit, July 29: I found out from my friend that she can’t take the title of “datin.” Apparently only the first wife can have the title. And she’ll be his second wife. Hahah)
That’s what she’ll soon be anyway. August 21, to be exact. Malaysia’s darling caused quite a stir in my office today when someone found out that she was giving a live press conference at noon to announce her engagement. The seniors started it first, okay. :P I had no idea what was going on when two or three of them suddenly ran into the boss’ room and crowded around the TV, talking animatedly. Before long, whoever was in the office had dropped work and was glued to the TV screen. Not that all of us were fans of Siti’s, but we were curious nonetheless. With the whole lot of speculation flying around lately as to whether she’s engaged or not, this was very interesting. Who’s her fiancé? Is it the said “Datuk K” who’s been associated with her all this time? Or is he – as some claim – the ‘decoy’ for the real guy?

After waiting – impatiently – for quite some time, Siti finally graced the red carpet with her fiancé and some family members of both sides. Yup. Datuk K it was, much to the chagrin of most. The guys, in particular, seemed quite appalled by her taste. (He’s 20 years older than she is, divorced his wife to marry her, and is by no means at all good-looking.)

He is either not used to, or cannot speak that well in public, though he’s supposedly a prominent businessman. When asked by one reporter what he liked about Siti, his answer went something like this:

“Uh… Siti seorang yang…”
Someone gave him a new microphone to hold.
“Dia seorang yang…”
Pause again.
Changed mic again.
“… Istimewa.”

We just stared. The guy was going to marry Siti Nurhaliza and that’s all he could say about her?

Got anything to add or say? :D