The 2-disc collector's edition DVD of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is much like the movie: fun and entertaining, but so lengthy and packed with information that you sometimes get overwhelmed. There's a sense of self-indulgence here, but that's all in keeping with a pirate's life.
In this second swashbuckling adventure, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) wants the fabled dead man's chest that's supposed to contain the heart of the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) the human-octopus captain of the cursed crew of the Flying Dutchman. Meanwhile, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is searching for Jack, since he owns something that will help Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) get freed from jail. On their various adventures, the gang travels the Seven Seas and battles each other, Davy Jones' crew, an island of cannibals and even the giant squid known as the Kraken.
With all the locations, set pieces, action scenes and aquatic-themed monsters, it's no wonder that the DVD is packed to the gills with bonus features. Naturally, the best of the booty is flashy, such as the energetic "Bloopers of the Caribbean" feature that presents the usual sort of outtakes: actors laughing, flubbing lines, messing with props and basically having more fun than you are.
"Captain Jack: From Head to Toe" is the most innovative bonus. Selecting certain highlighted parts -- such as his smoky eyes, bottle of rum or hair ornament -- on an image of Jack offers viewers informational clips and interviews about the object in the context of the production or the character. It's fascinating, but not as humorous as I expected it to be considering the subject. A handy "play all" feature gets rid of the need for clumsy DVD remote maneuvering, but the truly dedicated fans going the manual route will find an Easter egg on the page that unlocks a handful of other tidbits.
The "Mastering the Blade" feature is subdivided to present the respective sword-wielding journeys of Bloom, Knightley and Jack Davenport (who played the jilted Norrington). Swoon over Bloom's fiery sword skills, Knightley's natural ability and Davenport's self-deprecation.
The "Dead Men Tell New Tales" extra is worth a look also to see how the Disney Imagineers updated the Disneyland "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride to incorporate some of the newer characters and dialogue. The animatronics look better but are just as creepy, especially when you see a real-life Depp face-to-face with his piratical alter ego.
On the more technical side, "Meet Davy Jones" and "Creating the Kraken" do a decent job of explaining how each of the tentacled beings were made flesh on screen. Yes, it boils down to lots of computers once again, but seeing Nighy clad in grey pajamas and strange makeup deliver lines in Davy's rolling accent is good fun. "Fly on the Set" is more how-to stuff, but doesn't feel overly technical because it's hilarious to hear the various actors in the bone cage scream their heads off. Plus, the entire feature is blessedly brief.
Not so brief were the pre-production diary and the actual production featurette "According to Plan." The latter is rather harrowing, not only because it covers the physical hardships and hurricanes the crew had to withstand, but also because it felt far longer than its one hour runtime. After watching it, I felt like I had gone through the full 200-day production schedule. Although these features give insight into all the thankless, unglamorous work that goes into making a movie, you better be a huge "Pirates 2" fan to slog through it all cheerfully.
As always, the commentary provides some insight into the story and world-building involved. If you were confused by all the exposition in the film, it's for good reason. Screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio deliberately set a ton of story threads up for the third film in "Pirates 2," and have obviously done their homework. It was also nice to know that they were similarly frustrated that the rules for Liar's Dice weren't exactly clear in the dice game scene since it was heavily edited.
Less informative was producer Jerry Bruckheimer's photo diary, which captures nice moments, but isn't anything new. "Pirates on Main Street" is a bit more interesting to watch than a regular red carpet career since it took place in Disneyland.
Overall, the treasure trove of features is consistently high quality, but be sure to gauge your mood before picking your poison.
EXTRAS: screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio commentary; Bloopers of the Caribbean; Charting the Return: A preproduction diary; According to Plan: hour-long production documentary; Captain Jack: From Head to Toe; Mastering the Blade; Meet Davy Jones: Anatomy of a Legend; Creating the Kraken; Dead Men Tell New Tales: Re-Imagineering the Attraction; Fly on the Set: The Bone Cage; Jerry Bruckheimer: A Producer's Photo Diary; Pirates on Main Street: The Dead Man's Chest Premiere; Easter eggs