Australian Council on Children and the Media

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

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Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Viol. Scary scenes, Theme)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • a review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 July 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violence, scary visual images, and supernatural themes
Children aged 13-15 Most children over the age of 13 will be able to cope with this movie, although parents are encouraged to think very carefully about their childu2019s susceptibility to violence and supernatural themes.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate violence, Supernatural theme
Length 150 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

It is Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan’s (Keira Knightley) wedding day, but before the commencement of the ceremony, Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) arrives and arrests the pair for offences committed in the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. The charges against them are a fraud, and to gain their freedom, Will must track down his pirate friend Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), and retrieve for Lord Beckett, Jack’s mystical compass. Beckett believes the compass will lead him to the fabled locker of Davy Jones, the Dead Man’s Chest, which he will use to control the shipping trade.

Captain Jack Sparrow is also in pursuit of Davy Jones’s locker for his own reasons. Thirteen years earlier Jack had bargained his soul with the sinister octopus-headed Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) who is also Captain of the ghost ship the Flying Dutchman. Time is up for Jack and Davy Jones is hot on his trail to claim his soul. Jack must try to find is Davy Jones’s locker, which contains the beating heart of Davy Jones, and be in a position to bargain back his soul.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Supernatural themes, pirate mythology

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is intense action violence, and some slapstick violence in this movie with no actual blood and gore. Violent scenes include:

  • Will Turner is shot in the neck with a dart from a blowgun.
  • a man pulls a knife from the throat of a second man and lets the dead body drop to the ground
  • Elizabeth Swan points a gun a Lord Beckett’s head.
  • Jack Sparrow is tied to a pole and then placed over a fire to resemble a spitted lamb.
  • cannibals shoot arrows at Will and others with him
  • a man holds a gun to Jack Sparrow’s face
  • a massive drunken brawl in a tavern in which people are punched in the face and bottles are smashed over their heads
  • Will is strapped to a mast and flogged by his father
  • sailors are thrown around like rag dolls by the tentacles of a giant octopus, smashed against walls and pulled through small holes in the side of the ship
  • the crew of the Flying Dutchman, who are the walking dead, execute several captured sailors. The sailors are kneeling down and are hacked at with swords and hatchets
  • a sword duelling type fight between Will, Jack and a Commodore.
  • one of the Davy Jones walking dead is decapitated by a sword.
  • Elizabeth uses a sword to fight Davy Jones’s walking dead
  • a cannon fire fight between two sailing ships during which cannon balls smash through the sides of ships and sailors are blown from the ship
  • cannons are fired at giant octopus legs and the legs are blown apart
  • Jack Sparrow jumps into the gaping maw of a giant octopus.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • dark, sinister-looking medieval towers with tortured looking men chained to walls
  • gruesome visual images of rotting corpses hanging in cages having their eyes picked out by birds
  • Jack Sparrow uses a rotting human leg bone to row a floating coffin
  • the palm of Jack Sparrow’s hand is shown rotting away (the pirate’s black spot)
  • a sailing ship implodes and is sucked into the sea along with her crew
  • fierce looking cannibals covered in mud with bones pierced through their noses and lips, some of whom look like skeletons
  • the cannibals present Jack Sparrow with a necklace consisting of a number of severed human toes
  • after being captured by the Island cannibals, Will and his crew are placed in a giant cage made of rotting human arms and legs
  • threatening drunken pirates with mouths full of yellow rotting teeth
  • a young witch voodoo priestess with a tattooed face and black stained teeth
  • Davy Jones is depicted as a sinister evil creature with the face of an octopus and his beard and hair made up of tentacles. One of his arms, hands and legs are like a crab’s.
  • Davy Jones’s crew, the walking dead, resemble walking, talking rotten corpses. Some have barnacles growing from the sides of their faces while others are melded with a variety of aquatic creatures, for example one of the men has a head resembling a hammer head shark, another has a hole in the stomach inhabited by an eel; another a large hermit crab shell for a head, out of which the face protrudes
  • the shell or head of this creature is severed from the body, and the face is replaced by a crab that followed the headless walking body
  • one of the walking dead has their stomach cut open and hundreds of small fish pour out
  • ships and people are attacked and thrown about by a giant octopus. The octopus has a giant maw surrounded by dozens of fang like teeth, and victims are dragged into the sea.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

All of the images listed above could also scare or traumatise children between the ages of five and eight years. Of most concern are the images of Davy Jones, his crew of walking dead, the giant octopus, and the more gruesome images of rotting corpses.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

While some of the scary visual images listed above may still scare children closer to the age of eight years, the images are designed to be scary and gruesome in a morbidly humorous manner. The images of Davy Jones crew are so over the top as to be laughed at and at times even appear muppet like. Many children closer to the age of thirteen years will correctly interpret the humorous content of the film’s scary visual images and not be scared or threatened as a result. However, parents are encouraged to consider their child’s susceptibility to such themes and images.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children over the age of thirteen years will be able to correctly interpret the morbidly humorous content of the film’s scary visual images and not be scared or threatened as a result. For some children, parental guidance may still be advisable.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

There is a mild and humorous sexual references in which Elizabeth, dressed as a male pirate tells Jack Sparrow “I’m looking for the man I love” to which Jack responds “I’m flattered sir”.

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • several scenes in which intoxicated pirates are shown drinking bottles of rum while swaying and staggering
  • Jack Sparrow and the other pirates place a great importance of the acquisition of rum, refusing to part with it unless threatened with death
  • Elizabeth takes a swig of rum from a bottle
  • the Commodore from the first film is now a drunken derelict vomiting from alcohol abuse
  • a tavern scene involving drunken pirates consuming rum
  • Davy Jones smokes a pipe.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • bugger
  • arse
  • bloody
  • damn.

In a nutshell

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is a. swashbuckling pirate adventure film tailored to an adolescent audience, and in terms of entertainment is somewhat long winded.

The film offers little in terms of positive values parents may wish to reinforce, although Jack Sparrow, who always presents himself as somewhat of a lovable rogue, and Will, both display admirable selflessness at certain points.

The film to an extent glamourises alcohol consumption through the antics of the rum guzzling pirates and the importance they place on possessing rum. Parents may wish to discuss the real life dangers and consequences of being dependent on alcohol and using it for the purpose of getting drunk.

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