"Pirates of the Caribbean" is a movie franchise that is starting to truly blossom. With the sequel, entitled "Dead Man's Chest", Hans Zimmer takes over the scoring duties previously held by Klaus Badelt and his team. The infamous story of how the Zimmer crew took over the assignment is quite well known by now, with the rejected score from Alan Silvestri playing a pivotal role in the musical fate of the franchise. With scarce time to produce a score for the first movie, I thought the music that made it to the final cut was enjoyable to listen to and featured an energy level that worked well within the context of the film. Though some will say the modern sounds did not fit the swashbuckling tale, I'm happy to say that the first score remains a guilty pleasure of mine. "Dead Man's Chest" seemingly picks up right where the predecessor left off, and the guilty pleasures continue!
Zimmer's score recaptures and tweaks the medleys used in the first movie but also raises the stakes with new motifs and an even more intense sound mix. True, you can adapt the music from this movie into many different genres, but I'm here to grade the listening experience and with that as the prerequisite, I can honestly say this album works wonderfully.
Zimmer unloads the full arsenal for this score. The vintage electronic enhancements can be easily spotted, but there are also organ sounds, fiddles, choral elements and more in the mix. He's also written in some brief, period style pieces that make for a colorful diversion at different moments on the album. Most of all, though, it's the action oriented music that I really found satisfaction with. Essentially, from the second track onward, there are bursts of music that are quite exhilarating and often move along at a breathless pace.
The running time of the album is satisfactory with over 50+ minutes of score. It gives the listener a generous taste of the musical composition from the film and it also prevents the music from becoming overbearing. Many time, with scores of this style, more is not necessarily better!
The album concludes with a couple of tracks that stall the momentum of soundtrack, but there is enough gusto leading up to tracks 10 and 11 to overlook this. Also, the disc concludes with a techo jam that really warrants no mention at all, other than to discontinue your listening experience before this track begins.
Overall, you can critique the method and style all you want, but for me, the fullness of the music really worked. More than anything else, "Dead Man's Chest" makes for a great stand-alone listening experience and I think that's the approach you'll have to take to truly capture enjoyment from this effort. Embrace the summer and have some fun with this score!
Final Score: While the modern technique might not appeal to all, it's hard to argue with the melodic energy that "Dead Man's Chest" has to offer.