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‘Pirates’ DVD brings the swash and the buckle

The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest two-disc DVD set includes a treasure trove of special features that add to the overall experience of the movie.

The audio commentary by writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio is surprisingly interesting because they mention trivia that the causal viewer might fail to notice, such as foreshadowing. They even clarify a few facts about the plot that could have been confusing.

“I wonder if we should have made that clear – that if you control the chest, you can tell Davy Jones to do whatever you want and in that way you control the sea?” asked one of the writers.

The bloopers are airy and funny, and show that Johnny Depp stays in character even after a mistake.

There are a few Easter eggs on the second disc, such as a short documentary on the film’s coconut picker, also known as the coconut man, who makes sure there are no loose coconuts that could injure the cast and crew during filming.

The documentaries are informative and entertaining most of the time. “Charting the Return” is a video diary of the pre-production of the film, where the drama of not having a finished script four months before shooting unfolds.

“According to Plan” is a documentary of the filming and is filled with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. It starts with the crew getting shots in Los Angeles before traveling to the tropical islands and ends when the crew and cast are saying their goodbyes. The stress and frustration of making a high-budget movie is captured in the segments on getting through hurricanes and difficult terrain, and makes the viewer more appreciative of the film. There are even a few shots of the filming of the next movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which was filmed at the same time as Dead Man’s Chest.

Other features include “Captain Jack: From Head to Toe,” where Johnny Depp, costume designer Penny Rose and others explain Jack’s ensemble from the infamous hat down to the boots. “Mastering the Blade” follows the sword fighting experiences of Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Jack Davenport. Another documentary, “Meet Davy Jones: Anatomy of a Legend,” is about the mythology and development of the live-actor and 3-D computer graphics.

However, the multiple hours of special features may have included too many obscure technical details. For instance, the footage and interviews of moving equipment from location to location feel like too much information. Also, during the commentary, the writers bring up lines or scenes that had been cut in editing; any Pirates fan would have loved to have actually seen those.

Overall, the DVD gives fans just enough of a Pirates fix to last until the release of the next movie, scheduled for May 2007.