Tag Archive: dead mans chest


Now, the title of this post may be a little bit controversial and may leave people wondering “what on Earth are you talking about?”. After all, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the biggest franchises in cinema history and Johnny Depp actually received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of one of the most famous characters of all time: the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow. Before I get started, I would like to say that I am a big fan of the character of Jack Sparrow and have previously named him as my favourite role of Johnny Depp’s; I have also stated previously that I believe Johnny Depp to be one of the best actors not to have won an Oscar. So why do I think this?

I honestly think that Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile actors of his generation, or at least he was earlier in his career. He has starred in a number of very successful films and his characters have been very varied throughout his career: from Ed Wood to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, from Alice in Wonderland to From Hell. Time and time again Depp has shown that he can bring his A game to the table at every opportunity. That is until he fell in love with the character of Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack Sparrow was the first (and to date the only) character that Johnny Depp has returned to and played on more than one occasion, four in total with a fifth and sixth movie in the pipeline. So far we have seen Captain Jack Sparrow in Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides. I believe that the choice to play Jack Sparrow is one that, if he wanted to win an Oscar, Johnny Depp should have steered clear from. As the Pirates franchise has got longer and longer the films have got worse and worse; the first was brilliant and quite rightly Depp was nominated for an Oscar for his performance; the second was good; third was very very long, confusing, boring and painful, whilst the fourth received mostly negative reviews and was the first in the series not to gain any Oscar nominations at all. If this pattern continues then Depp will surely become nothing more than simply a forgotten man.

For some reason, Depp’s other films outside the Pirates franchise have been very mediocre, verging on the line between average and bad largely. With the exception of Rango, Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd Depp’s other films have been regularly panned by critics and audiences alike. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dark Shadows, The Tourist, The Rum Diary and I think it is fair to say that anticipation for The Lone Ranger movie is very low indeed after poorly received promotional shots.

This is not to say that Depp’s versatility as an actor has gone. What I think has happened is that people now can only see Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow because of how iconic the character has become. This is the same way in which people recognise Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky or Rambo and Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Therefore I believe that when people watch Johnny Depp in his more recent films what audiences are actually hoping for is to see Jack Sparrow on the screen rather than Johnny Depp and there is no way that this can ever work in Depp’s favour.

Depp’s taste in suits are almost as versatile as his early career.

I still hold out hope that Depp wins an Oscar one day as I feel that his career really does deserve it, but I do think that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a sinking ship and Depp needs to get away from it to further advance his career.

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As it is Johnny Depp’s birthday (can you actually believe he is 49!?) I have decided to compile a list of what I think are his greatest ever movie roles. Depp has been acting since 1984 but I have decided to limit my choices to just five.

 

5. George Jung in Blow.

Johnny Depp plays George Jung in the biopic drama of the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. As well as I can remember this is the first movie that I actually saw Johnny Depp in and since then I have been a fan of his. His portrayal as the drug smuggler here is an excellent one and I think Blow is often forgotten in favour for some of his more commercial work.

 

4. John Dillinger in Public Enemies.

This is another biopic where Johnny Depp plays the star; this time he portrays the notorious bank robber during his final years whilst being pursued by the FBI. The performance by Depp is something new entirely, he doesn’t try to recreate gangsters that have been seen on the screen before him as so many actors in modern gangster films try to do. Instead, Depp brings his own voice, walk and character to Dillinger; he plays him as a fact, as the cold hearted gangster and bank robber that history writes him as. Fantastic performance in yet another under rated film.

 

3. Rango in Rango.

Johnny Depp has only done voice acting twice in movies; The Corpse Bride and Rango. This was something relatively different for him. People are used to being able to look at Johnny Depp on the big screen when they go to see his movies, it’s what draws in probably half of the audience. Fortunately though, Depp gives a fantastic, colourful and vibrant performance as the ‘cowboy chameleon’ in a very enjoyable film.

 

2. Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands.

Released in 1990, this was one of Depp’s first major film roles and to this day remains one of his most iconic. We see Depp here create the character of Edward Scissorhands as a victim and his performance really helps the audience to feel for his character. I think that this is one of Johnny Depp’s most personal performances and it comes in a fantastic film. It also began the long working relationship between Depp and director Tim Burton.

 

1. Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Curse of the Black Pearl is something very special and is probably up there with my most enjoyable films; Dead Man’s Chest is good and very watchable; At World’s End is mind-numbingly dull and very confusing and who even cares that they made a fourth? As the quality of the movies in the Pirates franchise has declined Depp’s performance remains a staple in popular culture. This is probably his best and most iconic role of all time. Depp excels himself when he puts on the costume for Jack Sparrow and loses himself in the character, he creates a fantastic persona and it is a character that, given the right film, is one of the best characters ever created on film. Depp also loves playing Jack Sparrow and is the only character that he has ever portrayed on more than one occasion (perhaps proving that he should stick to playing characters just the once). But even if the films are not that good anymore people will still see them for Johnny Depp in his finest performances as Captain Jack Sparrow.