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Soundtrack review: Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead man’s chest (Hans Zimmer – 2006)

Composer of the month Franchises Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer month

Soundtrack review: Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead man’s chest (Hans Zimmer – 2006)


After the perfect production and sound of “Curse of the Black Pearl”, Hans Zimmer took over the franchise from the second movie on. The thematic material is a little different and more varied on “Dead man’s chest” than it was on the first movie.

We are introduced to the “Jack Sparrow theme”, more commonly known as the drunken theme, a fun and wobbly composition that is arranged like a concert suite and sounds great. This theme often appears in Jack’s scenes. With “The Kraken” we get the first more serious track of the franchise. Both these first two cues are over 6 minutes long and a departure from the breezy and flashy sound of the first score. The third cue, “Davy Jones” brings another change of pace and we get a music box and organ theme that is easily identified from now on with that character. His theme is one of my favorites from the franchise. It builds up spectacularly once again, and it is another concert like cue.

“Dinner is served” is a combination between tribal music and a funny waltz. “Tia Dalma” brings back the darkness and mystery of the score with another music box insert and a deep and slow building tone. “Wheel of fortune” brings back memories of the crazy three way duel scene from the movie and also returns to the crazy pace of the first score. It alternates between sparkling action and careful pacing.

“Dead man’s chest” ends with a juicy 10 minute long Hans Zimmer trademark suite, “Hello Beastie”, which contains a lot of my favorite themes from the movie and also brings back shadows of Hans’ past scores. It actually makes me think more of King Arthur than anything else. It burns the same way and it’s a pleasure to listen to.

Hans Zimmer had more time to develop and craft “Dead man’s chest”, and you can hear that clearly. “Curse of the Black Pearl” was a bottle of champagne, while this second score tastes more like the rum Jack Sparrow is so keen on.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 33 / 52

Album excellence: 63%


Jack Sparrow

Davy Jones

Dinner Is Served

Two Hornpipes (Tortuga)

A Family Affair

Wheel Of Fortune


Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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