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'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' Premiere
by Scott Holleran
A scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland
June 29, 2006

Burbank, California—A ride on Disneyland's reimagined attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, leaves one singing the Yo Ho song as never before. The overlay is, in a word, terrific.

Timed to promote this summer's sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the 39-year-old attraction, located in Disneyland's New Orleans Square, takes place before Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) recaptures the title ship in the original picture, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Following an eerie, immersive musical introduction, boaters find Captain Jack—as well as Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy)—interspersed throughout the jaunt. The actors give voice to the added Audio-Animatronic characters, which are thoughtfully integrated.

Each enhancement—new speakers, new treasure, new torches in the burning of Port Royale—is a real improvement. The sound is crisper, with original analog audio tracks digitally remastered, the look is cleaned up, and the result is a refreshed update on Disneyland's buoyant classic.

Look—and listen—for Barbossa early in the voyage, prepare to be slimed by Davy Jones and keep yer eyes peeled for Captain Jack, hiding here and there, in three separate scenes. Though the opening narrative has been softened and the original's glittering closing credit has sadly been removed, those willing to brave long lines will not be disappointed.

And to think the place, which broke ground in 1961, was initially planned as a walk-through Pirate Wax Museum, (one of scads of interesting facts in the colorful 50th anniversary Disneyland: Then, Now and Forever—$24.95 inside the park and worth every cent—by Tim O'Day and Bruce Gordon.)

The Sequel's World Premiere

Writer Terry Rossio and friend Jocelyn
Photo Credit: Scott Holleran
Disneyland's red carpet premiere for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (they did the same for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003) was a long, hot and starry affair.

Besides cast members Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, those running the gauntlet included the picture's producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski, writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott—making the most of the occasion by tossing out pirate booty and having a blast—and Disney President Robert Iger, who made a point to tell me he reads Box Office Mojo.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer
Photo Credit: Scott Holleran
Classy young Channing Tatum (She's the Man, Coach Carter) stopped by to talk about his dance lessons for Disney's August movie, Step Up, Alicia Witt (The Upside of Anger) pumped her upcoming indie thriller 88 Minutes, praising director Jon Avnet and co-star Al Pacino, and Major League baseball's man of integrity, Cal Ripken, Jr., told me he flew in from the east with his wife and kids to support his friends Jerry and Linda Bruckheimer. The former Oriole is another class act—whose favorite pirate is the rascal played by Johnny Depp, who signed fan autographs for hours.

Aaron Spelling, 1923-2006

Aaron Spelling
Pioneering television producer Aaron Spelling, 83, who died of a stroke last week, will be missed. Mr. Spelling brought grander notions to TV, from the lively Charlie's Angels, whose three gorgeous detectives portrayed women who were both bright and beautiful—and, contrary to stupid feminist attacks, efficacious. That first season was a real treat.

He also produced serious works, such as the groundbreaking The Best Little Girl in the World, the penetrating 1981 TV movie about a teen-ager's eating disorder starring Jennifer Jason Leigh in the lead and Charles Durning and Eva Marie Saint as her parents. But he's better known for such fluff as The Love Boat, putting Golden Age stars back to work in style, and Dynasty, ABC's sweeping Colorado soap opera loosely inspired by great Hollywood Westerns. An Aaron Spelling production usually looked brighter, happier—more glamorous—which is why they were often more popular.

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