It's been a few years since I saw the original, but it's testament to how well TM2YC has edited this film that I didn't notice anything missing. In fact, I was nearly at the end when I suddenly remembered "oh yeah, the love triangle is gone." If that's not a statement on a) how well the Editor has structured this and b) how unnecessary that was in the original script, then nothing is.
The edit works excellently, with a stirring Indiana Jones-esque feel (especially with the title card overlaying a man painting a map), and the ending is much stronger. By removing certain elements (esp. the aforementioned love triangle; and Jack's "Black Spot" subplot at the start) the story gets going much more quickly, and the characters develop much more strongly here.
That being said... the film still isn't a patch on the original, even with TM2YC's excellent work. Unfortunately, this is due to the weaknesses of the script itself. The decision to make two sequels back-to-back means that this film essentially ends halfway through it's second act. There is no meaningful resolution for anyone, and if anything this kind of film might very nicely be turned into a four-part Mini-Series (something to consider...) I think the structure of the plot would suit that much more nicely. But this is a creative thought, nothing to do with TM2YC's edit, which improves on a flawed film as much as possible. As said, any flaws are with the source material, not the Editor's work.
I am excited to watch the third episode, which dragged horrifically in the theatrical version.
This would easily be a replacement on the original.
Let me come right out and say it: POTC 2 and 3 were huge disappointments to me. The first POTC was a great adventure and a fun ride. The following 2 films were stuffed full of pointless and unnecessary action, convoluted, confusing character motivations, and over-the-top visuals and plot lines. What started the series as a "realistic" setting - putting aside cursed gold - quickly turned into a mythological, epic behemoth... of a let down... Why do film-makers think sequels need to be bigger to be better?
On to this edit: let's start with the good stuff. Not just good - but great! The audio/video quality was simply outstanding. I forgot how beautiful some of the cinematography was in this film... probably because it wasn't so beautiful until TM2YC color-corrected it! The picture quality was immaculate.
I watched this edit with a friend - we both agreed that in terms of editing/cuts, neither one of us could tell this wasn't a theatrical release. No noticeable edit or transition. (from a quality perspective) Quite impressive!
Now on to the narrative... I was hoping that TM2YC could make me enjoy this film... but I was disappointed. I probably went in expecting too much, which left my ending opinion sullied.
Is this an improved version? Absolutely, no question - but I feel like not enough was cut, as the running time could still allow for a LOT more... Especially in the action sequences that plague this film...
Would I recommend this edit as an alternative? Absolutely. This has replaced my copy on the shelf - but I don't foresee wanting to watch either version again...
Would it bring someone around that didn't like Dead Man's Chest? Possible... but don't get your hopes up.
I only watched the avi. with a laptop so I can't say much on its video quality, but what I saw was great. I give it a 9! The post-credit sequence was very low quality however.
The visual editing was great. If I showed this to someone without telling them it was a fanedit, they probably wouldn't have realized it.
The audio editing was also very good, but there were a few times I noticed a cue or music off. I'm not sure which parts of that were in the theatrical release though. I should have kept track of the times I noticed. But I was too busy enjoying the movie so take it as a compliment.
Where this edit really shines is the narrative. You did more than polish a turd. You found a decent movie within the theatrical mess. Focusing the beginning on Will was great. We don't get overwhelmed (too quickly at least). It's not important knowing how Jack gets the key drawing or what's gotten him on the island. It's better just accepting that Jack's been having adventures, just like we accept Norrington was in a hurricane. That said, the beginning is a little strange at first, but the audience's (my) questions were answered pretty quickly. Removing the reference to Norrington was confusing, since my wife and I confused him for Beckett, but that just shows how long it's been since we've watched CotBP. We were just used to being coddled by the theatrical.
Other trims that are perfect: removal of the blackspot since we get the idea that Jack has a debt, Jack-Elizabeth romance.
By the end I could definitely see effects of these changes though. Will definitely still comes off as upset with Elizabeth, and Elizabeth as heartbroken over Jack. It seems odd because the fanedit emphasizes how lousy of a person Jack is. I really disliked Jack by the end of this and was confused by how everyone mourned him. That said, it's superior the the original. In the theatrical cut I remember disliking everyone by the end. But by highlighting how lousy Jack is, you've also undermined the ending, not much that can be done about that though.
In addition the ending action sequence still tired me. That sequence is just too long, and despite all the action, it's not very exciting. I found my attention slipping.
Finally, the ending cut "The heart of Davy Jones" seemed too abrupt. Even a few fractions of a second more of Norrington after the line would've helped, but maybe it was impossible to get in.
This is my preferred version of the film, and if anyone I know really wants to watch PotC, I'll be sure to recommend it.