Movie Reviews

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 6 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa
Orlando Bloom as Will Turner
Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann
Tom Hollander as Lord Cutler Beckett
Bill Nighy as Davy Jones
Chow Yun-Fat as Captain Sao Feng
Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma
Jack Davenport as Captain Norrington
Keith Richards as Captain Teague
Jonathan Pryce as Governor Weatherby Swann
Lee Arenberg as Pintel
Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti
Kevin McNally as Gibbs
David Bailie as Cotton
Stellan Skarsgård as 'Bootstrap' Bill Turner
Martin Klebba as Marty

Summary:
It's fun to revisit Captain Jack Sparrow and crew, but "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" suffers from a long running time, some weirdness, and a convoluted storyline.

Story:
Picking up shortly after "Pirates 2," Elizabeth Swan, Barbossa, Will Turner, and Tia Dalma continue their quest to bring Captain Jack Sparrow back from Davy Jones' Locker. And each of them has their own personal reason for wanting Jack back. To do so, they need the help of Captain Sao Feng in Singapore. But can any pirate truly be trusted?

Meanwhile, Lord Cutler Beckett continues his quest to wipe out all the pirates from the Seven Seas. He uses his new slave, Davy Jones himself, to accomplish this task. The nine leading pirate captains from around the world are forced to join together to battle them. However, they, too, need Captain Jack Sparrow in order to unleash the one thing that can potentially save them all.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images.

What Worked:
All the things that were great about the first two "Pirates" films are still here. Johnny Depp still steals every scene as Captain Jack Sparrow. The creature special effects are still absolutely stunning and Davy Jones remains one of the most impressive CGI characters on the big screen. The sets and costumes look fantastic, especially with the Chinese styles. And there's still a fun mix of humor, horror, and adventure. Fans of the "Pirates" series are definitely going to want to check it out.

As for something new, the cameo by Keith Richards is fun. His appearance is completely gratuitous and totally irrelevant to the plot, but it is quite amusing to see him teamed with Depp ever so briefly.

I also strongly recommend that you stay through the end of the credits. There's a final scene of major significance to some of the characters in the film. I won't spoil it here, but you'll be glad you stuck around.

What Didn't Work:
I can't get into the problems with "Pirates 3" without discussing spoilers. However, I'll do my best to skirt around them. In short, "Pirates 3" starts out weirdly, transitions to confusing, then concludes with an unsatisfying and overblown ending.

I'm not ruining anything by saying that we see Captain Jack Sparrow early in the film in Davy Jones' Locker (or hell, of sorts). Up until he came on the screen, the movie was only ho-hum (or should I say yo-ho-hum?). I was expecting Jack to really spice things up. However, when he appears on the screen in this limbo world, it is incredibly surreal. I'm talking perfume commercial weird. Things get progressively weirder until our heroes return to the real world (and that's not spoiling anything, either). That's about an hour into the film.

"Pirates 3" then moves into its confusing mode. There are double crosses, triple crosses, quadruple crosses, and more. Literally every character betrays every other character at one point or another (except for the monkey). It gets a tad absurd. I'm all for complex plots, but this is almost as confusing as teenage girls repeatedly deciding they're friends one minute and enemies the next. There's little rhyme or reason to it.

The film concludes with a big finish that's as illogical and overblown as any film ending this summer. Our characters defy the laws of gravity as they swing between ships, walk in slow motion among exploding woodwork, and continue to flip sides. There's even an attack by a 50 ft character. No kidding. "Pirates 3" concludes with a major, major change taking place with one of the characters, but it ends up being a bittersweet ending.

After viewing the movie, I couldn't help but think that it would have been better if they had more time to work on the script. As it is, the film feels like they thought up scenes that would look pretty cool (like Chinese ships among icebergs or pirate ships blasting each other in a whirlpool), then tailored the script around it. The end result is a story that was way too long and way too convoluted. I hope they have more time to work on a script for a solo Captain Jack Sparrow movie in the future.

On a final note, there seems to be a lot of sexual innuendo here for a Disney movie. Elizabeth Swan is stripped by Chinese pirates, peeped up her skirt by Ragetti, and made love to by Will Turner. Considering how much Disney is marketing this film to young kids, it's not as squeaky clean as the Disney label would lead you to expect.

The Bottom Line:
Of the three "Pirates of the Caribbean movies, "The Curse of the Black Pearl" was the best, "Dead Man's Chest" is second, and "At Word's End" is a distant third. Still, it's well worth checking out.

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