“At World’s End” is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images.
The action sequences and CGI work is where AWE really shines. Pity that there aren’t more action sequences, especially given the near perfect set-up for one of the most intense sea battles ever filmed but more on that later.
Davy Jones is again a feat of modern effects and Bill Nighy deserves kudos for bringing ol’ squid face to life. Chow Yun-Fat also deserves praise as the moisture-hungry pirate Sao Feng. The return of the excellent Geoffrey Rush as ruthless Captain Barbossa also gives the movie added weight missing from most of the last film.
The filmmakers get credit for tieing up about every loose end from DMC even if a few moves are clumsy and questionable. I did like the way the big questions are reconciled at the end of the movie, which comes very close to ending where “Curse of the Black Pearl” began.
What Didn’t Work:
The fact dovetails nicely into my second issue Jack’s Locker experience. Again, staying away from too much detail, this sequence is a strange Terry Gilliam wannabe oddity that drags on WAY too long, and brings into play a rather unfortunate schizophrenic element to Sparrow that hangs around for most of the rest of the movie.
Next, the Pirate court and all of these new pirate characters a half-dozen or so Pirate Lords and their crews as it were come together and elect to fight for their very survival against an armada of 30-plus ships under the control of Beckett and the East India Trading Company. They man their ships, raise their colors, unsheathe their swords and then proceed to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Nope, nothing to see here unless your interested in a battle between the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl. Oh wait, you saw that in the last movie? Uh okay, we’ll throw in a whirlpool! Very weak and not the big payoff a lot of fans were probably hoping to see.
Fourth, we have the Calypso storyline. I get where this is coming from, but it is executed so poorly and again the payoff is SO BAD. You know about Calypso and the man she loved, just under different names and if you were able to spot the matching, silver crab-shaped music boxes in the last film, you know what I mean. Barbossa wants Calypso to help save the pirates. It is really unclear what Calypso wants, but we know she’s not happy. The ceremony to unbind Calypso from her human form might be the most unintentionally comical moment in movies in recent history. It is laugh-out-loud goofy.
Fifth is the fate of our friends. I won’t comment specifically, but there are a few characters from the previous two films that deserve better ends than those there to greet them in AWE.
The slow pace of the first act, the confusion-ladened second act and under-achieving third act doom AWE to the deserving moniker of “Worst Film in the Series,” but that still means it’s better than a lot of what Hollywood has offered up lately. And, yes, you’ll need to postpone that visit to the restroom until after the credits role to catch a glimpse of the future.