Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
By Maura Reilly May 24, 2007, 1:42 GMT
Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow along with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley). Pirates of the Caribbean: World\'s End, the spot on the map that remains undiscovered, the area where charted waters disappear and sailors are forced to deal with the,well, the world\'s end. According to maritine legend, the world\'s end is where you\'ll find all sorts of giant monsters and devious dangers. ...more
Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Actually I wouldn’t drink up, at least not before you hit the theater for last in the trilogy directed by Gore Verbinski. The film clocks in at 2 hours and 48 minutes. Heck Gilligan’s voyage wasn’t much longer than that. This movie promises to be the juggernaut of the summer after last year’s recording breaking Dead Man’s Chest. And with all the usual suspects in place Disney can’t fail with audiences.
The story begins with the recently resurrected Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) seeking an audience with the pirate lord of Singapore Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat). Barbossa is gathering the Nine Lords of the Brethren Court to address the impending doom that is Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) and the East India Company, who now have Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and his ship the Flying Dutchman at their beck and call.
In addition to calling in Sao Feng’s loyalty to the brethren, they need his charts in order to retrieve the final pirate lord, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp for those of you who have been living under the sea) from his unearthly prison within Davy Jones’s locker. That means sailing to the end of the world and back again.
But even if they are successful the odds are stacked against them. Uneasy alliances are forged, betrayals ensue, and tough choices are made for Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) in particular. Does he save his cursed father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) pressed into an eternity of servitude on the Dutchman or does he at last win his bonny lass? It all comes down to a final battle on the high seas with freedom at stake.
To begin, At World’s End is better than Dead Man’s Chest. I think that’s pretty much the unanimous opinion. Whether or not that makes it a superior film overall remains in the eyes of the viewer. The first act starts off rather morbid but picks up as our crew hits the town in Singapore. From the moment he appears on screen Chow Yun-Fat is every inch the international film star you’d expect. Between him and Geoffrey Rush you have two first-class scene stealers.
The first act dives cleverly into Jack’s madness, a theme carried throughout the film. Jack is also back to being the scheming manipulator he was in the first film and less the flouncing clown from the second.
The second act is heavy with plot, intrigue and thick accents. Honestly you have to see it twice to catch everything. There are long passages of dialogue punctuated by comic instances from Jack and some of the crew. Casual movie goers will more than likely lose their way here. A new plot twist involves the goddess Calypso, trapped in human form by the Brethren. Her story picks up steam as the movie goes along but then literally evaporates into the ether at the end.
Probably the weakest storyline is the romance between Will and Elizabeth. In this film, as in the second we have to take it on faith that these two have had this ongoing romantic relationship since they spend little or no time together on screen. Each character has their own agenda and it’s unclear if they’re even thinking about the other. I’m not sure if that’s due to the writing or a lack of experience in the actor’s performances. It’s interesting to note that Elizabeth is kissed by 4 of the lead men in the cast. She gets around, that one.
But you know that fans of the series are going to forgive all that once the last act begins with all its earth-shattering CGI effects. It’s a Battle Royale in the eye of a maelstrom that must be seen to be believed. When the wreckage from the fight is cleared away however, the body count is high and sadly some of your (and my) favorites will not be returning for possible sequels. The ending is hopelessly romantic in the classical sense and for me completely unexpected. I hate spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.
I can’t do a review about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and not talk about the cameo appearance of Johnny Depp’s inspiration for Captain Jack: Keith Richards. Richards plays Teague, Sparrow’s father and keeper of the Code. Thankfully they didn’t give him too many lines and the ones he had were a little difficult to make out. He looks every inch the old weathered sea-dog and interacts with Sparrow very well.
Already this film is meeting criticism from the press that the fans are choosing to ignore. At the end of the day (or the weekend) it’s their opinions and bodies in the theaters that will resound across the waters. So give the people what they want: “comedy, love and a bit with a dog” (and an undead monkey).
Oh here’s a tip for you: as per usual, be sure to stay through the credits for one last scene.
Opens Worldwide May 24th Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images.