Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Review
By Shawn McKenzie 07/06/2007
The movie starts almost immediately after the events of Dead Man’s Chest. Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the East India Trading Company wants to wipe out all of pirates in the world. Meanwhile, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), voodoo priestess Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley)…daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce)…and the other former pirates of The Black Pearl…including first mate Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin R. McNally) and the goofy duo of Pintel (Lee Arenberg) and Ragetti (Mackenzie Cook)…go to Singapore. They want to meet Chinese pirate Captain Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), pirate lord of the South China Sea and captain of The Empress, to convince him to get the nine pirate lords of the Brethren Court to stop Beckett. They are hoping to get the navigational maps to The World’s End…the gateway to the purgatory known as Davy Jones’ Locker…in order to rescue the recently dead pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who died in the last movie aboard the Pearl. Feng isn’t crazy about Sparrow though, and he has a score to settle with him. It doesn’t help matters when former blacksmith turned pirate Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) tries stealing the maps himself to get access to the Pearl. He wants to use it in order use it to save his barnacle-covered, half-dead dad, Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård)…a crewman on the unbeatable pirate ship, The Flying Dutchman, once commanded by Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) but now run by Commodore James Norrington (Jack Davenport.) Beckett’s soldiers attack them during the meeting, but during the scuffle, Will strikes up a deal with Feng for the maps, a ship, and a crew to recover the Pearl and give the ship to Feng in exchange. They end up bringing Sparrow back from the dead (no shocker there), and they spend the rest of the movie fighting Beckett and his powerful fleet. Oh…and there is a little bit of a soap opera that brews between Will and Elizabeth, because Will thinks that she loves Sparrow and not him (apparently, they didn’t communicate at all in the time in between Chest and World’s End.)
2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a fun, original surprise (the surprise being that they could actually base a movie off a theme park ride.) Last year’s sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, wasn’t as good as the original, but it was still fun. At World’s End isn’t even as good as Chest, but…despite its flaws…it’s worth checking out on the big screen.
The reason why it wasn’t as good as the first two movies is because it felt unoriginal. Sure…that seemed almost inevitable, but I was hoping that they would throw in more surprises here and there. You knew that Depp was going to be the highlight. You knew that Sparrow was going to be the lead in any scene that differed from the first two movies (i.e. a trippy scene in Davy Jones’ Locker where multiple versions of Sparrow imagined the rocks were crabs.) The rest of the movie was just your usual brand of swashbuckling. It’s not like we have never seen pirate movies before…from 1935’s classic Captain Blood to 1995’s studio closing flop Cutthroat Island…but the first Pirates movie took it to a level that made pirates cool again. Whether it was helmer Gore Verbinski’s directing or Depp’s acting (okay…let’s admit it…it was Depp’s acting) that made us love it…we apparently wanted more. The way they set it up meant for a good trilogy, but I wish that this one specifically were as good as the first movie.
I’d like to point out why I specifically liked the second movie over this one. After already seeing the ride we were in for with the first movie, the second movie upped the ante by setting up scenes that were outrageous, unbelievable…and immensely enjoyable. I am specifically referring to the runaway waterwheel scene. There were no “wow” scenes in this third installment. We got your usual good special effects and action, but I wanted at least one (action) scene that stood out (the trippy scene stood out in general, but it was played for laughs instead of action.) By the way…the heavily hyped cameo of legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as Captain Teague…Sparrow’s father…was disappointing. I barely noticed his mostly mute appearance! This was the inspiration for Captain Jack Sparrow?
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was a good time at the movies…but it just wasn’t as good as the first two flicks. At almost three hours, it is a little butt numbing (though that is three hours in which you are able to get out of the scorching sun, if you live in a hot area like mine and you tend to go to matinees more often than nighttime showings like I do.) I don’t want to give away the ending, but if you stay past the end credits, you will see a scene that may satisfy everyone who might have been frustrated with loose story threads (which means that they could stop it at a trilogy, or go on to sail more of the seven seas. Depp has expressed an interest in making more of the movies.)
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