Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

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The POTC Franchise Ends with a Fizzle, Not a Sizzle.

May 24, 2007 (Updated May 24, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some funny moments, good acting, great battle scenes and special effects.

Cons:Generally dismal plot and editing, too many recycled gags.

The Bottom Line: It's probably about what I expected, which is not necessarily a compliment.


Even after having a “meh” reaction to the lackluster second film in the wildly popular Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, I found myself counting down the days until the release of the third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. I love major movie events, even when I have my doubts about how good the film will be. Mr_chelledun and I were lucky enough to get tickets for ourselves and some friends for tonight’s 8:10 p.m. show and see a “preview” of the movie, which officially releases tomorrow. As it turns out, it’s a good thing I didn’t have my hopes set too high, as the third film in this series does not improve much on the second.

*Warning – This review will contain no spoilers with regard to At World’s End, but may reveal some plot information about the first two films. If you wish to stay completely in the dark about all three films I suggest seeing the first two before reading any reviews of three. Obviously, the trilogy should ideally be viewed in order.

Plot Information
At World’s End picks up where POTC: Dead Man’s Chest leaves off. As you’ll recall, the second film ends with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) being digested by the evil kraken. In At World’s End, Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Kiera Knightly) team up with former enemy Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to head to World’s End and try to save him and defeat Davy Jones and his crew. A wide variety of familiar characters return and several new ones are introduced, most notably the batch assorted Pirate Lords drawn from across the globe to aid the heroes in their quest. Naturally, double-crossing, sword-fighting, and romance ensue.

My Thoughts
I think this third film in the Pirates franchise is probably a better film than the second one. At World’s End does feature likeable characters and great action without falling into the slapstick physical comedy trap of Dead Man’s Chest. Battle scenes are generally tight and engaging, and the film has great special effects throughout. The movie is pretty funny at times and I did laugh out loud at least once or twice. Acting is generally good, and I was particularly glad to see Orlando Bloom given a more proactive role this time around. Rush, a talented actor, also gets tons of screen time. Actually, I think Rush is probably the trilogy's finest actor, so I was pleased with this deveolopment. Among the new cast members, Chow Yun-Fat stands out in his excellent portrayal of the menacing Captain Sao Feng. Generally, I feel all the POTC actors did the best they could with what they had to work with.

Despite these merits, at some point about a third of the way in to At World’s End I realized I wasn’t really enjoying the film very much. At that point I didn’t really understand why. After leaving the movie and pondering its flaws with my co-viewers, I realized many of At World’s End’s issues come from a poorly conceived and oddly paced plot. Some major plot points are resolved far too quickly, while others never really get resolved and still others are rushed to a resolution in the film’s final seconds. I felt cheated by an ending which clearly constitutes little more than a set-up for a potential (unneeded, in my opinion) fourth film. Further, At World’s End gets bogged down by literally dozens of superfluous plot-twists and double crosses by various characters. Basically, this movie is just too much. It introduces too many new characters, brings back too many old ones, runs too many storylines simultaneously, and just generally tries to be too complicated for a two and a half hour action/adventure movie. This movie has many touchy feely moments regarding characters we know and care little about, and surprisingly few regarding characters we have grown attached to. The excessive number of side stories generally robs the audience of closure regarding the trilogy’s main characters.

At World’s End demonstrates some surprising stylistic differences from the earlier films the series, particularly given the fact that it was filmed at the same time as Dead Man’s Chest. Some of the film’s scenes border on psychedelic. I absolutely hate the decision to create several scenes featuring multiple Jacks interacting with each other. While obviously the movie’s plot strains credibility to begin with, these scenes take the whole thing to another level of unbelievability and really took me out of the story. Some visual effects involving a mystical sea goddess are just plain silly and the film would have probably been stronger without that whole subplot. Although At World’s End has a very different look than its predecessors, it has a similar style in other areas and, in my opinion, borrows too much dialogue and too many jokes from the previous films. Lines and gags which formerly got big laughs barely got a chuckle. Examples of overplayed jokes include Jack’s obsession with rum, the general weirdness of pirates Pintel and Ragetti, and Jack getting slapped by scorned lovers.

Overall…
For me, some witty moments, interesting characters, and decent acting were not enough to save At World’s End from its convoluted mess of a plot. Others might feel differently. If you’ve seen the first two films in this franchise, At World’s End is not so bad that you should refrain from finishing out the trilogy. However, I didn’t see much here that would cause me to root for a fourth installment of the adventures of Jack, Will, and Elizabeth.

*Feel free to check out my review of POTC: Dead Man's Chest


Recommend this product? No


Worst Part of this Film: Plot

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