Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

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Oh Pirates of the Caribbean, You Forgot What Made You Great - Jack Sparrow!

May 24, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good special effects, a few funny scenes, reasonably good acting

Cons:Lack of character development, lack of focus on core relationships, severe lack of Jack Sparrow!

The Bottom Line: I can't recommend this movie, it was such a disappointment. Save your money and wait for it to come out on DVD.


I do not get to the movie theater often. My husband hates sitting in a crowded theater and we are members of Netflix so we tend to watch movies at home instead. However, I did manage to beg and plead him into going to an opening night showing of the third (and some say final) installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. I should have saved my begging and pleading - it was wasted on a lackluster film that forgot what made it great.

As many know, Pirates of the Caribbean centers upon the adventures of Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swan, and Will Turner as they brave the wild seas and engage in one swash buckling adventure after another. At the conclusion of the second installment of this trilogy, Elizabeth, Will, and company had just set out to free Jack from the land of the living dead where he was being held captive by Davey Jones. This movie picks up with their search for Jack and culminates in a battle between pirates and soldiers in which the pirate way of life is at stake. I will not reveal major plot points (for this movie is all about plot), but rather will offer a few of my many many criticisms of this film.

However, before I get to criticisms I will mention a few things that this movie does get right. First, the special effects are brillant and at times stunning. Second, the acting is decent, particularly for an action movie. Johnny Depp continues to shine and charm as Jack Sparrow and Keira Knightly plays a convincing heroine. The supporting cast is wonderful and the movie has several very funny one liners and reaction shots. Third, the action sequences in this film are far superior to those in the second installment - they are much more realistic and ease up significantly on the cheese factor. Unfortunately, however, I found little else good in this movie.

I have many gripes with this film, the first and most severe gripe is the utter lack of Jack Sparrow in this movie. Johnny Depp and his portrayal of Jack Sparrow represent the heart and soul of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and this movie seems to have forgotten that. The showing of my movie began at 8:10. After the usual 15 to 20 minutes of previews the movie began -- but with no Johnny Depp. Yes, that's right Jack Sparrow, the character that has made this franchise such a success, did not appear on the screen until a little after 9:00 p.m. Thus, a full half an hour passed without Jack on my screen.

THEN when Jack finally does appear on the screen it is in the form of a tripped out sequence that made me feel as if Jack, and even more disturbingly myself, were tripped out on some kind of bad drug. Whereas Jack formed the backbone and heart of the previous two movies, in this movie he is relegated to the backburner and used largely for comedic relief. Jack Sparrow is a comedic character but he is so much more - he is the classic anti hero to Will's hero and in this third installment Jack is not allowed out to play for anything other than cheap jokes.

My second major gripe with this movie is the complete and utter lack of character development. The third installment of Pirates is all about plot and all about action - ALL the time. No time is left to develop the relationships between characters or the motivations behind their actions. Some of the most fascinating scenes in the Pirate trilogy occur between Jack and Elizabeth, Jack and Will, and Will and Elizabeth. However, in the third installment these three characters are given very little meaningful screen time together. In the rare instances when the three do appear on the screen at the same time it is often during elaborate fight sequences with very little dialogue - none of which held any weight.

Third, while Disney was not afraid to showcase gore and violence in this third movie, it certainly shied away from any romantic aspects of the story. One of the most intriguing and redeeming qualities of the second installment of this trilogy centered upon the growing chemistry between Jack and Elizabeth. During the second installment, Elizabeth at times appeared torn between her attraction for the bad boy Jack and her love and fidelity to her white knight Will. No such torment or indecision exists in this movie. Elizabeth and Jack aren't allowed near each other often enough for sparks to fly. To make matters worse, Elizabeth is allowed very few romantic scenes with Will either. All in all, the relationship aspect of this movie (romantic and friendship wise) fell very flat. Disney should have gone with a little less violence and a little more sex.

Fourth, this movie spent way too much time focusing on a subplot involving Calypso and Davey Jones. Significant air time was devoted to these two characters who fans are not invested in and they were given the most intensely personal scene in the movie. To make matters worse, no significant conclusion is ever reached in this subplot. The movie spends a great time detailing the tormented love story between Calypso and Davey but never provides a pay off or resolution to their story in the end.

Finally, in no way shape or form is this move the final installment of this franchise AND if by some chance it does happen to signal the end of the franchise then it is a horrible way to end what was once a very promising trilogy! The movie had no ending, only a set up for a fourth installment. All of the characters are left hanging in mid story and no meaningful resolutions are given to any of the stories. This viewer walked away from the film with a feeling of great disappointment and absolutely no closure.

Perhaps my most stinging criticism of this movie is that I found it boring. I found myself looking at my clock several times throughout the film waiting for it to get good -- that time never came. I watched the movie with my husband and chelledun and her husband and all of us walked away from the film feeling unsatisfied with the ending and bored with the plot. I hate that I am giving this movie two stars because I was looking forward to it so much. I really wanted to like this movie, it had so much potential. Plot is good in an action movie but a movie can not survive with characters and this movie lacks any semblance of heart.

Oh Pirates - how you disappoint!


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