PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END
***1/2 (out of 5)
May 25, 2007
Johnny Depp as JACK SPARROW
Geoffrey Rush as CAPTAIN BARBOSSA
Orlando Bloom as WILL TURNER
Keira Knightley as ELIZABETH SWANN
Jack Davenport as NORRINGTON
Bill Nighy as DAVY JONES
Jonathan Pryce as GOVERNOR WEATHERBY SWANN
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
The new “Pirates of the Caribbean” film is different because the news surrounding its release has made as much buzz as the movie itself. Several months ago, the lack of trailers made many cinemaphiles scratch their heads. Now, the entertainment news is giving equal coverage to the fact that Disney has given a gag order on spoilers and plot twists. (The studio even went as far as to boot an Arizona journalist from a screening because he had a Nintendo DS game system with him.)
At the press screening I attended, many of the critics questioned how you could review a film without revealing at least some of its plot. However, after watching the film, I’m okay with it. This is because “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” has such a complicated (and often confusing) plot that it’s easier to just sum up the trailer rather than delve into the heavy-duty story details.
So here goes… After being sucked down into the depths by the Kraken in “Dead Man’s Chest,” Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is trapped in the mystical World’s End, which lies in the land between the living and the dead. The head of the East India Trading Company has gotten his hands on the heart of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), giving him power over all of the seas.
Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) have joined forces with a recently resurrected Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and the crew of the Black Pearl to bring Jack back from World’s End. He’s their only hope to rally the pirate leaders and defeat Jones and the oppressive East India Trading Company.
See Disney, I didn’t give anything away.
Oddly enough, when sequels are filmed simultaneously or back-to-back, they often tend to have vastly different flavors. Take, for example, the two “Matrix” sequels. Both had the same look and production design, but they were entirely different movies, literally inhabiting two different worlds.
I was actually surprised at how different “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” was from its predecessor. “Dead Man’s Chest” had scope and scale like this one, only it was much more light-hearted. “At World’s End” is decidedly darker, making it the gloomiest of the three movies. However, this is not unwarranted.
The biggest hurdle the movie has is to wrap up the stories of all the characters. What’s nice is everyone – namely Keira Knightly’s character of Elizabeth Swann – is actually tied into the plot. She was so arbitrary in “Dead Man’s Chest,” it’s nice to see them actually give her something pertinent to do.
Of course, it’s the actors that carry this movie, even more so than the last two which were also supported with awesome special effects. Sure, the effects are incredible in this movie, many of which you’ve already gotten a taste of in the trailer. However, seeing Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp share the screen again as rival pirate captains is a real treat. It’s enough to make you say “Arrrrgh!”
With a running time pushing three hours, “At World’s End” could have used a brutal editor at times. Some scenes, while funny or interesting, could have been trimmed or eliminated altogether. And the climactic action sequence (which you see a bit from the trailer as two pirates ships fire at each other while circling a whirlpool) runs so long I had flashbacks to the pod race in “The Phantom Menace.”
Still, even with these wrinkles in the production, I’ve found the film growing on myself – much like the barnacles on Bootstrap Bill Turner’s face. I was somewhat lukewarm to the film after the screening, but after watching the trailer again, I am anxious to see it again – and this is not a common thing for me and movies that run close to three hours.