Since I’m writing this at 12:37 am it is now officially Friday, the day that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is released to theaters. I had the privilege of seeing the third installment of the Pirate’s franchise on Thursday, the 24th. I was able to go see the last Pirates film, Dead Man’s Chest at midnight and it was amazing to be surrounded by so many fans. This showing, although not at midnight, showed more of the same. Many people were decked in Jack Sparrow attire and a lot of appreciation for the films came out. I don’t doubt that Pirates of the Caribbean 3 will be a success, I fear that it will follow the trend of Spiderman: 3, once a majority of people see it and realize it has many things going against it, it will simply be listed as the worst of the franchise.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End follows our heroic daring do’s Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightely). After the demise of Jack in the previous film it is up to our other two heroes, along with the return of Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to save him from Davy Jones’ locker. After Sparrow is rescued the group must summon all the pirate lords together to solve their little problem with the East India Trading Company. Thus all must band together, to make their final stand and save the pirate way of life.
I had incredibly high hopes for this film, I mean I wasn’t expecting it to top the greatness of the first, but I was hoping it would be far more engaging than the second. The film does have several things working for it. The special effects were nothing short of breathtaking. Swords and ships galore are in this film and the fights are amazing. The fight between Davy Jones and Sparrow in the ships masts as a giant storm rages was spectacular, it was also amazing to see two ships fight in the middle of a maelstrom. Rush and Depp are amazing as well, the banter between the two of them was hilarious, Depp also has some more one-liners to add to your Jack Sparrow dictionary. The rest of the cast played well off each other too.
Overall, I had a hard time thinking of things I actually enjoyed, there were a lot of things that made me think this was the weakest film in the franchise. A lot of it has to do with story, there’s too many betrayals. Some people double, triple and even quadruple cross, you never know who’s loyalty is to who and it’s incredibly hard to follow. A lot of the buildup led to stuff that never paid off in the end. The dealings with Calypso are muddled, you never understand her story completely, and at the end she just disappears. The same can be said for Keith Richard’s cameo, he’s there for a couple minutes and never seen until the end. This is also a film you have to pay incredible attention to, the actors talk so fast and tell the story so vaguely, if you’re not listening for a second you could miss the entire subplot. Side characters are also cast aside rather quickly; Governor Swann and James Norrington are introduced in the beginning and cast aside for the duration of the film. The film is also very adult in tone; the ending sequence actually implies a sex scene between Elizabeth and Will that lasts a little too long and made some parents a bit fidgety. The movie is also incredibly long, coming in at two hours and forty-five minutes. And it can definitely feel like that sometime.
What saves the film altogether is the acting. Johnny Depp returns to fine form as our anti-hero Sparrow. While he does have a lot of trippy scenes that made you wonder if you should be on acid, he does it all with the lovable Sparrow charm. Geoffrey Rush is also spectacular as Barbossa; you really begin to realize how much you missed him in the second film. Sadly two weak links come from Knightely and Bloom. Knightely has way more of a role this time around and she seems to have a lot of moments where she’s overacting, Bloom can come off incredibly wooden, while he is good eye-candy.
I really wanted to love Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, hell I saw the original film sixteen times. But an overly complex story mixed with too many unanswered questions leaves you confused and angry. I do say experience Pirates of the Caribbean to end the franchise, just don’t expect something amazing.