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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.8%
Average: 16.54%
Pretty Bad: 18.05%
Total Crap: 13.53%

7 reviews, 91 user ratings

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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
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by Erik Childress

"A Dying Breed Destined For Immortality"
4 stars

When Disney teamed up with Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, Terry Elliott, and Ted Rossio, the mocking was already in place in using a theme park for feature-length inspiration. Rides are supposed to made from movies. Not the other way around. And yet they produced one of the greatest surprises of this decade; rip-roaring and full of imagination topped off by Johnny Depp’s Oscar-leveling portrayal of its scoundrel hero. Lost without a nest, the mockingbirds took to the length of its follow-ups to cast their scorn. As if wanting to punish Pirates for not living down to its summertime escapist mentality, the increasing vision of the filmmakers to actually up the stakes instead of dumbing down and cashing in the way this summer has already seen with trois chapters of Spider-Man and Shrek has somehow been at odds with people unable to shake those multi-million dollar prejudices. Forget all that though cause At World’s End admirably brings closure to the kind of old-school adventures boys used to dream up while still providing hope that we will one day see them again.

Providing further proof of the enduring legacy of a certain Jedi’s Return, Pirates 3 picks up (as did The Matrix Revolutions) with our heroes seeking out a way to save a friend they lost at the end of the last chapter. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) had been left to Davy Jones’ Locker and with the help of resurrected former mutineer, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and burdened fiance, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) are seeking an accord with Singapore pirate lord, Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) for transport to the land of the dead. It’s in his best interest to help as the pirates of the time are coming to extinction thanks to the East India Trading Company led by the ruthlessly ambitious Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), who thanks to his acquisition of Davy Jones’ (Bill Nighy) heart is now getting the tortured captain to do his bidding. After rescuing Jack from a fate of Gilliam-esque proportions, the pirates are under the gun to gather their forces to either fight or perish forever.

For those who found Dead Man’s Chest’s plotting a maddening marathon of new discoveries and character fluctuations, the same may hold true during their experience of At World’s End. Keeping up with the details of the pirate’s gathering and the significance of a sea God named Calypso requires a kind of patience normally cast aside during blockbusters eager to get to the next set piece. There are so many double reversals of motivation for many of the characters that the film has fun at one point cross-cutting between two separate negotiations that we know are doomed beyond the hand shakes they end on. It’s part of what makes Jack Sparrow such an interesting character. The first film revealed him to be the kind of noble scoundrel who did look out for number one, but number two always ran a close second. Dead Man’s Chest took him into darker territory that kept audiences guessing as to the truest of his many intentions. Has Captain Jack finally shed that lovable streak? Being murdered by one of your apparent allies tends to create a greatest disance between the numbers. The way Sparrow's conflicted nature is visually manifested here is actually such a brilliant stroke that its initial oddness may mask your appreciation of it until well after you've left the theater and thought about its place in the trilogy entire.

It takes more than just some goofy mannerisms to make a character immortal though and Elliott & Rossio aren’t afraid to give Sparrow and his Pirate world some depth along with the fantastical sights and sounds. Death is a lurking shadow cast over every character in the film and their choice to embrace it or fear it will define their place in the bedtime stories handed down if they’re fortunate enough to be remembered. Will & Elizabeth were once just the unrequited lovers of fantasy. Now they realize that love doesn’t come so easily and must come to terms with their own insecurities and fears of being worthy of their own skin let alone another’s. It’s appropriate then that this becomes the most violent of the Pirates films even if it may have the least amount of action per minute.

So yes, Pirates runs a full 170 minutes (160 if you chop out the end credits, but keep the coda you’ll miss if you leave too early) and doesn’t have the kind of Indiana Jones-style set pieces which populated Dead Man’s Chest to great effect. An escape from Singapore gets things going from the beginning and the nearly half-hour final battle in a maelstrom is a truly exceptional bit of action filmmaking. Aside from that, At World’s End is more a character affair in-between the new expositional unearthings to the journey. That’s not to say we’re skimped on the spectacle though since there are visions that are as rich as comic book paintings. Shipwreck Cove is such a distinctive monstrosity we wish the writers had found a place to get a swordfight in there somewhere. And the limbo where Sparrow remains in waiting has the hallucinatory quality of a Bunuelian nightmare.

While there is plenty to wrap your skulls around to either praise or scorn At World’s End, I was struck by how much it had in common with another film about a changing civilization, that being Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. Both take place during a time where an imminent changing of the guard have forced the land’s inhabitants to defend their way of life according to the nature of their code, whether it be genetic or written. Hollander’s representation of democracy gone sour (driven to extremes in the opening scene) and capitalism run amok will give analysts another opportunity to connect the dots closer to more modern examples of fascist extremism, also personified in the corruption of Davy Jones’ duty to the dead. Beckett’s grand realization of his legacy adds more to just the cliched line that caps it off and his proud walk through the carnage crashing down all around him is a fitting statement on the price of morally bankrupt ambition.

This all may sound loftier than those just wanting closure have bargained for, but that’s one of the beauties of this trilogy in how it may overreach for some just looking for cannonballs and swashbuckling, but at least its reaching. With all the smack the latter Star Wars trilogy received for cornball dialogue, Elliott & Rossio’s text has the kind of thesaurus makeover that makes Pirates just as pleasurable on the ears as the oculars. Even the feverishly-reported cameo of one Keith Richards isn’t enough to turn up the hokey factor as he fits in just perfectly and at just the right moment. At World’s End surely will be welcomed as a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, especially in the wake of disappointments like Spider-Man and The Matrix. Never once did I feel the all-too familiar restless squirm in my seat as the film moves with a pace between action, arbitration and revelation. And where one trilogy ends the sea is left open for a fourth adventure. While it would be cynical to see that as Bruckheimer’s way to milk another $400 million from us, I view it as the promise for a hopeful tomorrow and that spectacles like the Pirates of the Caribbean are more than just a dying cinematic breed destined to be just another theme park attraction.

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originally posted: 05/24/07 14:00:00
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User Comments

3/04/19 Craptain Jacques Sbarro Mess of a movie. Here's an idea: cut out the filler from 2 and 3 and edit them into 1 movie 2 stars
9/17/12 roscoe overlong, no interest, no new elements, stale, hard to watch. 3 stars
3/04/10 dude too long boring confusing and talky 5 stars
6/09/09 freak boring as hell 1 stars
1/21/09 Anonymous. a little messy but sweet and sad ending. 4 stars
12/20/08 Scott kiera knightly is sooo hot in this film 5 stars
12/01/08 Roz Not as good as the 1st. Plot was an absolute mess and hard to follow. 2 stars
11/30/08 noops.... better than the 2 nd one but the first part was too good 4 stars
11/12/08 Michael M Elizabeth was the main character instead of Sparrow, and that's where this movie failed. 2 stars
10/10/08 man hated it 1 stars
9/17/08 Oiman Amazing music, action, and overall story. Callpso scene was unimaginative though. 4 stars
5/01/08 Charles Tatum Bloated but your mom 4 stars
3/10/08 RK notwithstanding the confusing twists and turns, it was fun to watch --- twice in a roll. 4 stars
2/16/08 daveyt confusing twaddle 1 stars
1/26/08 man boring overlong and reeeaaallly confusing 1 stars
1/16/08 Dani I love these movies. Great acting, amazing plot, hilarious dialogue, and hot actors. 5 stars
1/05/08 Pamela White vague plot but cute the movies are getting worse 3 stars
1/05/08 Ellen Tedious and unoriginal, very disappointing. 2 stars
12/30/07 Austin Wertman talky, too long, and confusing 3 stars
12/16/07 Jason Great action movie, cool characters and epic finale. 5 stars
12/08/07 zenny whatta mess 1 stars
11/28/07 Matt About 15 mins of good stuff and a ton of utter rubbish. Enough now-PLEASE! 2 stars
11/27/07 dude not nearly as good as the first two 1 stars
11/14/07 dude bland adn dissapointing 1 stars
10/10/07 Mango Waay too long and absolute waste of time. Hugely disappointed. 1 stars
10/03/07 wall dont bother 1 stars
10/01/07 Andrew Kercher Best SFX of 3, but 1st was the best overall. This one better than Pirates 2. 4 stars
9/14/07 dude waste of time 1 stars
8/31/07 fallon best movie i every seen and its not a waste of time 5 stars
7/27/07 pheonix not as wonderful as the lord of the rings, But , it is the best since then.. great movie! 5 stars
7/20/07 samantha this movie was the best of the three!! it was awesome!!! 5 stars
7/09/07 tom No story, way too convienent saves, more contrived than WWF. Depp's first sell out. 2 stars
7/04/07 kirsti this movie tied w/ pirates 1 as my favorite movie ever!!! lovelovelove this!!! 5 stars
7/04/07 PamE Loved it, though not as much as the 1st and 2nd 4 stars
7/02/07 RazorFang Peter Sobzcynski, you fucking idiot,this is a damn good movie! 5 stars
6/22/07 Dave bad 1 stars
6/19/07 lkeyser was awesome,looking forward to 4th one! 5 stars
6/17/07 Joe Smaltz fell asleep, but the damn cannons kept waking me up! 1 stars
6/17/07 Ron Newbold Excellent effects, Great cast, decent movie - the first is still the best IMO 4 stars
6/15/07 Qume Ah hah ha hah ha ha hahaha ha haha! 1 stars
6/14/07 romeo awsome movie ...people saying it bad hav no rights to watch eng movies.. 5 stars
6/11/07 Emily Brilliant. Sexy. Fantastic and stunning. Constantly keeps you in total AWE and is a blast!! 5 stars
6/11/07 Brian Mckay Stunning visuals, but a bloated incomprehensible mess. Verbinski, learn to fucking EDIT! 2 stars
6/10/07 Alice Beautiful settings but 3 movies is enough 4 stars
6/10/07 Jenna Walker I thought this movie was epic! Amazing! 5 stars
6/06/07 carl blast, xcellent, be rested non stop fun, super acting, lovely everything, wonderful, yeswow 5 stars
6/06/07 cher5253 Great movie can't follow plot try easier movies where everything is predictable 5 stars
6/03/07 COTBP was excellent, DMC was better,AWE tops them both put together Reesefire Black 5 stars
6/03/07 Zaw I didn't care what happens to any of the charaters. Marriage thing during battle was stupid 2 stars
6/03/07 lab chimp good but not great. worth the money for the special effects, acting v good, gusto-less plot 4 stars
6/03/07 Luji funny, emotional, hot hot actors...nice tie up of the multiple plots...loved it! 5 stars
6/03/07 Heidi Hernandez Excellant fantasy action packed adventure love story with just the right amount of humor 5 stars
6/01/07 Ole Man Bourbon Too short. I felt cheated. 3 stars
6/01/07 Katie Amazing trilogy i've ever seen!! JOhnny Depp is brilliant as Jack Sparrow!! 5 stars
5/31/07 lauren i LOVED this movie how could u not it was action packed and has 2 of the hottest guys in it 5 stars
5/31/07 damalc not nearly enough sword fighting for a pirate film. better than 2, not as good as 1. 3 stars
5/30/07 Scott Vine Waste of 3 hrs. Big let down. Nothing new 1 stars
5/30/07 DS Better than the second, as good as the first! Please let there be another one! 5 stars
5/30/07 JP Great! Dont bitch about how confusing it was. Annoying children w/ your insignificant minds 5 stars
5/30/07 Dk better than the convuluted 2nd but still can't match number 1's charm 4 stars
5/29/07 Kurt I didn't care what heppened to any of them. what a mess! 1 stars
5/29/07 Jack Sparrow If you love adventure and swashbuckling battles watch this....If you don't, Bugger off 5 stars
5/29/07 ad the sequels made the first movie mortal, What a waste for such great actors! Wait for DVD. 2 stars
5/28/07 Ryan AAAWesome 5 stars
5/28/07 Jim Overlong and noisy, and Calypso isn't a goddess, she's a nymph 2 stars
5/28/07 Chris Thought the movie was the best so far and can't wait for the next one to come out. 5 stars
5/28/07 Pipina Truly great. But you have to love Pirates... 5 stars
5/28/07 Kate Was Will and Elizabeths son the boy from the beginning? 5 stars
5/28/07 Sasa If you love BAD movies you will love this. 1 stars
5/28/07 Dark Enchantress it was good expect it was confusing and had to much of kiera knightly...i hate her 4 stars
5/27/07 MP Bartley Fun, but WAY to much. Did they forget Depp is the star? 3 stars
5/27/07 kathryn was a little confusing and was more of an action packed film with tons of special effects. 5 stars
5/27/07 gr117 A total blast! 5 stars
5/27/07 devil/angel This film rocks i dont get wat u guys are on about this rocks! 5 stars
5/27/07 KingNeutron Best movie of the year so far. KRichards was very natural in the role. 5 stars
5/27/07 Emma Spectacular movie. Absolutely fantastic, loved it... Pure fun. 5 stars
5/26/07 Blondie This should have come with directions to understand it 3 stars
5/26/07 Mike Very confusing but something to do for 3 hours. Spiderman3 is way better tho. 3 stars
5/26/07 Cory The script's a mess in some parts and yet, the film works...much better than Spider-Man 3. 4 stars
5/26/07 Desperado I really am having trouble understanding why people didnt like it, i thought it was awesome 5 stars
5/26/07 PoisonElf No sense, no inspiration (same charaers/story as 2), unreasonably long, boring. 1 stars
5/26/07 Quigley One of the biggest disappointments ever. Great visuals, but the movie makes no sense at all 2 stars
5/25/07 Chris Pirates of the Carribean ROCKS!!!!!!! FOLKS 5 stars
5/25/07 Ara I can't understand how people dont understand this movie. Anyway gr8 movie! 5 stars
5/25/07 Sir spam-a-lot Okay, I shot myself. What now? 3 stars
5/25/07 Burnsy Yarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, me's a pirate. 5 stars
5/25/07 Snail This movie was EPIC. A lot more fun than Spider-Man 3 too. 5 stars
5/25/07 John I had no idea what the hell was going on 3 stars
5/25/07 Blizz Please, these movies are for morons. If you go see this, shoot yourself. 1 stars
5/24/07 Scott haller jack sparrow is hot 5 stars
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  24-May-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-Dec-2007



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