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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 brianorndorf

"I guess there is such a thing as 'too much Johnny Depp'"
2 stars

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t loathe 2006’s “Dead Man Chest.” It was a serviceable enough sequel mighty with visual energy, but sluggish in storytelling urgency. Trouble is, the preceding film, 2003’s “Curse of the Black Pearl,” felt like a breezy journey on a lonesome country road – that was a beauty of it. The sequel resembled an L.A. freeway system at rush hour with all the subplots crashing into each other, waiting for the third film to clear up the congestion. “At World’s End” is finally here and, well...if you enjoyed the unreasonably knotted adventures of Jack Sparrow before, the new film won’t disappoint.

Heading off to Singapore to capture the attention of pirate lord Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), a posse of pirates, led by Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Will (Orlando Bloom), and Barbossa (a lovingly over-the-top Geoffrey Rush), hope to book passage to Davy Jones’ Locker to retrieve Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp, doing what he’s here to do) from insanity. With the East India Trading Company hot on their tail, along with Jones (a sublime Bill Nighy) and his crustacean cronies, the team takes to the far edges of the globe to assemble a plan to fight back. Over the course of their adventure, rivalries blossom, allegiances are broken, romance is questioned, ships are blasted into pieces, and death is waiting beyond the horizon.

I don’t know if it was ego, ambition, or stupidity, but the “Caribbean” team made a conscious decision when they embarked on “Chest” and “End” to turn their scallywag creation into a 10-cent riff on “Lord of the Rings.” “Black Pearl” featured its fair share of swift turns and traps, but it’s a drug store comic book compared to the biblical depth of the two sequels. It’s a burden that has tainted the experience for me, turning a creation once so graceful and appealing into a dreary stint of summer school.

“End” is massive. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski want the audience to feel as though a trilogy is coming to an end, so they’ve loaded up the widescreen cannons and settled in for cinematic war. The price for this mammoth special effects festival? Two hours of boredom. “End” goes out on a note of fierce action and operatic death so spectacular you’ll hardly believe your eyes, but before the picture can get there, there’s a whole mess of a story that needs an absurd amount of clarification.

The mess, of course, was kicked off in “Chest.” The first sequel took great pride in shaking up the narrative snow globe, trusting audiences would respond to a gentle dialing down of swashbuckle and a hasty elevation of complication. “Chest” wasn’t impossible to follow, but it felt like it, putting the viewer through such a punishing display of tail-chasing and myth-making that it should’ve come with a road map and scratch paper.

“End” picks up the story exactly where it left off, furthering the pursuit of the East India Trading Company to eradicate all pirates, Will and Elizabeth’s communication failure, Jack’s death and rebirth, and the return of Barbossa. Believe me, that’s more than enough to justify the nearly three-hour running time allotted to this alleged final act. But the production isn’t happy trying to nail down a small set of plot threads to satisfaction; they want heaping spoonfuls of uncertainty and swells of chest-huffing tragedy to add more perplexity.

As if there wasn’t enough going on already in the film, “End” pushes the story into far more problematic plot threads: romantic entanglements concerning Davy Jones and the voodoo princess Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), the troublesome madness of Jack (resulting in some awful, meandering scenes with multiple and sometimes miniature Jacks), Elizabeth’s newfound pirate power, and dumbfounding portraits of fantasy make-em-ups that lock a firm sleeper hold on the imagination. Cleave some of this out, and “End” would’ve been easier to digest. Spread it over 170 minutes, and it becomes numbing and infuriating. Perhaps on Jack’s next adventure he could sail to the end of the world to locate a more judicious editor.

“End” also makes an unfortunate error in tonal judgment by sailing into darker waters. While I thought the flights of fancy in “Chest” whiffed mightily, I found myself wishing I was right back in that film with its runaway water wheels and cartoon cannibals. “End” takes on an air of self-importance and squeezes the humor right out of the whole creation, building a heavier mood to better approach the smothering magnitude Verbinski is aiming for. Without fun, the whole “Pirates” idea seems downright meaningless as summer entertainment and the straight-face does nothing to make this story engage the senses. Couple that with such a ridiculous length and the film feels more like a social obligation than a rollicking good time.

However lacking the drama is, the technical side of the film cannot be topped. Setting new standards in special effects filmmaking, “End” is a visual three-scoop ice cream cone, boundless in its determination to put the O in “WOW.” Since the series has firmly rejected the pop sensibility of “Black Pearl” for epic roar, “End” delivers the towering goods in the sea world production design, the exhaustive and nonstop CGI, and intricate character make-up. To Verbinski’s credit, no matter how monotone the story gets, there’s always something to please the eye.

As mentioned before, “End” concludes on a gargantuan note, pitting the pirates against enemies, themselves, and a roundhouse punch of stormy seas, violent creatures, and 50-foot-tall ladies. Disney is extremely paranoid about us heathen press giving away the surprises contained within “End,” and I will abide by their rules, but I will mention that the end juggernaut of payoffs has the effect of both suffocation and relief, which is a strange sensation to end a trilogy on. And when I write “end a trilogy,” to this film it means, “still leave plenty of doors wide open for future sequels.” All this huffing and wheezing to tie a bow on this godforsaken story and we’re still not finished? Not when people still eagerly line up for these overstuffed sequels.

“Black Pearl” surprised me with its vast expression of high-seas fun, and I was genuinely amazed that a Disney theme park ride could translate to a movie. “Chest” took that promise and buried it under layers of unreasonable complications to heavily mythologize an emaciated concept; a production so frightened by the prospect of filming two sequels, they overcompensated to a point of asphyxiation. “At World’s End” shows a similar lack of restraint and any drip of delight that this franchise once held in its yo-ho heart has dried up. Go and be wowed by the special effects and the pleasantly hammy acting – they are truly wonderful. Just don’t be surprised if the whole enterprise brings on a serious case of the yawns.

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originally posted: 05/25/07 16:04:06
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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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