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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 David Cornelius

"Big, breathless, and ballsy. Savvy?"
5 stars

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is too long, too confusing, too cluttered, too much. It’s also great cinema. There’s a reason the fans are abbreviating this film “AWE” - for the most part, you’re sitting there absolutely agog at the sheer excess of it all.

You already know the franchise backstory: Disney surprised everyone with “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” which remains one of the most downright fun films in recent memory. The success ensured two sequels, filmed back-to-back; “Dead Man’s Chest” earned shrugs from critics who found it too muddled and too bland, although the public ate it up, making it one of the highest grossing films of all time. (As for me, I named it one of last year’s best, a worthy successor and a damn fine entertainment all its own.)

“Dead Man’s Chest” also ended on one heck of a cliffhanger, which brings us to “At World’s End.” I’m reminded, perhaps not coincidentally, of “Return of the Jedi,” as, like that film, this third “Pirates” chapter drops us into a story already in progress, a rescue mission underway in a new villain’s lair. Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), and the mad crew of the Black Pearl have arrived in Singapore, something about tracking down the Pirate Lord Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), all part of their scheme to save Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones’ Locker. It’s not long before Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) makes his presence known, and before ya know it, we’re right back in the thick of things.

This third entry, once more directed by Gore Verbinski and written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, uses this opening scene to set the tone: go for broke, don’t look back, avast ye mateys. Here are 168 minutes of adventure that plow forward at a pace that makes “breakneck” seem like a term best used to describe golf tournaments. Even when we think we’re getting a piece of down time, we later realize even the slow moments are being used to drive things ahead; “At World’s End” is the movie equivalent of the proverbial unstoppable force.

This can be exhausting at times, of course, and while you’re in the thick of things, you might get that “Lord of the Rings” feeling of “just how much more could there possibly be?” But, like that fantasy franchise, with “Pirates” the “how much more?” question is never a complaint - especially in retrospect, when you finally see all the pieces put together.

Of course, it’s obvious one full viewing isn’t enough to see all those pieces - the plot is labyrinthine to an absurd degree, and I doubt much of it will make sense even after the tenth go ’round. And yet this is not a problem, for “At World’s End” is a movie that lives in the moment. When Jack Sparrow (of course he returns from beyond, although the hows and whys of such a return I dare not spoil) cuts a deal with the vile Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), we don’t need to understand the intricacies of the arrangement, only that an arrangement has been made, and that’s enough to bring us to the big showdown at Shipwreck Island where an army of pirates will face off against the British fleet.

“At World’s End” is a film epic in scope, so much that even its smallest scenes have a grandeur to them. Watch as we find Jack alone in his own personal afterlife, which gives us one of the film’s most memorable visuals: the Pearl stranded in the middle of a vast white desert, with Jack not-so-quietly going mad in the process. Later, we see an ocean of the dead, spirits set on their way to the other side, one dinghy at a time; this scene is used as an unexpected dramatic high point, and while other movies would find smaller ways of presenting the same information, only a “Pirates” film would bathe this scene in overwhelming visual wonder.

Naturally, then, if these quiet scenes are larger than life, the spectacular action set pieces must be doubly so. Admittedly, we spend too long waiting to find a scene as dazzling as the ball-cage escape or the water wheel swordfight of “Dead Man’s Chest,” with “At World’s End” saving its biggest moments for last. But the wait is well worth it. Here we have a finale that out-excesses anything else in the trilogy: Jack and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) clash blades atop the mast of the Flying Dutchman, in the middle of a raging storm, in the middle of a blazing naval battle, in the middle of a maelstrom. The ship has locked itself with the Pearl, and the two spiral ever so downward toward certain doom. “At World’s End” is a movie brassy enough to decide that all of this is not enough, so let’s throw a wedding in there, too.

It is, then, the most satisfying of conclusions, a bona fide popcorn-muncher of an epic adventure yarn. “At World’s End” may lose yet even more of the first film’s element of surprise - by episode three, we’re fully aware of what to expect from the franchise - but it makes up for the loss by piling on the gusto. And in a season where overindulgence has led to other films’ downfalls, the very same indulgences and overloads work in this film’s favor. This is a franchise built on the premise of Bigger, Better, Faster, More, and Verbinski knows how to take such unchecked overkill and use it for good. “At World’s End” may seem like too much of everything, but actually, it’s just enough in all the right ways.

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originally posted: 05/25/07 12:18:29
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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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