POTC: At World's End - Worthy or Witless?
June 11, 2007 10:58 pm
As I purchased my ticket to view Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, I entered the theatre with a giddy childlike enthusiasm. At the movie's end, I left with an apathetic sadness. Let me preface this review with a confession—from childhood, I have been addicted to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: from my first ride on the Walt Disney World attraction, to eagerly viewing the previous Pirates' movies. I am also a huge fan of the three main stars: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. Over the years I have diligently followed their careers; viewing every movie that each starred in—without disappointment—until now...?
The Pirates © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Will (Orlando Bloom), Jack (Johnny Depp), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Capt. Sao Feng (Yun-Fat Chow)
The Dire and Indifferent
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Disney's newest sequel of their Pirates' franchise, can be summed up as a comical action adventure filled with: revenge, death, resurrection and redemption (in that order). Nearly every character from the previous two movies (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) makes an appearance, along with an equal number of new characters. By the end of the movie, the cast dwindled by at least seventy-five percent; due to death or dismemberment. Be forewarned, At World's End is not a movie for young children.
Old Adversaries © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), with Jack the Monkey, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy)
Throughout the movie, I squirmed uncomfortably due to the glut of nonchalant violence, mingled with an excessively high body count. Although not bloody, At World's End was, never-the-less, deadly and at times disturbing. From the opening scene, which lingered far too long on the mass hangings of seemingly innocent men, women, and children. While the previous two movies in the series teetered on the edge of the violence gangplank, At World's End gleefully steps into a sea of sadistic folly.
The over-bloated cast, along with the abundance of plots, subplots, and plot twists, turns Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End from a lighthearted fun-packed family adventure, into a confusing, foray into lunacy. The movie is filled with "What the ....?" moments. Granted, most (not all) of the "plot hole" questions are answered several scenes after a "What the ....?" moment. Yet, throughout the movie, the audience is forced to "think back" to previous scenes to figure out what happened.
The Brethren Court © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
If the "What the ....?" moments were dispersed sporadically throughout the movie, it would be only moderately annoying. However, the "let's fill in the plot holes with action stopping narratives," every other scene, took the fun out of the fantasy. Playing plot catch-up, and constantly ripped away from the current storyline, with the realization of, "ahh, ok, I get it now," was exasperating. I can only suspect that this was done deliberately, in an attempt to promote repeat viewing, thus more box-office draw, (ironically, I agree with the multi-viewing).
Approximately twenty minutes, into the nearly three hour long movie, the plot comes to a screeching halt for several long, yawn induced moments, as the storyline discovers Johnny Depp's character, Captain Jack Sparrow. (No spoiler alert is needed, for there would be no Pirates of the Caribbean movie without Johnny Depp).
Jack was last seen swallowed alive by a Kraken (a giant cuttlefish-like sea monster). He is now condemned to Davy Jones Locker; doomed to wander around for all eternity in a hallucinogenic stupor. If, like me, you are a Johnny Depp loyalist—willing to watch any movie he appears in, even if he spends a good amount of the movie alone on a desert island talking to himself—word of caution, be careful what you wish for.
The Auspicious and Brilliant
Initially, leaving the theatre, I was sorely disappointed, after all, I had gone to the movie for an escape. I fully expected to sit back, munch popcorn, and enjoy a couple hours of watching strong woman and hunky men in mindless swashbuckling fun.
Captain Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
Instead, I found myself forced to think, to reason, to recall, to calculate. I enjoy sleuthing while watching a murder mystery movie. However, I was unprepared to replace a rollick into the world of fantasy with an evening of logic and analytical reasoning. At times keeping up with the storyline gave me an ice cream headache.
Yet, interlaced within the dialog diarrhea, swashbuckling, and land/sea battles, there were flashes of precious jewel moments. As with the previous Pirates' movies, the computer generated imagery was, once again, mind-blowing—thanks to the amazing team at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), headed by: Animation Supervisor Hal Hickel, Visual Effects Designer Geoff Campbell, Visual Effects Supervisors John Knoll and Charles Gibson.
Royal Battle © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
The ILM team's prime directive is to breathe realism into unrealistic characters and situations; gently rattling the viewers conception of reality, until logical thinking is surrendered completely; dissolving reason into an illogical suspension of disbelief. The ILM team's magic can be best experienced in the Pirate crews' fleeting, calm, picturesque star-filled sea journey to find Captain Jack; and the never-ending violent, powerful whirlpool maelstrom battle scene.
ILM Magic © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
On reflection, to truly savor Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the movie deserves several consecutive viewings, preferably within a short period of time of each other. The first viewing should be devoted to understanding the numerous plots and subplots. Watch it with a clear mind, and take mental (or better yet physical) notes.
The next viewing is needed to pick up on the little nuances missed in the first viewing. Such as, the continuing themes that thread the trilogy into a single tapestry. Pay special attention to the sword that Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) crafts in the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The sword subtly binds the plot from one movie to the next, and significantly drives the At World's End's storyline.
Father and Son © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom)
There is also the underlying theme of parental devotion. A strong father-child relationship intertwines the main characters: The love and devotion Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) has for her father, Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce); The affection and dedication that Will Turner has for his father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard); and the respect mixed with loathing that Jack Sparrow shows for his estranged father, Captain Teague (Keith Richards). Yes, the infamous band member of the Rolling Stones does indeed make a quick, but memorable, cameo appearance.
The Kiss © 2007 Walt Disney Pictures
Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley)
Although heavy on action, At World's End remains a character driven movie. The triangle between Jack, Will, and Elizabeth remains steady. Added to the mix is a multifaceted assortment of characters, each with their own storyline: Pirate Lords and their crews, a voodoo priestess, British soldiers (of varying degrees of good and evil), and Davy Jones and his fishy gang.
Subsequent viewings of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, should be spent in the pure enjoyment of the grandeur of the adventure.
Approach the viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with caution. As with all movies in the series, this sequel is a feast for the eyes. The costume design is award winning, the CGI/FX are incredible, the acting professional, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom are delicious.
Within a testosterone overloaded environment; Naomie Harris (as the voodoo priestess, Tia Dalma) and Keira Knightley are physically and emotionally powerful female characters. Both easily hold their own against the cast of iron-willed males.
Jam-packed with verbal humor, sight gags, sword fighting, ship to ship sea battles, murderous treachery, and an underpinning of amour—even with its faults, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End will have something of interest for most everyone. Is it the best movie of the trilogy? No! Is it worth the price of an E-ticket? Most definitely—if only to see Johnny Depp, alone on a desert island, talking to himself.
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Contributing Columnist Dee-Marie
Its not witless, lol, I dont know what everyone expected from the third one but for me its worth the money spent, funny, action, wit and all round madness, what more could anyone ask for a movie, its fun, fun, fun. And yes stay till the end of the credits of miss out, lol Angela
When POTC:At world's end came out, alot of the critic tore it to shreds, But I went and seen it anyway and I'm glad That I did and I had ALOT of fun; They(The critics) have to take these movies into consideration Because I being a movie goer want to be entertained, Not horrified sick to my stomach, Not pissed-off or guilt-ridden, Entertained,Which is exactly what this movie did; I was hoping to see Keira Knightley wear her "dead man's chest" pirate outfit again(god!,She looked cute in that outfit);....Oh yeah, NOW you guys tell me to stay 'til the end credits, I seen this movie last week and you pick now to tell me; Thank you, Thank you very much.
Hello, Dee Marie, it's always good to read what you write as your opinions have deep roots and bear breathtaking flowers. But, to come to the point, and I can't make my comment as long as your text, which is, in fact, pure luck for me: Lots of people I know prefer the first movie, probably because it's a family movie. Even those skeletons are only scary for the inner child in us. Some, like me, liked the second one more. Probably because it's more complex and less straight-lined from beginning to end. Most important is that it's visually as stunning as the first and is far from being a "we're in for the money" sequel. The money's there, but you get lots of goods for what you invest. The third one? Here, the movie is cut up in two halves. Time for ice-cream etc. I heard people complain that they would have to endure another hour and a half. Which I found shocking. As, for me, a movie is a visual experience. But I agree that it's not really a movie for children. Just like Harry Potter moves into darker and darker regions of the mind where nothing is what it seems and people get frightened because they lose their certainties, at the world's end is dark and gloomy, with a bad guy like the one we saw in Rob Roy (remember?). But it's really good against very bad. And good is not what's officially accepted as good. Offically, "good" is making prfit, and controlling the whole world to be able to do that. Officially, pirates are bad because they do the same, but on non-afficial grounds. Here, you get the idea of pirates being good. But just like V was a product of the society he hated, we can go back to the beginning of the first movie, when we see the burning remains of a ship, and only one boy as survivor. It's complex, complicated, hallucination, nightmarish, hallucinogenic and psychodelric. And I loved it because of that rainbow of characters and emotions. And the end after the end.
Gosh, I wouldn't have said it was confusing, not at all. In fact my friend and I both remarked afterwards that we felt it had been deliberately "dumbed-down" for the benefit of a younger audience. We were shocked to see parents bringing children as young as three to the film. I certainly wouldn't have thought it suitable for a child under 11.
I really enjoyed the movie. We went back to see it again actually. A lot of stuff I missed the first time and filled in some of the parts I had to miss due to potty breaks from the kiddos. Well worth the money! I didn't think it was really all that sad, more like a bitter sweet ending to be honest. (If you say for the ending clip after the credits you'll know what I mean) Some of the character development could have been greatly improved. That is my major gripe about the entire movie. However, the action, the acting and graphics pretty much made up for any other flaws IMHO. If you missed the after ending credits clip you can do a search and find it somewhere =/ or PM me I will be more then happy to tell ya what happened hehe Cheers~!
I'm a big moviegoer and enjoy all types of films. When I go to see something like Pirates .... it's basically for the amazing special effects, which this delivered in spades. As for storyline, I never expected anything other than silliness and a few chuckles. You really gave an in-depth review - I'm amazed at what you got and didn't get from this movie. :o) CC
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, in my opinion it was just continuous fun. Violence was there as a continuous part of the film, but I see more graphic stuff on the news every day and often in kids cartoons too. Complex plot - my seven year old understood it without issues and she thoroughly enjoyed the film, as did my 5 year old. Yes I saw the film with my wife before deciding whether to take such young children, and the cinema was full of similar families to mine, in the afternoon show they also had a 'comfort break' for the kids half way through. I also understand my kids, as we have actor friends (TV), they very much understand the concept that the story isn't real life, it's make believe and special effects. (in fact my daughter had a read of the 3d world article on pirates 2 before going to remind herself of how things are done :) ) IMHO it's visually spectacular and good old fashioned swash buckling fun.
Since when was it a bad thing for the audience to have to think a little during a movie? I think you'll find if you don't stress about it that you can sit back and watch this one without thinking too hard at all, and have everything fall into place during the end of the film. You're /supposed/ to be kept guessing - that's been the spirit of PotC since the beginning. "Whose side is Jack on?" "At the moment?" Over here, it's rated 12A, so it's very consciously /not for tiny children. All the same, so far it's only adults I've heard complaining about the violence, or the 'complicated' plot. Every kid I've heard from has loved every minute of it, and I'm sure that's what matters. I think kids are far more comfortable with not knowing exactly what's going on at every moment of a movie than adults are. You need to relax a bit and be comfortable with being kept guessing. I think it helps the sense of immersion. The characters don't know all of each others' motives, after all. And no mention of the musical score?? The music /made/ this movie for me - it gave it such a touch of the epic, and some of the scenes were so moving because of it. The best score in the triology, if you ask me. Over all, this movie thoroughly entertained me. It was at times exciting, at times surprising, at times moving... Great humour, great atmosphere - all the things we should have come to expect from the trilogy. I think it's best not to over-analyse. It's a fun movie, and that's all it ever claimed to be.
Somebody please tell me... what happened after the end credits??? As for the movie being unsuitable for kids, I saw a mother and a toddler sitting at the back of the theater, the girl was about 6 years of age I'd guess. When they left the cinema, she seemed very happy and chatty, not at all disturbed. Maybe she was well primed by mum? "This is just a story, not real, all pretend, nobody really gets killed", etc? I was fascinated by sci-fi, fantasy, monster movies, etc, at that age too, and it didn't have an adverse effect on me! (Probably...)
I took my kids to see the first, and loved it! Depp's Jack Sparrow appeared to be an over the top impression of Keith Richards of the stones, and I thought that was hilarious. I saw the second somewhere over the Atlantic on a plane and thought it was drivel, so when my youngest daughter took me to see the third installment I wasn't looking forward to it, and was right! It's a better Movie than the second one, but at least 40 minutes too long, the best Gag? Got to be Jacks Dad being Keith Richards, lovely twist that brightened up more Drivel. POC RIP I hope.
POC3 is really multiple movies shoehorned into the same interminable 3-and-something hours. First off is the grim, dark one about occasionally-noble pirates and always-ruthless corporate power. We are treated to an almost tutorial-like video of hanging helpless men, women and children en masse. As the plot proceeds, scheming tycoon and hesitant admiral use and lose people like pawns - you know the drill. The second movie is a dark fantasy movie about fish-men, neverwhere lands and mythical goddesses. Essentially a commercial for ILM - personally, I can watch ILM stuff any time, for any length of time, and I don't mind paying for it, but I relly prefer to d/l it from the web and study it on my PC (or study it on a DVD with sound off and the forward/rewind button right under my thumb). Not movie-going stuff. The third movie is the odd cross between Erroll Flynn (Bloom) and Bugs Bunny (Depp) that made POC1 such roistering good fun - except in POC3, it gets very little screen time. In short, those three movies expect you to hop-scotch between being revolted-and-brokenhearted, intrigued-and-fascinated and plain laughing your a** off. And that's my problem : I'm not prepared, able or willing to watch children being hanged, and laugh my ass off a half-dozen scenes further on as if nothing untoward has happened/been told. I'd have liked to watch all three movies individually, but shoehorning them into the same story is, IMHO, either lousy sense of storytelling, or just plain bad taste. If you are a CG afficionado, the visuals are required viewing. If you have any sense of that quaint, quirky old thing called common decency, the story may entertain you, but leave a very unpleasant aftertaste, possibly even before the end credits roll.
I find the film quite good - more serious than the first two, yes, but not in any bit worse... I have heard several critics says they talked too much; clearly I missed that part! (c; Two was more of a laughing riot for me than the first, so they all have their strong points, as well as weaker ones. To sum up, I loved it, possibly with the exception of the ending... But then, the end of the ending, which begins with the part of the ending that I find less than savoury, makes up for the beginning of the ending by providing a nice ending, which is the start of a new beginning, to which there can be many an interesting endings. Savvy? (c;
Considering how many Trilogy movies are coming out this year. For me, so far. This is the BEST. Spiderman 3 let me down, Sherk the 3 let me down, but Pirates of the Carribean didn't. I think it rounded out greatly, and it was really well written even if some of the jokes were stale from the first movie. You discovered why people are the way they are from the third movie, and it seriously cut the crap. Good People Die, that a fact... In the first two no good people died, but reality sinks in when you see the characters you like really suffer. And I cann't believe people are complaining about the length of the movie, I would rather pay $15 for a movie ticket and come out three hours later happy, then spend the same ammount on a movie that only last for a hour and twenty mintues and come out feeling cheated (Shrek the third I want my money back!!). I think every should remember that there is a very fine line between comedy and tragedy, seriousness and sillyness. Pirates of the Carribean was NEVER meant to be 'Master and Commander'... And a tip, stay till the very end of the movie.
I just wrote a Giant opinion statement of my own, I think it was easily half of the initial revue. Instead I am going to just simply say, watch the movie and decide for yourself wether or not it is a good movie. I have gone to movies and not gone in the past based on other peoples view points and regretted it in both cases. It's like an old friend of mine once said, "Use your head for something other than a battering ram, you might find it addicting." And for the record I loved the movie.
just a few words .....I loved the first installment --- kind of liked the second movie ,with some reservations ----but walked out of the theatre half way through this third POTC .... to me - it was just an obvious mess ....almost all the aspects that made the first movie a hit were shorn off -- what surprises me greatly is how many people like it --- I REALLY wanted to like this film -- haven't walked out on a film sice Warren Beatty's 'Reds'......has the common denominator of 'taste' and perception fallen sharply through the years ...or is it me?
I for one find the Entire 'Pirates of the Caribbean' to be THE BEST of any pirate fantasy adventure ever made. As far as filming and detail to not only characters but to environment and blending the CGI with such skill as not to turn it 'cartoony' I hold it right up with 'Lord of the Rings'. I think the biggest disappointment people on the 'other side' of the dubloon suffer is that they go in with far too many pre-conceptions of what 'they want' to see. They spend far too much time acquainting the characters to their pre-conceptions of the real actors and other roles they have seen them play in, they have lost the ability to see a movie for what it is, to hear a new story told by the story teller without the resisting trying to tell the story teller how to tell 'their' story. And then of course there are those with the over zealous ego that want to think they could always do better so they have to point out to everyone every little part they feel was wrong....in 'their' opinion. After watching POT 'At Worlds End' I went home and watched #1 & #2 again, then I proceeded to watch: Blackbeard: Terror at Sea (National Geo, another of my favorites) Blackbeard (fantasy version) Cutthroat Island Swashbuckler The Black Swan Nate and Hayes Yellowbeard Treasure Island (2 versions including Disney's) Return to Treasure Islnad (also 2 versions) Treasure Planet Pirates of Tortuga Pirates 'Blood Brothers' Pirate of the High Seas (I was board) Captain Pirate Captain Blood Princess and the Pirate I even have more in my collection but NONE of these leave me with the feeling of having actually 'lived' the movie the way All THREE of the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' do, not a single one even come close (but I do so love Yellowbeard!) Unlike many of those mentioned, POTC did NOT attempt nor even set out to make a movie about 'real' pirates, its "Fantasy", its magic and mayhem, oh, and as for "glut of nonchalant violence, mingled with an excessively high body count" - hey mate; uh, like 'Pirates'.... :? Like Harry Potter, the plots thicken, the story matures, if ye be lookin for a kiddie ride then watch "Scoody Doo - Shiver Me Timbers" (I have it too, cool cartoon!!). I too have been a fan of Disney Land's "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride and "Haunted Mansion" since I was but knee high to croc...and I do feel the "Haunted Mansion" movie fell far short from what I wanted, but I will never bad mouth it, I'm just glad Disney made it and despite my personal disappointments I will still give it a thumbs up, but from the point of view as a Disney fan, personally I don't think it was 'dark' enough. Oh, and if you live anywhere near Disney Land, then you may want to make a new trip, for the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Ride, has had an entire new face lift!!! AHRrrrrr! I for one will be watching all three of the POTC for years to come, as I LOTR. In my 45+ years of movie going these 6 movies I hold in HIGH honor, even more so then Star Wars or Jaws or any other box office smasher. And I hope on Davey Jone's Locker that they make a fourth!!! Now mate, you seem somewhat familiar...have I threatened you before?
Well, I don't do these things (comments on ciritc's comments) because I usually see little point, but when my dander is up, I must,.... I, for one, am anything but a Johnny Depp fan (that whole "America is a big, stupid dog" thing kinda pisses off an ex-marine,... but its not his politics as much as his general wierdness that turns me off). On the other hand, there is one character he has played that I like, Captain Jack Sparrow,... pure genius, even if he is just playing himself, a wacked out wino. Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom,... now there's the real story, and the characters and actors I'd come back time and time again to watch,.... a kid's flick? Are you nuts? A chick flick? Not really,... big guns, big battles, big monsters, big scenes and big budget special effects,... what part of escapism isn't getting through to you. If you go for the escapism, don't expect plot,... if you go for drama, go see "Kramer vs Kramer" for the thousandth time,... spoiler, even after a thousand times, real life still sucks. At World's End?? Well, I'm waiting for the fourth movie to see how they work this one out,...
I have to say that I didn't like Dead Man's Chest when I saw that in the theater. It wasn't until I watched it a second time that I got more into it. I have the feeling this one will be the same and it won't be till the second viewing that I really enjoy it. Either way, though I really love the characters and I'll most likely still consider the first part of the trilogy the best :) Thanks for another outstanding movie review!
I was looking forward to this movie dispite the bad things I heard about. I should have listened this was one of the worst movies I have ever seen, the plot (if you could find one in that tangled mess)was terrible and at times left massive gaps. Terrible movie almost as bad as the other orlando movie kingdom of heaven but dont get me started on that. If you have to see it wait for the DVD
Wow, a movie that actually requires you to pay attention to it! What a concept! Sarcasm aside, I find it interesting that most of the negative comments (here and elsewhere) center on the movie being too confusing and too many subplots. I just want to say that if people stop talking (or whatever it is they do that distracts them) and pay attention to what's on the screen, they would have a much better movie going experience. As is, this movie only have a handful of subplots. Yes, there are a lot of characters (new and old), but they are mostly extras and secondary characters that do not contribute a subplot of their own. I would submit that the subplots ultimately make the whole movie more enjoyable. I think a second/third viewing "Dead Man's Chest" would help untangle some of the subplots if one finds the movie confusing. One may want to see Wong Kar-Wai's "Ashes of Time" to see the ultimate multiple subplots in action. Oh yeah, this movie also requires that you pay attention. Won't spoil it for those who haven't seen this film yet. Feel free to PM me with your opinions of "Ashes of Time".
I enjoyed the movie. The only thing I felt was that the character of Elizabeth was really just a filler and if she had not been in the movie, she wouldn't have been missed. I heard that Johnny Depp sighed up to do more Jack Sparrow movies, but the other characters won't be in the movies.