Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

This is the third installment of Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean series, and I feel the best. The first one was great, and the second one was slightly disappointing. At World's End, however, did not disappoint at all. It was by far the most "piraty" of the bunch (if that makes any sense). The first two played a little more heavily on the goofiness, but this one was straight up swash-buckling. An unfortunate side effect of this new darker vibe is that this is not a movie for small children.

This movie starts where the second one leaves off. Will Turned (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swan (Kiera Knightly), and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), must sail beyond the end of the world to rescue Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Davey Jones (Bill Nighy). There's very little exposition, and it wastes no time getting into the meat of the movie. This is good because as it is, the movie is almost three hours. At World's End is divided essentially into three acts. The first involves the rescue of Sparrow (and provides the movie's title. The second section is spent trying to rally the pirates together to fight the British Navy, and the entire third act encompasses the epic battle that ensues. Honestly, each section itself drags on slightly too long, but at least moves onto the next act shortly after this happens. Suffering one of the same downfalls at the second installment, this movie could have stood to be twenty to thirty minutes shorter.

Like I said above, this movie is not for little kids. It received a PG-13 rating, but I feel it could have received an R. The movie is very violent (dozens of people are hung in the opening scene, including one child). The violence doesn't let up for the entire movie. Some of the creatures on Davey Jone's ship might also be considered frightening. It seems that the target audience are teenagers or older, but at the showing I went to, there a significant number of younger children.

The movie is one long twist of double-crossings and secret agendas. Everybody is willing to sell everyone else to fulfill their personal agendas. This is one of the enjoyable parts, that there are no really good characters, and they all do bad things. Nobody can be trusted- true to the pirate persona. These characters are played fantastically by all the actors. The aforementioned stars that have been in the movies since the beginning are wonderful. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly genuinely seem to struggle to do the right thing, and Johnny Depp makes Jack Sparrow as insane as every (including fantastic scenes where he talks to his hallucinations. Chow Yun-Fat plays Captain Sao Feng, from Singapore, a ruthless pirate. Naomie Harris portrays the macabre Tia Dalma, and all of the pirate crews are almost comically overblown. In a great scene, the brethren of pirates convenes, and each pirate is more grizzled than the last, culminating in an appearance from Sparrow's father, played by Keith Richards.

Of course you can't talk about this movie without mentioning the special effects. In the credits, the digital effects credits outnumber the entire crew of many movies. ILM truly is the king of visual effects. The water, the creatures, the ships, the locations, etc, were all done beautifully. The animated crew of the Flying Dutchman alone would be enough to be impressive, let alone the epic battles and locations.

This week Shrek 3 took over the number three spot for highest grossing opening weekend of all time. Number two is the second Pirates movie, and the top one is Spider Man 3. I'm curious as to where At World's End will fall in this line-up. After seeing it last night, I would not be surprised if it were to take the number one spot.



ann said...

awesome review, I totally want to buy the trilogy

Stephanie said...

Thank you! This was a great review and I must say you have captured everything I wanted to say about it with great finesse. Word of a forth one to debut in 2009 leading the way for a possible 5th and 6th. I doubt that the forth will be as good, much for the same reason the second was not as good as the first but that is besides the point. Johnny Depp says he is not done with the character and is willing to do a 4th through 6th. The ending was nicely left open and I don't know if you watched after the credits were done, but they had a special little segment suggesting a forth movie.