Sunday, May 27, 2007

MOVIE REVIEW: Pirates of the Caribean: At World's End

I caught the late show of Pirates cause I didn't want to have to deal with the crazy crowds. It is Memorial Weekend after all. I knew it was gonna be long but, damn, it was an epic. It was like two movies in one. My wife, her sister and myself caught the 11:30 PM show and we didn't get out till at least 2:30. I think this sucker clocked in at 2 hrs and 48 minutes. Far longer than Spider-Man 3. The trend for the 2007 summer blockbuster is to be long with epic proportions and to toss a lot of plot onto the viewer. So how does this Pirate adventure match up with the previous two? In my mind somewhere in the middle. I certainly enjoyed it much more than DMC, but it still doesn't quite reach the clever fun of the first one. Johnny Depp practically steals almost every scene he is in with his even more crazed performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. The film is far darker than the previous two films as we begin the movie with a scene reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition. They also build further on the mythical themes of Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman and his duty to guide souls who have been lost at sea.When we left off from Dead Man's Chest Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has been swallowed by the Cracken and sent to Davy Jones' Locker, which serves as a form of purgatory. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley)and the crew set out to find and rescue Captain Jack from the clutches of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). With help from a, thought to be dead enemy, Captain Barbosa and the mysterious witch Tia (Naomie Harris), lead the crew to Singapore in order to get directions to a place that cannot be found. Yeah, it makes more sense as you go. Meanwhile former Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport) has sold out the others and given Davy Jones' still beating heart to the very evil Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), with the East India Trading Company. Beckett controls the heart, which means he controls Davy Jones and the seven seas. The crew of the doomed Black Pearl fight a new adversary to the Pirate lore, Captain Sao Feng, (Chow Yun Fat) a ruthless pirate who seems to be only interested in siding with whomever seems the strongest. I think in this movie every one of the main characters double crosses someone else at least 4 or 5 times each in the film. Between Will Turner trying to save his cursed father (Stellan Skarsgard) from indentured servitude to Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow's weasling out of his debt to Davy Jones it gets very difficult to really trust anyone in this film. The stakes are high and the balance of nature must be restored. Will the two lovebirds Will and Elizabeth work out their trust issues and seal the deal? It takes a long time but we finaly get a conclusion to this one. The most enjoyable bits though are Jack and his lunacy, when we first see him in purgatory he is stuck in the middle of the desert with his ship the Black Pearl. He's been there long enough to create imaginary duplicates of himself. Once the others arrive it takes him a while to realize that it is really them. There are some great bits from Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook) and Pintel, (Lee Arenberg) as well as Jack's right hand guy Mr. Gibbs (Kevin McNally). Not to mention a great cameo from Keith Richards who plays Captain Teague, the keeper of the Pirate code and he "surprisingly" looks oddly similar to Captain Jack. I wonder why?

The film is good fun as they close the third chapter on this great mythical adventure. I won't give anything away but the ending is not what I thought it would be. They did throw in a few surprises. The sets of course were amazing and the special effects were as good or better than the previous film. I loved the whirlpool at the end--completely ludicrous but awesome fun just the same. Oh and when the credits begin to roll you get an even nicer happy ending if you wait for the credits to finish. Trust me it's actually very important to the completion of this epic, sometimes silly, but extremely fun series.

Grade 4 Buckets


David said...

I loved Pirates basically did what Spiderman 3 could not. Which is keep track of and successfully handle multiple characters and storylines.

There is a LOT going on in this movie and Gore Verbinski seems to manage very well, and it even better. The movie visually looks fantastic. Something that really can't be said of S3 which looks flat and simple.

And I will have to say that I think Geoffery Rush steals every scene. The man is just that good.

Captain Mike said...

All the Pirate movies are just too damn long. They all have terrific acting, design and effects, but I have never been invested in the stories. This particular one has people just talking and talking and talking until the massive effects kick in. I stoped trying to follow the plot after about 20 minutes. The most memorable scene for me was the desert rock crab thing. Truly bizarre and original.

I also caught Spider-man 3. It was good and fun, but had way too many characters. I also got the feeling that Sam Raimi is dying to do a musical. I counted at least 4 spots in the movie that could have turned into full-blown musical numbers. A Raimi musical might be pretty cool, actually.

G.I. Jeff said...

Although I enjoyed this last Pirates film I would have to disagree with David on Pirates ability to successfully handle multiple characters and storylines.

I thought that the opening and the ending were extraordinary but the middle was very muddled. There was a period of backstabbings and sheer plot drop off that made it seem as if they would never be able to come back. It was a testament to Verbinski and his directing skills in order to keep this ship running efficently. Spider Man 3 of course had the same problem. Although I feel that Spidey 3 still allowed room for the characters to express themselves. This was not always the case in Pirates 3. Especially with regards to Will Turner and Elizabeth their motivations at times seemed unclear as to what they were doing and why.

But I agree that Geoffrey Rush is fun and I'm glad he was able to come back to finish this series.

David said...

OK lets settle Spidey 3. I had fun when I saw it. But I also know it had TONS of flaws. And after the fact, well even I can admit the movie SUCKS. The characters were weak. Tobey Maguire sucks. Kirsten Dunst checked out. All the sub characters where handled like crap and treated as after thoughts.

The fact that pirates had a guessing game going on who could or couldnt be trusted didnt muddle anything. It just made it more interesting.

What were the emotions expressed in Spidey 3...The movie was a shout out to EMO kids everywhere in their black hoodeys.

Spidey dropped the ball. Pirates ran with it.

Cody Dee Williams said...

Cody will break it down like this:

Pirates - AWE:

The Good:
1). Johnny Depp's performance and strong supporting performances from Mackenzie Crook, Lee Arenberg, and Tom Hollander
2). The special effects
3). Killer action sequences.

The Bad:
1). The plot was convoluted
2). The running time was way too long.
3). Orlando Bloom is such an inherently unlikeable actor that it's hard to root for him.

The Ugly:
1). Kiera Knightly's "Braveheart" speech and any other scene in the film where she actually attempted to act.