After releasing two highly successful entries into the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise with the outstanding “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and the solid, yet somewhat flawed follow-up “Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest”, Walt Disney Studios was supremely confident that their third, and possibly final, entry into the series would be a colossal blockbuster. With “Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End” audiences hoped they would finally get a satisfying ending to the story that began in the previous movie, and be provided with a solid ending to one of the most original, fun, and entertaining movie franchises. But, does the movie actually live up to the high standards set up by its predecessors or sink under its own weight?
“Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End” picks up right where the second film left off. Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), along with Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), are on a quest to rescue Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the unenviable fate of being stranded in Davy Jones’ Locker. Their quest will take them from the edge of the world to Singapore to Tortuga and more, all the while battling betrayal at every turn, and attempting to stay one step ahead of their pursuers.
Well, even though Disney, in conjunction with director Gore Verbinski and producer extraordinaire Jerry Bruckheimer (director and producer for the first two ‘Pirates’ films, respectively), delivered to audiences two incredibly entertaining films (the last film was somewhat disappointing in the end), they were faced with the daunting task of repeating themselves for a third time. Even though the same creative team was essentially behind each one of these films, including the same two writers, Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot, something went awry with this film.
There are several problems that I had with this movie; chief among them would have to be the seemingly lacking sense of fun and enjoyment within the story and among the cast. The first two films, yes even the second movie even though it was darker in tone, possessed a spirit of fun that was infectious which added to the overall entertainment value of the films. For some reason, and I’m at a loss as to what the reason may be, this film seems devoid of fun for a majority of the film. Another problem is that the tone in this movie was even darker than that of its predecessor, and therefore felt even more removed from the spirit of the original. Now, I don’t have a problem with movie series’ getting more serious, and even somewhat more adult or darker as the franchise progresses, but this series just seemed to go way too far in that direction, to the point that it’s dreariness was distracting from the story.
The story for this film is another problem I had with ‘At World’s End’, for one it was way too long, especially since this was supposed to tie up the story begun in the previous movie, which was already over two hours long on its own, but adding almost 3 hours to that story seems over done. Secondly, the story seemed bloated; too many new characters were introduced into a story that already possessed enough characters to possibly confuse some audience members. Plus, new plot lines seemed to be getting added left and right, and in almost every scene one of the characters was betraying somebody, and after a while I started to lose track of who was on who’s side at any given time. Basically, the story wound up being one massive, overly long semi-confusing jumble of a conclusion that wasn’t even remotely satisfying when compared to how the series started.
As far as the actors in this movie, they were all good as they were in the previous movies, but seemed a little uninvolved in the story at times. Surprisingly, the highlight among the cast this time was not Johnny Depp, sure he was still fun as Jack Sparrow, but at times even he was getting a little old, no, this time the bigger surprise was Chow-Yun Fat as a new pirate lord hailing from Singapore. It’s too bad he wasn’t used all that much, but he definitely created a new engaging character that was one of the few welcome additions in this whole mess of a movie. The other surprise character in this movie was Keith Richards’ portrayal of Jack Sparrow’s father, sure his cameo role was small, but in the few minutes he was on screen he managed to cultivate a character that was dangerous and mysterious, and one that would be fun to see explored should there be another film in the series.
One final note on this movie before I sum up my thoughts, I must give kudos to the technical wizards at Industrial Light and Magic for their outstanding and incredibly realistic work on this entire film series, without them these films, and many others, would not be possible. The team at ILM is without a doubt comprised of some of the most talented people working in special effects today, and deserving of any honors Hollywood bestows upon them.
Overall, “Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End” is an average movie, that doesn’t even come close to living up to the quality of the first film. Since, this movie is supposed to be the conclusion to the story started in ‘Dead Man’s Chest’, I find it strange to say that a story that is almost 5 hours long can’t even hope to come close to matching the sheer entertainment value of the first film that clocked in at approximately 2 hours. Now, if you have been a fan of the series, and most moviegoers are, then you should probably see this movie, just to see how the story begun in ‘Pirates 2’ ends, but most likely you’ll be disappointed and left wanting to only watch the first film over and over again, and removing the last two from your DVD collections.
“Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End” is rated PG-13 for violence.