Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

pirates of the carribbean at worlds end

“And that was without a single drop of rum!”

The Scoop: 2007 Rated PG-13, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush.

Tagline: At the End of the World, the Adventure Begins.

Summary Capsule: Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa have to get the Jack Attack back, then rally the Pirate Lords to face off against the combined forces of Davy Jones and the East India Trading Company in order to preserve their murderous and highly illegal way of life.


Al’s rating: When you’re a professional pirate, you don’t have to wear a suit.

Al’s review: Okay, so here’s my complaint. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is missing a good sword fight. Yes, blades are crossed and it looks spectacular, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually any good.

During Curse of the Black Pearl, we get fights that make your blood run hot and your lips work overtime suppressing yelps of triumph and shouts of encouragement to the characters onscreen. There’s the final fight between Jack and Barbossa, which is tons of fun if no other reason than neither of them can actually die, but I’m mainly talking about Jack Sparrow versus Will Turner. That fight is one I would put on par with Inigo Montoya versus the Dread Pirate Roberts or Robin Hood versus Guy of Gisbourne. Dead Man’s Chest does its best to top it with its three-way Jack/Will/Norrington fight, but ends up feeling more gimmicky than anything else.

World’s End also tries pretty darn hard, giving us mast-top battles during lightning storms and hurricane winds and chaotic standoffs in Singapore pleasure pits, but it’s all so incongruously polished and so much of it so obviously computer generated that maintaining an emotional stake in the goings-on is nearly impossible. So, when the credits began to roll and I realized that the best sword fight of the entire trilogy was the first one of the first movie, I couldn’t help but feel rather let down. And there’s my complaint. So, now let’s talk about how much Pirates: At World’s End rules.

A quick recap: We join our heroes not too much further along from where we left them. Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and Captain Barbossa are infiltrating Jabba’s palace in a desperate gamble to save Jack Sparrow. At the same time, the power of Emperor Beckett and Darth Davy Jones continues to grow, and unless the nine Pirate Lords can be rallied in a defense, the rebellion will surely be crushed once and for all by the fully armed and operational Flying Dutchman. Got it? Good.

The best way to summarize what so right about this installment is to simply say that it improves on nearly everything offered up in Dead Man’s Chest. They’ve managed a story that knows how and when to move forward. We’re given characters with actual character. Our heroes’ journeys are once again epic as they sail into strange and mysterious locales and are introduced to exotic peoples and cultures. In short, At World’s End has everything this series needs to reclaim it’s status as successor to the throne of adventure filmmaking.

Yes, like the last two movies, it runs long–at just twelve minutes shy of three hours, it’s the lengthiest of the three — but Pirates: At World’s End really uses the extra screen time to its advantage. Instead of hour-long island hijinx, we get a plot that allows each of our characters room to grow. Everyone now has their own independent, clearly-defined goals, so giving them a few extra minutes to explore not only how it affects the bad guys and their crewmates but also the toll it’s taking on their personal morals and principles allows for a far more complex web of character interaction and a story with more tiers to expand from.

But as this is a movie about pirates and the squid-men who love them, I’m not going to spend any more time talking about tiered plots and character webs, because At World’s End is rife with stuff that’s way more fun than that. There’s cutlasses and mizzen-masts, guns and rum, treachery, deceit, betrayals both real and fake, crashing storms, clanging blades–and is that a bit of cultural relevance I see in there? Nah, it must just be zombie monkeys, pirate councils, angry nature gods, unrequited love, noble sacrifices, and Keith Richards in a goofy hat. Oh, and Jack Sparrow once again is given free reign to be Jack Sparrow. And you know that’s worth the price of admission.

The funny thing about how much I like this movie is that I didn’t know it walking out of the theater. I mean, I enjoyed it, certainly moreso than the last one but not necessarily as much as the first. I knew I liked the music. I knew I liked the distinctly un-Disneyish resolution. On the whole, I knew I gave it a thumbs up, but didn’t really think it was something I felt strongly enough about to put pen to paper and sketch out a review for. Surprisingly, though, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End has stayed with me, niggling in my brain for the last couple of days and refusing to go away. The soundtrack has gone into regular rotation on my iPod and every time the movie has come up in conversation, my comments have grown more and more positive. Finally, I think it’s reached the point where I can declare my manly, piratey love for everything At World’s End has to offer. So come on! Be a rascal, a scoundrel, a villain, knave! Join us devils and black sheep, us really bad eggs! Drink up, me hearties! Yo ho!


Kyle’s rating: At least we have a modern trilogy I can tolerate discussion of.

Kyle’s review: You know, ultimately I would say that the presence of the third Pirates of the Caribbean is utterly validated by the psychedelic scenes of Captain Jack Sparrow confronting the doldrums and his own personal hell in Davy Jones’ Locker. I recall that when I went to the sold-out midnight release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, it was fairly obvious that quite a few people were turned off or simply flummoxed by Jack’s massively bizarre interlude.

I guess there is no accounting for taste, huh?

Pirates 3 managed to sprawl itself across easily the strangest summer of my entire life, with life-changing events making every new viewing (and I think I ended up seeing it four times) reverberate in hugely contrasting ways. Certain character arcs became much more meaningful upon repeat viewings, while touches of dark humor flashed more and more prominently (and very necessarily) as I absorbed the story and caught the nuances too buried to pick up on during that initial viewing. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that just because it’s mainstream Disney product means it isn’t capable of being layered art…

…and yet something about it is just slightly less enjoyable than the first film and the first sequel. The structure of the sequels is that the first 30 or so minutes is an adventure semi-related to the main story that serves primarily to (re-)establish our loveable cast of characters (some of the most vile scum and honorable villains to be found in our galaxy) and set up the relationships that will be augmented and endlessly twisted over the course of the film(s). And then the last two hours or so are the meat of it. Dead Man’s Chest made the most of it, maybe because set-up of tension tends to be more fun than the resolution. Or maybe because DMC was more grounded in reality (or as much as it could be with a seeming hybrid of man and octopus parading around as an invulnerable force of [in]justice) whereas AWE goes overboard into mysticism, vague legends of the sea, and amazing coincidences of fortune that favor fan favorite Captain Jack Sparrow. Unfortunately, a lot of people (including me to a certain extent) viewed AWE’s flash and spectacle as pure buffoonery. Kind of hard not to, really. Don’t you think?

Honestly, there is at least a dedication to progression of plot that keeps DMC on course. AWE tries to be too mysterious and too convoluted and as such allows plot concerns to be lost in favor of allowing flashy character moments to dominate. And as much as everyone is great and all, I just wanted a whole lotta Captain Jack moments. Is that so wrong? Sign of a man-crush? Maybe. But I don’t care! Hooray!

I guess under the theory that these movies made hundreds of millions based upon different members of the audience loving different members of the cast (and I’ve seen children buy Will Turner action figures while claiming they like him best, so I believe anything is possible), AWE does a fantastic job of making sure everyone is satisfied. I just don’t think it does quite as fantastic a job of maintaining the quality of the narrative in the process. You kind of have to see the third one if you made it through the first two (which some claim was a chore, but I will argue with absolutely anyone that the second film was absolutely fantastic) so chances are you have already seen it. I simply wish they had spent a little more effort involving us in the story.

More amusingly, at that midnight release screening a bunch of enthusiastic idiots brought stuff including beach balls to pass the couple hours prior to the film. As I walked out with my friends, I found one of the beach balls on the ground and immediately picked it up and took it with me.

“Where did you get that?” my friend asked. “Are you allowed to take it?” she wondered.

I simply smiled back at her. “Pirate!”

Unfortunately, no one remembered to tell Keira that the party’s theme was no longer “The Mongol Hordes”

INTERMISSION!

  • Elizabeth looks completely ridiculous in her pirate getup.
  • Finally, we learn the real reason Ragetti has kept such a close watch over his fake eye for three films.
  • Davy Jones gets desquidified!
  • Lord Sumbhajee’s voice is such a cheap joke, but it’s always funny.
  • So… Calypso unleashed is a hundred million little sea crabs? … … ‘K.
  • At the end when Elizabeth departs the Pearl, the characters each have an exchange similar to how they met her. Barbossa calls her Mrs (instead of Ms) Turner, Pintel and Ragetti call her Poppet, and she and Jack share a twist on their “it would never work our between us” joke from the docks when he first saved her.
  • The shrunken head (Jack’s mother) is on Jack’s belt when he climbs on the dinghy.
  • ZOMBIE MONKEY CANNONBALL!
  • Our post-credits sequence this time indicates clear sequelage.

Groovy Quotes

[sung]
Yo ho
All hands
Hoist the colors high
Heave Ho
Thieves and beggars
Never shall we die.

Jack Sparrow: Gentleman, I wash my hands of this weirdness.

Jaw Sparrow: Why should I sail with any of you? Four of you have tried to kill me in the past. One of you succeeded.

Jack Sparrow: Ladies! Will you please shut it? Listen to me. Yes, I lied to you. No, I don’t love you. Of course it makes you look fat. I’ve never been to Brussels. It is pronounced “egregious”. By the way, no, I’ve never met Pizzaro but I love his pies. And all of this pales to utter insignificance in light of the fact that my ship is once again gone. Savvy?

[as the Nine Pieces of Eight are collected]
Pintel: Those aren’t pieces of eight. They’re pieces of junk!
Gibbs: Aye, the original plan was to use nine pieces of eight to bind Calypso, but when the first court met, the brethren were, to a one, skint broke.
Pintel: So change the name.
Gibbs: What? To ‘Nine Pieces of Whatever We Happen to Have in Our Pockets at the Time?’ Oh yes, that sounds very piratey.

Lord Villenueva: Shoot him!
Lord Jocard: Cut out his tongue!
Jack Sparrow: Shoot him *and* cut out his tongue, then shoot his tongue!

[the dog left stranded on the island enters the Pirate Lord gathering]
Ragetti: How did he…
Captain Teague: Sea turtles, mate.

Jack Sparrow: And that was without a single drop of rum!

Gibbs: Take what you can!
Jack Sparrow: And give nothing back!

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