5.28.2007

'Pirates' finishes with a big, satisfying bang

"Alright, we can't all be wearing ridiculous hats, guys."

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by Tedd Elliot & Terry Rossio
Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley & Geoffrey Rush

***½ out of *****

In the explosive climax of “Pirates of Caribbean: At World’s End,” the (supposed) conclusion to the “Pirates” franchise, the Black Pearl is locked in combat with the Flying Dutchman as the two vessels circle deeper and deeper into a spiraling, stormy maelstrom. They exchange fire, lobbing cannonball after cannonball as they draw closer. They eventually crash into one another and descend into the heart of the maelstrom in a chaotic mass of entangled hull and mast, their respective crews duking it out with muskets and cutlasses all the while.

It was probably at this moment, as lightning cracked and the epic final battle of the trilogy raged on, that I firmly decided I was enjoying the film.

Last summer, I found myself disappointed with “Dead Man’s Chest.” I felt that the plot was too muddled and meandering, and that the subdued, charming humor of the first film was rudely shoved aside in favor of camp jokes and ridiculous sight-gags. The action was ludicrously over-the-top, and though the movie was pretty fun popcorn fair, it simply lacked the heart of the first “Pirates” film.

I’m happy to say that the heart of “Pirates” is still beating strong in this epic third film, which pits the now infamous Jack Sparrow (Depp), Will Turner (Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) and the recently reincarnated Captain Barbossa (Rush) against the forces of the East Indian Trading Company and its new pawn, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). Gone is Jones’ Krakken beast from “Dead Man’s Chest,” but this dangerous foe is now backed by the British Royal Navy.

After the letdown of “Spider-Man 3,” coupled with tepid reviews from critics, I found myself wary of “At World’s End.” I went into it not expecting much – and perhaps my lowered expectations could account for my enjoyment of the film. But the fact of the matter remains: this third flick is a better made piece of work. It’s smoother, more tightly plotted and faster paced; the action is slick and dangerous, as opposed to the ridiculously cartoonish chase sequences we had in “Dead Man’s Chest.”

I’d also like to think that the return of Rush as Captain Barbossa lends a bit to the film’s overall quality; he was a fantastic villain in the first film, and the grudging rivalry that occurs between him and Jack is just great. The character of Davy Jones, which I felt left a little to be desired in “Dead Man’s Chest,” is fully fleshed-out and explored in this film – the character became dynamic and interesting to me, and that made for an infinitely more enjoyable movie.

However, the film isn’t without its faults. Like “Dead Man’s Chest,” the plot tends to wander at times. And with pirates betraying and scheming, forming agreements here and backstabbing there, it tends to get a bit hectic and confusing. But all of the “Pirates” films have suffered from this, and the plot does manage to tie itself up pretty nicely, resulting in a satisfying end to the trilogy.

A perfect movie, this is not; but it’s definitely popcorn stock at its finest, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it immensely for what it was worth.

1 comment:

  1. WOOOOOOOOO! JOHNNY DEPPPPPP!

    That is all.

    ReplyDelete

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