Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End Reviews
In short you have to know the back story for the last two films relatively well to keep up. The plot is even more convoluted than the second film and unfortunately it no longer has the wow factor, originality or nice fantasy element either. To be honest whilst watching I got a distinct sensation that I was watching deleted scenes merely pieced together to create another film. The film really does have that slightly disjointed vibe about it.
I think one of the things that got me was the fact the characters just didn't matter anymore. In the second film Davy Jones was the terror of the seas with his firesome appearance, monstrous crew and pet Kraken (unadventurous end for that beastie), now in this film he is reduced to lingering in the background whilst people talk. A great character reduced to an extra virtually. Barbossa of course was the terror of the first film and he has now been slowly reduced to Sparrow's sidekick of sorts, then we have new character Sao Feng who really doesn't matter. He looks good and its a nice touch to see the Orient in the film but the whole setup is wasted! Again merely background fodder whilst we must watch Depp do his now overdone thing and the quite uninteresting love conflict between Turner and Swann.
I might add that Knightly has been completely covered in makeup for this last entry, absolutely smothered on her face. She looks like an orange with thick eyebrows! its pretty bad and pretty obvious if you ask me, looks unintentionally amusing.
Yet the sequences showing Sparrow's descent into madness whilst in Davy Jones locker I quite liked even though many didn't. I actually thought those scenes were quite original and well thought out giving us something fresh which is quite hard really, especially with the content you're trying to visualise here. The little moments of quirky insanity with Sparrow felt a bit Raimi-esque if you ask me, reminded me of 'Army of Darkness' and Ash going nuts whilst splitting in two. A bit of a stump in the films fluidity sure but it showed some ingenuity, giving some more uniqueness in-between the other bland action bits.
Of course this being a modern day sequel the films gotta be BIG, REAL BIG! You want overblown CGI enhanced action set pieces then voila! I can't deny it all looks terrific and perfectly piratey but blimey gov! How overboard must they go...no pun intended. The perfect example? How about Turner and Swann in a blazing cutlass battle with hordes of bad guys in the midst of a booming sea storm. During this pitch battle to the death they shout out to Barbossa to marry them...he too is in the midst of a fight to the death.
So that he does, we have an utterly ludicrous action sequence with all three exterminating every bad guy with ease whilst they get married. Now I realise this film is purely for fun and all ages, to a degree, but come on, did we have to go there? Its sequences like this that totally remove you from the film. Sure you gotta have some suspension of disbelief and that's why its OK to have some slightly fantastical elements but at least give us some small note of emotion, a small drop of actual realistic danger for the characters. No point loading up a brand new video game only to slap on the invincibility cheat and play through.
It takes us awhile but when we do eventually get to the pirate convention in Shipwreck Cove the film does perk up a bit momentarily. The introduction of the pirate city council as it were...was a nice touch, some great looking characters there. I liked how they show us pirates from various different countries, different backgrounds and cultures, they are all well crafted if a little bit cliched too just for fun. But all this leads me to another problem, why couldn't we see more of these guys and less of the rest? The finale sea battle builds up as if we will see every pirate and his crew fight...what happened there?! We see Sparrow's Pearl go up against the Dutchman but what about the masses of other ships? All the other pirate ships? I thought they wanted to fight, instead they all watch? I think Verbinski finally realised it was all getting out of hand and too big, I'll just conveniently let the other vessels disappear for the last bit.
In all honesty I had to do some internet/wiki research after watching this film to actually understand what happened here and there, get to grips with the plot. The whole 'Calypso' thing had me floundered for some time I can't deny, had to pinpoint exactly what the hell was going on with that. The piratey dialog while sounding cool, didn't help with trying to follow various sub plots.
There are lots of nice fun little touches throughout the film which remind you what the film was previously...before it became too big. We all know the film is just too flippin busy, too much going on, I think they could of left a lot out or at least leave some characters out, have them tied up and done in the second film or early on. The whole franchise is terribly bloated when it didn't have to be. Its still a solid set of films with a good story, but the first film is the only one which is looked upon favourably, shame really as these last two films could/should so easily have been classics too.