Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End Reviews
I have to be honest; I hated Dead Man's Chest. Its various plots and subplots were terribly tangled and confusing. It was hard to follow what sort of story or motives the movie wants to say. I blamed my lack of understanding for not comprehending Dead Man's Chest. That was summer of last year but since then I have done my research, for the billion dollars making movie was to have a third installment. Having seen one and two, I have to see three. But if I do not understand two then how can I go ahead with three. And so after a better understanding of two I saw three. You should know this. For all my efforts I was still robbed by the pirates.
I was led happily out into the open sea before being robbed. I was enjoying the first third of the 168 minutes film. Captain Jack's crew arrived in Singapore to look for Captain Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fatt), pirate lord of the South China Sea for a ship and a map, so they could sail to world's end and rescue our favourite captain from Davy Jones's Locker. Davy Jones's Locker is a ghost realm of the netherworld where the dead Captain Jack Sparrow is being kept for eternity.
There appears to be some oriental influence in At World's End. Firstly of course we are introduced to a Chinese pirate, Captain Sao Feng. Secondly, the costumes and all were very well designed in an exquisite oriental fashion. And there was Singapore, a South East Asian country where Captain Sao Feng can be found.
The Singapore set features a bathhouse and I couldn't help relating it to Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. The popular animated film, released by Disney in the west has a bathhouse theme. The relation did not stop there, and I wondered if the scene where Captain Jack Sparrow is isolated in Davy Jones's Locker was inspired too by Hayao Miyazaki's work. The part where thousands of strange and curious yet harmless rounded stone-like crab helping Jack move his ship, The Black Pearl across a desert aroused my attention to this perspective. It was through the hands, eyes and imagination of the acclaimed animation master, Hayao Miyazaki that made famous the approach of detailing stories with thousands of mini little intriguing creatures. And it was fun to watch.
I was enjoying At World's End, laughing merrily at all the pirate jokes that the characters are lashing out at one another, feeling the thrill of the sword-fights and of course attracted to the sometimes witty, looney and mad character of Captain Jack Sparrow. That scene of him engaging himself to his many different personalities while alone in the deserted Davy Jones's Locker is a real gem.
But with all the oriental influences, the filmmakers probably did not take note of the teachings of Zen, where less is truly more. For when after the crew rescued Captain Jack Sparrow and brought him back to the mortal world, it all happened again. The tangling and confusing plots and subplots manifested once more and killed whatever is good about the film. In my opinion, if At World's End had ended after rescuing Captain Jack and had a straight approach in the gathering of forces to deal with Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) with a fitting spectacle of a finale fight, the film would have been great.
I was trying to understand the story. In reflection I probably should not for it amounted to nothing. It just isn't worth it. It would be tiring for me just to list them all out. So just be warned that in the film, every character have their own personal agenda. It is "me" first and "you" later if "you" are still there. If that is the purpose of the story-writers to represent the meaning of how pirates are, then they have succeeded. In fact it was so successful that they lost me.
It bored me so much I no longer laughed at the jokes. It dragged on so long I no longer felt compelled to see the ending. I just want the film to end there and then. Enough was enough.
"Take whatever you can and give nothing back." Thanks a billion, filmmakers, or is it thanks me instead?
This entire Pirate series is like a ride on a pirate ship in a theme park, it was thrilling for a start but as it swing back and forth too many times the nauseas will come and when it stops you find yourself displaced nowhere.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is a fine example of a good film gone bad because it had too many tangling tales to tell. I maintain that it is worth watching for the first third of the film but save yourself from seasickness in the middle just so you can enjoy the spectacular fight sequence toward the end.The Pirates of the Caribbean-movie serials is probably one I'll never grow tired off. The characters are fun and great, always adventurous and spectacular to watch.
It's really too bad that this time they felt the need to make things even bigger, more complex and conclusive than the previous two movies. Really not needed. In my opinion the first movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is still the best because of the reason that it's simple, fun and choices to be purely entertaining. They already went wrong with this approach during the second movie; "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", when they put in more new characters and different hard to follow plot lines. "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" goes on in the same trend as the previous movie. There are more new characters and as far as the new many plot-lines are concerned...well let me just say that after a while I just gave up trying to understand the movie and just let the movie take me away with its visuals, humor and other entertaining elements. And this movie regardless should really be able to take you away on a roller-coaster-ride of pure entertainment.
No doubt in my mind that this movie could had become the best one out of the series. It had all the potential and budget for that, now if they had only cut down about halve of the script...Most of the plot-lines seem redundant and are actually far from believable because they contradict from what happened in the first two movies. The many betrayals among characters and side-picking became really confusing after a while, till it reached a point when you just didn't knew who was fighting for what. But like I said before, after a while you just stop caring about it and simply enjoy the movie for what it brings you. It all is also the reason why the movie is now nearly 3 hours long. Now the movie is not as good and entertaining as the first but maybe just slightly better than the second one, because of the large scale of this movie.
The movie is definitely big. There is no lack of action as some people claim there is. There is just as much action as there is in the first two movies, only difference this time is that the movie is nearly 3 hours long and therefor the movie also has some more talking-sequences and slower moments in it.
The movie is also big with its musical score by Hans Zimmer and he actually succeeded in composing a new great theme for the movie. In its action moments the movie gets definitely uplifted by its musical score.
The action sequences are definitely well constructed and at times pure eye candy. So are the special effects, although I feel that the second movie was still better on that. It seems like they tried to overdo things this time and I'm mainly talking about the end battle, when it comes down to its special effects, by putting in some complex shots. No matter how good CGI is these days, you still see that it's CGI.
Most roles get extended in this movie. Marty, Tia Dalma and even Jack the monkey and Cotton's parrot. But of course the movie still remains the Jack Sparrow-show. Really one of the best characters in recent years, all thanks to Johnny Depp, who provide the movie with its biggest laughs and most hilarious absurd moments. He still plays the character as good and fresh as he did for the first time 4 years ago. You can't just ever grow tired of Jack Sparrow. I was also very pleased to see Geoffrey Rush back as Barbossa. His role was bigger which allowed Geoffrey Rush to shine even more. Bill Nighy was also as good as always as Davy Jones. Orlando Bloom's and Keira Knightley's acting also has really improved over the years. I was actually surprised to see how much of the movie Keira Knightley carries this time and how well she does this. Even in the sequences with Geoffrey Rush she does. She also gets to do more interesting in the movie when it comes done to action. In a way she has taken over the Will (Orlando Bloom) role in this movie this time and Will himself gets pushed more to the background this time compared to the first two movies, which really shouldn't bother most people, unless you're a teenage-girl of course. She handles both the action- and comical sequences really well. And even Keith Richards shows up in an already classic cameo as Jack's father. But some role also got narrowed down to my regret, such as Jonathan Pryce's and Jack Davenport's and lets not forget the Kraken.
Still, I really wouldn't mind seeing more Pirates of the Caribbean movies in the future, if needed with new actors and characters, as long as Johnny Depp stays as Jack Sparrow. The serials still have more than enough potential and haven't dried up yet.
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.