Thursday, May 25, 2017

Movie Review: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007)

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Movie"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
Director: Gore Verbinski
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 49 minutes

Now that Lord Beckett has the heart of Davy Jones, he is using it to rid the world of all pirates. Meanwhile, the one-time crew of the Black Pearl goes on a mission to Davy Jones's locker to retrieve Jack so he can attend the meeting of the Pirate Lords to figure out how to defeat both Beckett and Jones. 

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is the third installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. As with all of its predecessors, it is once again directed by Gore Verbinski. The entire ensemble cast is back for a third time, including Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley. Returning in a larger capacity is Geoffrey Rush, who only had a small cameo in the second film. Both of the villains from "Dead Man's Chest" return, but it is now Lord Beckett, played by Tom Hollander, who wields supreme power with the heart of Davy Jones, again played by Bill Nighy. The most notable new edition to the cast is Chow Yun-Fat, who plays one of the nine Pirate Lords Captain Sao Feng. This time around, the former crew of the Black Pearl needs a map from Sao Feng so they can find Jack Sparrow in Davy Jones's locker to return him to the world of the living. They need him to attend the council of the Pirate Lords to discuss a plan on how to defeat Beckett and his attack octopus Jones.

When we wrote about the previous installment in this series, we found it difficult to differentiate it from the original film because it pretty much only takes the best elements from that movie and repeats them on a grander scale. This installment into the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, however, wanders down a much darker path with a drastically different tonal shift, venturing into uncharted territory. It opens with pirates and pirate sympathizers being rounded up by the East India Trading Co. and being hung, even children. This is something we couldn't have imagined seeing in the earlier, more lighthearted installments, and certainly didn't expect to see this from a movie based on a Disney ride. Not to worry, there is still plenty of fun and humor, but this opener sets the tone for darker things to come. Johnny Depp, as one may expect, is one of the more comedic elements yet again. Jack Sparrow being stuck in Davy Jones's locker is almost an entire exercise in surreal comedy and borders on something you might see in a film by Terry Gilliam.

The story, though a bit bizarre, feels more focused. "Dead Man's Chest" was clearly setting up all the dominoes, and "At World's End" gets to knock them down and answer any lingering questions we may have had about the end of this trilogy. Upon first seeing these films, we tend to remember having a more favorable response to "Dead Man's Chest," maybe because its familiarity with "The Curse of the Black Pearl." Now upon revisiting them all again many years later, we feel that "At World's End" is the stronger of the two entries, though neither could really exist without the other. One thing we will say about this series (and this installment in particular) is that each movie is an opulent display of excess. This flick came with the highest price tag of any movie ever when it was released in 2007, which leads to both some stunning visuals and epic battle scenes that are quite spectacular, but also makes a lot of overused and not great looking computer effects. Overall, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World' End" is a mostly enjoyable ride, but really should have been the end of the franchise.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 45%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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