Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Because “Pirates from a Whole Bunch of Places” would detract from the franchise.

Not being disappointed is fun. I summarily failed to be disappointed by At World’s End, but at the same time it was not quite as fun as it should have been. More Jack, I say! More hilarious character interactions! More delivery on expectations of exposition!

Given the depth of the potential of the Pirates franchise, it’s incredibly easy to give a list of things that could have been done better of featured more. So, while this was a very enjoyable film, I find myself drawn to the lack. Still! Still indeed. No spoilers this time: they are for a later edition. This is most definitely a “lite” write up.

Pro Tip: Stay until the end of the credits!

After a short time lapse from the conclusion of Dead Man’s Chest, Barbossa, Will and Elizabeth travel to Singapore to ask Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) to provide them with charts that lead to Davy Jones’ locker. They need Jack back to summon a meeting of the Pirate Brethren and also possibly to stop the East India Trading Company taking over the seas.

There’s not a lot of point explaining the plot to the movie because if you’ve seen the other two you’ll know what’s supposed to be going on and if you haven’t you’d probably be lost anyway. This movie is not very big on settings and the character alignments get so convoluted and fast changing that it would worthless to chart them.

Which is problem the first! The second movie, for all its set up and plot for this movie, was essentially a collection of set pieces in which Jack could be funny. At World’s End, literally packed from floor to ceiling with foreign pirates, has essentially nothing in the way of set pieces. The final battles are suitably elaborate, but all that come before it aren’t as novel as they should be. There’s no ridiculously stupid (and therefore completely enjoyable) water wheel three way sword battles on offer here. Singapore, full as it is with bath houses, features a brief and ultimately explosive sortie. Yet there is nothing novel, and I found myself longing for the tropical locales of Dead Man’s Chest.

Further to this, the story makes a lot of sense but the Calypso and Davy Jones story line peters out into nothing. Yet the vast majority of the storytelling employed in this movie, save for the incredibly overcomplicated line crossing of trust and betrayal, works out as a case of good textbook story telling. Verbinski doesn’t exactly employ telegraphy, but the movie presents several situations that each have essentially only one possible satisfactory conclusion and he hits them all precisely. This is a technique that has to be used almost invisibly in a movie, rather than the cynical methods utilised by someone of the ilk of Brett Ratner and his awful X-Men 3, which was an incredible meditation on movie stitching.

Rather than going into huge details, I suppose I’ll say this about At World’s End: it needed more piratical flavour. More scenery chewing from Geoffrey Rush, more action from the pirates of the world, and a lot more of Witty Jack. It’s pretty dang fantasmical good, but it’s not awesome magicalific great, which it could easily have been.

One Response

  1. Wavatar Jen May 27, 2007

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