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Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End

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How many lives does Jack Sparrow have? A lot. How many times can Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer dip into the Pirates of the Caribbean without failing the fans? Twice apparently.

The third entry into the wildly popular and insanely profitable Pirates series is too much of a good thing. Not the swashbuckling sword fighting, over the top action, and witty humor we’ve all come to expect, mind you. No, it’s far too much useless plot for one movie.

To say the storyline behind the action is lost on the audience is an understatement. Questions abound, both because plot holes are created when comparing the first two films and because the story is nothing more than baffling double, triple, and quadruple crosses. It’s amazing the director, editors, and writers actually understood how all of this fits together.

If you can imagine what it’s like to grab a stack of likable characters and mindlessly have them spout off dialogue that leads to nowhere, you have this third sequel. Davy Jones, Elizabeth Swann, and Will Turner can never seem to make up their minds as to whom they’re fighting for or why. Neither can the audience, and clarification is never given.

The whimsical Jack Sparrow is given a surprisingly limited amount of screen time, disappointing as this is Johnny Depp in perfect form. Forget his epic, over the top fights from the first two films as well. There’s one on the mast of a ship, and even this is cut in the middle to focus on a different plot line before randomly coming back to it before it’s over.

Yet another story concerns the story building up the character Calypso (which somehow escaped mention in the first two films). When the reveal comes, it’s in astonishingly bad form, both from a visual effects perspective and the audience’s means to suspend disbelief for only so long before they can’t take that extra step. A grating, Hollywood romance doesn’t help either.

Granted, the comedy factor is still in full force. This is arguably the funniest film in the series, and any movie that manages to find a purpose to shoot a monkey out of a cannon deserves special mention. The special effects are of course spot on, particularly during the rain-soaked finale. There are some amazing sights, particularly the death of one enemy aboard a ship. Then again, it’s hard to tell if he’s on the side of good or evil by that point.

Chow Yun Fat is wasted as a Chinese captain, introduced and then dropped in an extended storyline that could have been condensed into about ten minutes. At nearly three hours, plenty should have been trimmed and cut, likely leading to a less convoluted plot and fewer new characters to introduce. With so many faces to follow, fan favorites seem to be pushed aside to make room.

Those looking for other action will be sorely disappointed as well. It’s sparse, held off for the big finale that never really comes. There are small, surprisingly violent skirmishes that push the PG-13 rating to its limit throughout, though At World’s End fails to provide the massive set pieces provided by prior offerings. Numerous scenes are of characters discussing how they’ll take over a ship or betray one other, when this would have worked just fine as a standard good versus evil affair.

Those who stay after the credits (as you should with all three movies in the Pirates series) only have yet another question to be answered simply due to poor writing, possibly two. Is he back for one day or forever when the curse is lifted? It’s a fitting end for this one that is fully content to roll along to arrive at the massive action during the finale without a care as to what it’s giving the moviegoer in the meantime.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • Aras

    are you serious i thought the movie was a beautiful story though at times confusing the big finale was amazing .. this movie is one of the most entertaining movies that i have seen i LOVED it the comedy was spot on along with all of the action .. it had the most action of all 3 movies … i would watch that movie over and over again!!!!

  • Jordan

    I agree with this movie review. Yes, most of the questions from “Dead Man’s Chest” were answered, but, there were about 10 or so new unanswered questions made in this movie(does that mean there will be another movie?). There was too much confusion, weirdness, and pointless film run time. So who is Calypso–the woman or someone trapped in her body? What happened to Calypso and Davey Jones? Is Calypso Elizabeth Swan? How did the Cracken die, or was that the Cracken dead on the beach? How did the dog get off the island? How did Elizabeth all the sudden become king of pirates? Who betrayed who, Davey Jones or the woman? What was the point of having the rest of the pirates come together to do nothing? What was Norrington’s role in this third movie? Who was he fighting for? From the last movie, what did Jack Sparrow do to get everlasting punishment? How was Barbosa brought back to life by the woman (forgot her name).

    There were also several upsetting parts that could have been made better. All of the time spent in Singapore could have been cut to ten minutes or just done away with. How could the captain of a ship just stand there and not fire off a single shot while his ship is being shot at? How could a whole fleet of ships get scared of a couple pirate ships? What was the point of having the other eight or so pirate ships even sail like they were going to battle, if they did nothing? Very dissapointed that there was not an all out battle at the end. The wedding during the last battle scene ruined it! Too many slow parts of the movie. There were some good parts of the movie, but it could have been a heck of a lot better.

  • Jackie

    The first time seeing this movie, things can be confusing. I saw it twice.. and the 2nd time things were a lot more understandable. I really liked the movie.

    The cracken died because Davy Jones had been ordered to “kill his pet”. Yes, that was the cracken that was dead on the beach.

    Calypso is basically the “spirit of the sea” that Davy Jones was in love with. He got together with the other pirates & they “bound her to her bones”.. meaning they made her take human form. Taking her away from the ocean made the oceans calmer for them to sail in. But it also opened up the law being able to get the pirates easier. So all the pirate Lords had to get together to take the “curse” off of Calypso so she’d be part of the ocean again & give them a fighting chance (notice how when they set her free.. that storm started?).

    Elizabeth was made the pirate king because she voted for herself, and Jack voted for her too. She had basically the same plans he did (she wanted to fight.. and he wanted to fight & then run lol).

    As for how the dog got off of the island.. nobody knows. The only comment about that was “sea turtles, mate” (referring to how Jack got off of the island.. he said sea turtles).

    As for the love scene.. they needed to put that in there… because the other 2 movies had Will & Elizabeth’s relationship in it (the 2nd one even started w/their wedding that got interupted). I thought it was sweet (but then again, I’m a romantic).

    Anywho.. maybe you should see it again so you can understand it better :-). Take care!

  • johnathan

    best movie everrrrrr

  • Emmy

    SO its clear to see that..
    you gusy didnt pay attention.

    i noticed that in most of these comment i ccan answer almost all of them.

    Calypso is Diadoma<– not sure how it spell it. Elizabeth Swan is not Calypso. Barbosa told that to the other Captain only to get him out of the way. Davey Jones died at the end and Fell into Calypso’s whirlpool. they are together i assume. IF YOU LISTENED! you would have heard that.. Lord Beckette said.. ” This is no longer your world Jones” saying it to Davey Jones. “you should have realised that WHEN I ORDERED YOU TO KILL YOUR LITTLE PET” “LITTLE PET” is the Crakken. The Crakken belonged to Davey Jones. and he controlled it. The giant dead thing on the beach was the Crakken. with the Betrayal.. they both did it to each other. but first id say it was Calypso who started his anger. After he served 10 years guiding the dead to the “land of the Dead” He was allowed to see her. but.. she wasn’t there. [she is the SPIRIT of the Ocean.] she is.. immortal you could say. which caused him to get mad and cut out his heart.. and then tell the FIRST Brethren Court to capture her. which made her Human and not powerful and so on. this movie is amazing. and it does go along with the Second one. PAY ATTENTION. everything is tied up EXCEPT the ending. Will and Elizabeth. Will is now the Captain of the Dutchman soo.. i dont know. haha hope i cleared things up.:]