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Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
Director: Gore Verbinski

review by Eric Turowski
Spoiler Alert!
Where did we leave off? Oh, right, the East India Company has obtained the dead man's chest with the help of out-of-favour Captain Norrington (Jack Davenport), containing the heart of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), and thus controls the Flying Dutchman while Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has been eaten by the kraken and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) has been raised from the dead by Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris); Lizzie (Keira Knightly) and Will Turner's (Orlando Bloom) relationship was heading for the rocks as he witnessed her kissing Jack Sparrow (a bid to free the Black Pearl from the kraken), and he has promised to free his father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård ) from the blood debt of Davy Jones. All caught up? Good!

We open up with pirates being hung in droves by order of the letters of marque in a scene that smacks of the USA Patriot Act, where legal rights are tossed out the window, but what do the pirates, and those accused of abetting piracy, do? They sing a shanty of course, because they're freedom-loving folk. With the Flying Dutchman under the control of Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), things have been really going downhill for the pirates.

But Barbossa, Lizzie and the crew of the Pearl are on a mission to Singapore to steal the charts to Davy Jones' locker from pirate lord Captain Sao Feng (Chow Yun-fat). Turner has already been caught in the act and captured. But Barbossa demands that the nine pirate lords meet to stem the slaughter of pirates by the British Navy and East India Company. Action and fighting ensues as the Brits break in on the meeting.

Of course, most of them escape and follow the chart to the end of the world, the way to get into Jones' locker. Jack Sparrow has been languishing in Davy Jones' locker, a kind of featureless hell where the ship is crewed by duplicates of Sparrow, and a great many rock crabs live (you'll have to see for yourself). The crew arrives to save Jack (or vice versa), and then sails to an island to find provisions.

They find the dead kraken on the beach and then, surprise, the Singapore pirates show up in one of about a dozen double-crosses. The Brits show up again, more fighting ensues, as ] well as several more double-crosses and betrayals, Lizzie gets traded to the Singapore pirates, and the Pearl escapes to travel to Shipwreck Island. Barbossa has a plan to unleash Calypso, a pagan goddess trapped in human form (and, not coincidentally, the one who charged Davy Jones with the task of ushering the souls of drowned seamen to the other side). But the Flying Dutchman broadsides the pirate junk; Jones and (now) Admiral Norrington take the crew prisoner, but not before a dying Sao Feng makes Lizzie captain. Norrington has a case of the guilts, and sets the crew and ship free-and pays for it at the hands of Bootstrap Bill.

Pirates of many nationalities meet in Shipwreck Town on Shipwreck Island to discuss how to avoid certain death at the hands of Lord Beckett, including Jack Sparrow's dad (Keith Richards!). Things move even faster. Pirate king elected, giant fortuneteller, parlay with the enemy, Jack in the Dutchman's brig, whirlpool! Lizzie speechifies, stupid marriage, stupid swinging, swordfight on the mizzenmast, hearts are stabbed, tentacles fly, silly paragliding, and, by jingo, a sea battle (it's only the third freaking movie, so it's about time for some actual pirate action), barnacled Johnny Depp, snapping swords, exploding man o' war and more!

Not to give away the ending, but At World's End was far more satisfying than the dumb cliff-hanger at the end of Dead Man's Chest. In fact, take out the Chow Yun-fat bits, a bunch of the stupid swinging, the stupid rolling (from Dead Man's Chest) and you could've had one really long but far better film. Now, like any Hong Kong cinema aficionado, I thoroughly enjoy the work of Mr Chow, and he did a fabulous job as a Singapore pirate, but why so much of the film centres on Captain Sao Feng is beyond me. Still, though this film actually has a real ending, there is room to manoeuvre for additional sequels without shivering the timbers of disbelief. How about 'Pirates Of The Caribbean: Peril On The Spanish Main!' (You heard it here first.)

There has been a great deal of anti-hype about this film, and most of it is undeserved. It seems this film was just too easy a target, being the bloated blockbuster that it is, especially after the shipwreck of a movie the second film turned out to be. But this is much better fare, with the aspects of magic and action more finely tuned to a pirate pitch. So it wasn't just a monster movie set at sea this time out, if you follow me.

Pirates 3 is a highly enjoyable film, summer blockbuster fare at its best; however, this is not a five-star film for two reasons. First, there is too much groaning silliness for an adult to fully suspend disbelief, and thus the film can never fully absorb the attention of a grown-up. Second, the monsters are too scary, the violence too graphic, and too many adult themes will probably not go over well with the little ones. That's why it's rated PG-13, savvy? But if you're an older kid (or a kid at heart) then this one's every bit as good as the original. Haven't seen Pirates 2? You'd better sail on down to the rental store, mates, as you're apt to get lost in the vast sea of plot.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Pirates 3 trio

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