Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightley, Bill Nighy, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport, Naomie Harris
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images.
Parental Notes: This is definitely PG-13 — there are plenty of scary parts, including one fellow who gets suffocated by tentacles wrapped around his face and shoved into his mouth and nose. However, the combat violence isn’t terribly graphic and it’s more chaotic than anything. Most teens and preteens should be fine, it’s the youngsters you will want to think about before taking.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy has come to a close. The latest installment, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” is less of a third installment and more like the second half of the previous film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” It’s not a perfect film by any means, but it is a fair bit of fun if you aren’t demanding too much of it.
The new film picks up shortly after the last one ended, with Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) working with Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris) to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones’ Locker. Once Jack has been rescued, the story turns to the conflict between the pirates and the East India Trading Company, which has declared martial law and is going all-out to eradicate the threat to their trade schemes. The Company has the supernatural Flying Dutchman, captained by Davy Jones himself, under its control, and seems unstoppable — not that insane odds have ever stopped our heroes from trying to save the day. The plot is thoroughly convoluted and has more double-crosses than a pirate crew has gold earrings.
As with the other films in the trilogy, everyone in the cast seems to be having a great deal of fun. Rush is thoroughly wicked as Barbossa, Depp chews scenery with the best of them as Jack, and Bloom and Knightley are just as appealing a couple as they were in the first film. The characters of Elizabeth and Will have grown quite a bit since the first, film, which is nice. Will has gone from naive blacksmith apprentice to scheming pirate over the course of the films, and Elizabeth is truly in her element on a pirate ship about to set sail into full battle, especially now that she knows what that entails rather than just daydreaming about it. Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are just the same, but their characters are so much fun, that’s just fine.
The special effects are as phenomenal as ever, and director Verbinski and writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio have pulled out all the stops to make the battle scenes as gigantic as humanly possible. One of the more memorable battles takes place in the center of a gigantic maelstrom, a sort of sinkhole in the sea, with the two ships spinning round and round each other, faster and faster, and getting closer and closer together.
“At World’s End” is oddly both more weighty and of far less substance than the earlier films. There are hints of a sad, bittersweet tone with the ideas that the pirate way of life is coming to an end and the world is growing smaller and less interesting. But at the same time, the film is so convoluted and complex that every plot line gets slightly shortchanged.
Is “At World’s End” a great film? No. It’s a fun ride, but not likely to stay with you for long. If all you want is more adventures with our heroes, it should satisfy, but if you’re seeking a thoroughly well-crafted adventure film, you’re better off watching “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Pearl” again.
Stay until after the credits. There’s a small scene after the credits that you may want to watch.