Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Don’t leave a man hangin’ when he needs a hug…

Golden Mug

Costume Design (Penny Rose)
Visual Effects (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charlie Gibson, John Frazier)
Sound (George Watters II, Christopher Boyes)

Theatrical Release Date: 5/25/2007
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Chow Yun-Fat

So, I get an email from Ian sayin’ that he won’t be able to see “Pirates Three” for a little while. Given he didn’t review the previous installment, I think he’s just doing some passive aggressive boycott. You know “I won’t go see it so I’ll have someone else go see it.” But I just happened to have $20 and a free weekday night.

I was hoping to leave the theater before 11, but then again I also wanted to be the catcher for the Cincinnati Reds.

I never wanted to be a pirate. Probably because I associated it with the tights wearing type in a production co-starring Sandi Duncan and a spotlight named Tinkerbelle. Things may have been different as a child if I knew piracy might entitle me to be dreadlocked, make-up wearin’, quick-witted characters worthy of multiple productions costing hundreds of millions.

But I digress.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is an entertaining time for those of you with over 2 ½ hours to spare. If you liked “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest“, then you’ll like “At World’s End”.

It’s very much full of the same fantastical story that centers around a small group of pirates and their plight at the hands of the East India Trading Company and Davy Jones.

To cap this off I’ll also use a quote from Ask a Ninja when he reviewed “Dead Man’s Chest”:

“The direction… I don’t know that there actually was a director… But I’m told a name came up and it said ‘Gore Verbinski’… And I’ll tell you this much, it could have used a lot more gore and a lot less Verbinski.”

There are the same characters coming over from “Dead Man’s Chest”, but then you also get to add a host of new pirates. While I thought there were already too many pirates in the second movie, there are way more here. There are Asian pirates. French Pirates. African Pirates. Aging Rock Star Pirates. Persian pirates. There were so many pirates that I’m sure I missed a few. I think I remembered something about a geisha pirate? Maybe Pirates 4 will be “Memoirs of a Pirate”.

The story was like the movie in that it was much like the second one. It winds, twists and turns into this blob of cinematic goo. Things would just show up to make an appearance and then go away.

For instance, you see the infamous Kraken from “Dead Man’s Chest” dead and washed ashore without any mention beforehand or afterward. With how big a deal was made of it in the second movie, it seems odd to just dismiss it so easily and quickly. And it’s things like that that make the story to poorly constructed when it was obvious that “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End” were supposed to be so connected.

The most annoying part? There are so many storylines that it’s hard to tell which ones are more important to the story than the others floating around.

The intersection of storylines became more confusing because this pirate is making a deal, that pirate is making a deal, they find out about these deals and make new deals in the midst of things. Monty Hall deserved a cameo for that purpose alone.

I wonder if there’s anything in the “pirate code” about honoring deals? Damn, that means you’ll have to ask Keith Richards. Can someone wake him up? Try smelling salts. No? Then use CG.

All the actors in the previous installments did a good job of reprising the roles to the previously established status quo for the series. Any new addition was welcomed in that I hoped it would make the film better, but most of them were either not prominent or short-lived characters.

Most of the actors I have a healthy respect for. Geoffrey Rush has the best performance thanks to “Shine”. Depp was great in “Blow” and “21 Jump Street”. Chow Yun-Fat has the amazing “Crouching Tiger” and an equally strong depiction of Mike Holmgren.

However Bloom and Knightley can’t seem to do anything worthy outside of period type movies. Watch “Elizabethtown” and “Domino” and you’ll get what I’m talking about. But this movie has two things going for it that improve the screen presence of Bloom and Knightley: it is period and it’s also one step away of achieving the same type of cheese that I’ve come to expect from Michael Bay.

But again, it was entertaining. I especially liked the initial scenes of Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow in the afterlife. It was akin to the weirdness of Malkovich taking a ride into his own mind with disorientating results. That was the shining section of the movie for me. Nicely surreal.

You also have to wait through the painfully long credits for the final scene…

But this is an effects movie you say? It certainly was. And the effects were good. However there has been something new for me to consider. Yup, I’m about to get all movie philosophical – so skip the next few paragraphs if you don’t care.

Special effects exist to mimic the reality of the film in manners that can’t be actually filmed in real life due to the financial difficulty of the shot, the dangerous manner of the shot, or the simple fact that the shot is highly unlikely or impossible. You know, like two ships dueling in a large whirlpool.

What struck me very early on was that the effects were less spectacular even though they were arguably better than any of the pirate movies before it. What made them less spectacular is that since the last Caribbean movie I had seen the “Planet Earth” series of documentaries in HD.

So, while I was sitting in a movie watching a screen of such high resolution and massive cost of production, the effects didn’t dazzle me as much because it couldn’t depict real things as much as you’d hope. Water drops glistening and the awe of detail that exists in reality weren’t nearly there.

This is one of those ignorance is bliss things because had I not been privy to the reality that was in the “Planet Earth” series, I’d be content in geeking out on the effects.

So am I glad I saw the movie? No. I would have caught it at some point on cable or Netflix. Am I glad I saw it in the theater? Not really. I wish they didn’t get my $8.75 to boost their already inflated revenues. Last thing I want to do is help to ensure that the series continues.

I’m giving “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” a 3 out of 5. Oh well, it was just a Thursday night after sweeps week.