Saturday, December 8, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End [1]

*/***** (1/5)

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (5/5)
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2/5)
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (1/5)

In the age of trilogies and series, Gore Verbinski's final installment to the Pirates trilogy AT WORLD'S END continues to showcase Johnny Depp as the incomparable Captain Jack Sparrow. Sly and knavish, Jack Sparrow dangles circumstances and people on strings of his own making. Although things don't turn out exactly the way Jack Sparrow divines, he nonetheless qualifies as the prime mover and shaker in the story. You have to love characters like Jack Sparrow that never seem to be on anyone's side and always scheme and plot, leaving their options open. Although I thoroughly enjoyed Jack's scheming and plotting in CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (*****), more of the same here gets annoying. Everyone seems to unwittingly oblige Jack Sparrow's scheming in AT WORLD'S END. Played by Orlando Bloom, Will Turner's ineptitude glaringly takes center stage and he does nothing here. In fact, Will manages to get caught quite a bit. Keira Knightley stars as Elizabeth Swann and she seems to scream, rant and rave a lot while rising as a captain and "Pirate King." I cringed at her "freedom" speech at the end so reminiscent of Mel Gibson in BRAVEHEART. Orlando Bloom's acting was pretty atrocious in LORD OF THE RINGS and his characteristic intonations plague this one. Keira Knightley isn't much better. Tom Hollander's villainous Lord Cutler Beckett was the standout performance of this movie.

Possible SPOILERS ahead.

Bigger, louder, and more doesn't always equate to good or better and this final installment demonstrates the point. Consisting of alternate dimensions, sea goddesses, people coming back from the dead, and convoluted plotting, this movie accentuates the eccentric, magical, and eldritch hundredfold. A large cast and big names highlight this final installment: Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow), Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann), Orlando Bloom (Will Turner), Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbossa), British actor Bill Nighy (Davy Jones), Stellan Skarsgard ('Bootstrap' Bill Turner), and Chow Yun-Fat (Captain Sao Feng). As opposed to CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, the humor in AT WORLD'S END dulls instead of entertaining. The movie drags quite a bit at the end as the Black Pearl and Dutchman do battle around a whirlpool maelstrom. Other pirate ships and the villain Lord Beckett's armada simply watch the protracted affair where Jack, Barbossa, Elizabeth, Will, and Davy Jones spar. After the good guys win, the other pirate ships cheer and rejoice as though they did anything. The on-board marriage while the two ships are locked in battle was cornball cheesy to the extreme. I'm not sure I understood the convoluted Calypso plot where nine pieces of eight binds the powerful Calypso.

The basic premise.

From DEAD MAN'S CHEST, we know Captain Barbossa returns from the dead while Elizabeth leaves Jack Sparrow for the dead. We also know Lord Beckett commands the Armada and holds Davy Jones' heart. Davy Jones and his ship the Flying Dutchman terrorize the seas in a dark alliance with Beckett. In an effort to subdue Jones, the Dutchman and Beckett's armada, the witch Tia Dalma guides the pirate lords to call a brethren gathering and submit each of their "pieces." This will consequently free the powerful sea goddess Calypso, compelling her to aid them against the Dutchman. Since Sparrow possesses one of the 9 pieces, Barbossa, Will and Elizabeth must first venture to world's end to rescue Jack Sparrow first. Everything comes to a head as the Flying Dutchman captained by Davy Jones and the Black Pearl captained by Barbossa square off in a maelstrom. It's all very convoluted and very dumb. This trilogy's marquee humor declines considerably in this final installment. The performances and acting made me cringe a lot.

I was begging for someone to stay dead by the time the movie finally ends.

No comments: