Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightley
The first half of 2007 really is the summer of Blockbuster ‘three-quels’. You’ve got Shrek 3, Spider-man 3, Pirates 3, Oceans Thirteen and probably a handful of others I’ve forgotten. They’re all obscenely expensive, they’re all raking in the big bucks at the box office and they’re all being critically panned as over-blown and over-indulgent turds on the big screen.
I felt after watching Spider-man 3 and enjoying it, it put me right back in the position I was in ten years ago when I was the only guy in the cinema who was digging Arnold Schwarznegger in Batman and Robin (“Ice to see you!/Cool party”).
So help me, I think I’m the odd man out again because not only did I enjoy Spider-man 3 but I also really liked Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End.
I think we suspected that of all of the summer blockbuster films, it would be Sam Raimi and Spider-man 3 that would produce a subversive darker film disguised as mainstream fare for the masses. As it turns out, Pirates of the Caribbean is actually that film.
Here is a trilogy that started out as popcorn fun that sparked a chord with audiences by revitalizing the pirate movie genre and filling it with snappy dialogue and colourful characterisations. By the time we reach Pirates of the Caribbean 3, the film now has a labyrinthian plot, literal depictions of otherworldly dimensions and shades of grey introduced to nearly all the characters (even babyfaced Will Turner).
Little wonder its alienated so many people who mostly flock to sequels expecting to get served up with something they know and love. To enjoy Pirates of Caribbean 3 requires a completely different mood and mindset from the original. You can take your kids to see Curse of the Black Pearl and have a ball watching the movie with them. You might want to leave them at home for At World’s End because I’m not sure you want to be the guy to explain Sexual Harassment Chow Yun Fat, children being hung at the gallows or the concept of pergatory to them.
The film is an absolute mess. There are an uncountable number of plot strands, many which carry over from the previous films and its further complicated by the frequent betrayals and changing of sides. In the end though, I found it didn’t matter and I was just enjoying the anarchic spectacle of a film that cheerfully seems to be making up the story as it goes along. It worked for Tolkien and it pretty much works for Verbinksi here.
The only character who is one dimensional and doesn’t have an alternative agenda is the single-minded and villainous Lord Beckett. And the simplicity of his character made him stand out to me. I really enjoyed the ending sequence in the film where he cannot comprehend the position that he faces and he simple strolls across his ship in a rain of fire.
That scene is just one of many amazing visual spectacles in POTC:AWE. I don’t know the exact amount of money that was spent making this film but I conservatively put it around the million billion jillion dollar range and it looks the part. The sea-faring battles, the expired Cracken and the locales such as the End of the World and the Pirates Cove look fantastic.
I’m turning into a bit of a shill here but I expect that for most people, they’ll know if they will enjoy POTC:AWE within the first ten minutes. I certainly did but I think I’m happy to leave it at that and don’t really need Pirates 4. Of course, I’m pretty sure that some suit has already greenlit not only Pirates of the Caribbean 4 but probably 5 and 6 as well.