3 Pulse Rating
Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom
Directed by Gore Verbinski
After the cliffhanger ending of its predecessor, At World’s End wastes no time in getting to the action.
From the intro, we know the Brits are succeeding in their attempt to rid the world of pirate waste. They are hanged by the handful, finally urged into song by the youngest among them. It is a sign of defeat, a call to arms to alert the brotherhood that their days are numbered.
Because Captain Jack Sparrow named no successor, he must first be summoned from Davy Jones’ locker where we left him in Dead Man’s Chest to join the other nine pirate lords who must assemble and choose the fate of their kind.
Do they take a stand against the Commonwealth and the tyrannical Lord Beckett that threaten to silence them or will they take a beating instead?
Expect the answer to be a long time coming.
With a covert meeting set up in an obscure locale, plus the ever-dramatic love story between Will Turner (Bloom) and Elizabeth (Knightley), Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio’s story gets convoluted. Every major character is prompted by his or her own motives and the backstabbing and betrayals become so overwhelming, it’s nearly impossible to associate who’s fighting with the pirates and who fights against them.
Toss in another star-crossed love affair and a human-bound sea goddess, dead and disfigured fathers and it becomes increasingly harder to care who’s with whom or to even keep up.
It’s much easier for the viewer to just sit back and take the beating of glorious visuals because it’s all just eye candy anyway. At this point, the substance in the series is long gone.
The action seems primed for video games or worse yet, amusement park ride expansions. It’s become so Disneyfied that it’s no longer entertainment, but a brand name.
At World’s End is far too glossy and has become way too polished. The fight scenes are overly choreographed, the explosions too precise and colorful and the gleam of the swords perfectly timed. Even the kisses feel staged.
Perhaps it’s just, after nearly six hours of pirates and their high seas high jinks, the novelty has worn off and it’s all become tiresome.
The special effects are the film’s saving grace and the whole concept of the world’s end and the crew’s journey to it are the most rewarding sequences, due mostly to the shimmering work of cinematographer Dariusz Wolski.
Even Depp has gotten a little arduous to endure. The Captain isn’t as much fun anymore. His performance has become a mockery of itself and bringing along Keith Richards to remind us all where those quirky traits originated doesn’t do much to boost the believability of the role. He’s gone from Oscar nominee to action figure in three supersized movies.
And it isn’t any fun anymore.