Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2007 by Peter Sciretta
Who would have thought that a descent movie could be made from a theme park attraction. After all, isn’t it usually the other way around? But somehow, someway, Pirates of the Caribbean became an overnight sensation. Most people would be quick to point to Johnny Depp as the reason for the film’s success. And I would say that is very accurate.
Dead Man’s Chest failed to capture audiences the same way the original by making the film anti-Jack Sparrow. Disney took the only interesting character, and tried all they could to make the audience hate him. In the process, they filled the rest of the story with a stuffy, boring, and way too serious plot involving Orlando and Keira’s characters. The screenwriters borrowed much from the Heroes Journey and the Star Wars films, but to bad effect. The film ended with Jack being imprisoned much like Han Solo was in Empire. But fans felt gipped.
So the question is: Does Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End deliver where Dead Man’s Chest didn’t?
Well, the first time I saw At World’s End I came out pretty down on the whole affair. The press screening I was invited to ended abruptly as the digital print (is it called a print?) was corrupted half way through. I found the film to be incomprehensible at times, as there was too much going on with way too many characters. Imagine Spider-Man 3’s problems times 5. But I returned to the movie theater the following day and saw the film (the whole film this time) in a new light. I now understood what was going on, and came out of the theater with a smile on my face.
I enjoyed the flick much more than Dead Man’s Chest. But I may be in the minority because of my viewing experience. The film is not without it’s problems: too many characters, trying to accomplish too much…etc. But I assure you this is not as thrown together as you might first believe. All of the characters have motives, and sometimes even secret motives. Everyone is well rounded and three dimensional. But at the same time, it’s hard to keep track of it all. It’s hard to figure out who made what deal with who. It’s hard to figure out what motivates some of the characters, although I assure you, all the characters have an arc of their own.
I also, like most, crave epic films. It’s rare to sit in a movie theater now a days and feel like you’re watching the next blockbuster classic. But you watch Pirates and will have the feeling that you may have also gotten while watching Lord of the Rings.
Does World’s End successfully make you care about Orlando and Keira’s characters? Nope. I think all is lost in that arena. But the task of trying to rescue Jack motivates the story enough to draw your interest, and hold it for the first hour.
I don’t want to give much (or any) of the plot away, so that you will go in clean. The film ends with a thirty to forty five minute action sequence climax that needs to be seen on the big screen. There is sword fighting, explosions, acrobatics, and much much more. This sequence is worth your ten bucks alone.
/Film Rating: 7 out of 10