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pirates of the caribbean: at world's end
Click for full sized poster

Pirates of the Caribbean:
At World's End

Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly with Chow Yun-Fat and Geoffrey Rush
Written by Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio based on characters created by Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio and Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert based on Walt Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean
Directed by Gore Verbinski
official website

IN SHORT: The visuals keep getting better and better. [Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images. 180 minutes]

Let us begin with a true story: on the elevator ride down to street level at the multiplex where this film screened, we were entertained by a ten year old who was busy explaining the details of the who and what of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End to his perplexed father. Don't ask us to explain said story to y'all. Bring your own kidlet along. That being written, those who haven't planted for films one and two will love the pictures, since there is no character development and very little recap . . . we're supposed to hold that against the film given our usual "you shouldn't have to know Source Material" rule but we've loosened that rule for other version(s) three and will do so here.

We will agree with the other adults who, in conversation on the way out, were unanimous in their opinions. There's not enough Johnny Depp in this Pirates. And you really need to see films one and two or you'll be left marveling at the pictures, and that's pretty much it.

For those foolish enough to have missed the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films, or dumb like Cranky and expect some kind of recap, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End zips right by all that and begins in Singapore as a scurvy lot of pirates led by the apparently dead Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) negotiate a deal for a ship and crew with chinese pirate lord Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat). The mission? To retrieve Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from entombment in Davy Jones' Locker, this universe's version of Hell.

Sparrow must be rescued because the lot of professional pirates has become a poor one. A corporate meeting of the Nine Pirate Lords has been called to formulate action against the despicable enemy: the East India Company, its leader, Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) and his Number Two, Commander Norrington (Jack Davenport). Ultimately, the East India armada will face off against the Pirate Phleet (sic) for control of the high seas at a remote location called Shipwreck Cove. But even before we get to that battle. . .

Still dragging out annoyingly is the love hate relationship between Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Turner is busy trying to find a ship -- preferably Sparrow's own Black Pearl -- with which to go and rescue his long lost father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård). Swann is positive she's been visited by her previously believed dead father (Jonathan Pryce) but that pales besides the occupational promotion she receives in the Third Act -- that means we can't tell you what it is; As for the other dead-and-risen Barbossa, life restored, wishes to rekindle his own lost love with an imprisoned in human form sea goddess named Calypso (Naomie Harris). There's a triangle, though, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) wants to do the dance with Calypso as well.

But all of us of a certain age planted for one, and only one scene: the meeting between Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and one Captain Teague (Keith Richards). Teague is the Keeper of the Pirate Code -- the rules all pirates are "supposed" to follow and, apparently, Jack's father. Blink and you'll miss it amidst the tumult of far too long and video friendly battle scenes -- we are now thoroughly convinced that the success of Pirates is really due to its numbing battle sequences, which kidlets can lose their minds to again and again in the years before drugs. And then lose their minds to again and again in the years in which they, uh, lose their minds to drugs.

At just under three hours, Pirates offers a lot of special effects, a wee bit of Johnny Depp as Sparrow and a wee bit less of Mr. Richards plucking at a guitar. OTT it's all Geoffrey Rush's show, which is probably fine if you as a viewer are eyebrow deep in this saga. We made it to the end, which is more than we could say for half a dozen other critics in t he good seats around us.

We also figured out a long time ago that this franchise is as review proof as you can get. We'd prefer to rent and then kick the surround sound up to eleven. If you've got kids, you have no choice in the matter whatsoever.

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