By Don Simpson | May 24, 2007
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writers: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert
Starring: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy
The effeminately slurring swashbuckling drunkard of a pirate, otherwise known as Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), is back for another round. Number three if you lost count. Jack may have died at the end of round two, but his loyal [as a pirate can be] comrades go to the world’s end to save him from his torturous purgatory.
The film opens as the imperialist Brits attempt to stamp out piracy (as in pirates) by instilling fear into the populace, hanging anyone suspected of piracy or merely commingling with pirates. No burden of proof, no trial; just a direct march to the gallows. Liberty and freedom are abolished in lieu of the British military’s attempt to make this world a safer and more profitable place. A song rings out from the endless death march calling upon the nine pirate lords for help.
The conclusion of part two, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, made it obviously clear that Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and company would soon be on a quest to the world’s end to save Jack. The desperate song to the pirate lords only solidifies their reason to do so; because all nine pirate lords, of which Jack is one, are required to attend the meeting. They must rescue Jack to complete the quorum.
Jack’s sentence in Davy Jones’ (Bill Nighy) purgatorial trappings (at world’s end) is the visceral highlight of the film, giving this epically thrilling action-adventure saga a chance to cool its boots and drift aimlessly in a surrealist bit of an existential nightmare. It is the calm before the storm; the one moment of the trilogy that things literally stand still before all sorts of chaos ensues. The pause also gives Johnny Depp the unadulterated spotlight for a few moments to showcase his comedic styling, the backbone and impetus behind the success of Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp even recycles a few gags in homage to past films of his oeuvre (such as the chicken strut and cluck from Arizona Dream). Jack’s rescuers finally appear and the plot takes off once again on hyper-speed.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End represents the fulfillment of Depp’s wish of sharing the screen with Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards (a primary source influencing Jack’s style and swagger). Richards plays Jack’s father, Captain Teague; a minuscule role and a tremendous letdown for anyone expecting any cleverly slurred banter between the two.
Elizabeth finally steps up, really taking charge this time around. As she commands the crew, she confidently commands the screen. Surprisingly there is no question of (or jokes about) taking orders from a woman. It’s nice to see a female pirate wielding such power and respect.
At World’s End surpasses any expectations a summer blockbuster could possibly have, especially after the dreadful boredom inflicted upon the masses by Dead Man’s Chest (a necessary pawn to set up At World’s End). At World’s End has a plentiful bounty of thrilling action sequences, eye-popping visual effects, romance, well-written humor and most importantly great acting performances. It is the epitome of the Hollywood spectacle in the classical sense of the term. With no pretense of being based in reality, the characters (especially their accents) are outrageously exaggerated vessels of entertainment. Sure it serves little purpose in the grand scheme of things (except to earn more money for the Disney corporation), but it is a much needed vacation from the dreadful reality of the current state of the world. Savvy?