Bloated "Pirates" three-quel the worst one yet

by Eric Melin on May 25, 2007

in Print Reviews

Captain Jack Sparrow, as played by Johnny Depp, gets a queasy look on his face. Another Jack Sparrow stumbles up to his backside. As three more loopy Jack Sparrows look on, the first one clucks and lays an egg into the hands of the second. Apparently anything can happen in the land of the dead. Surreal, lighthearted, fun—it is the antithesis of everything else in the two hour and forty-five minute snorefest “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”

The third installment of the box office record-breaking “Pirates” series is an extension of the overstuffed second film, “Dead Man’s Chest,” in every way. “At World’s End” is driven forward not of its own will, but by the impossibly tangled mess of storylines set up in last year’s movie. If number two was a scorned middle child fighting for attention, then “Pirates” 3 is a perpetual motion machine—not just because it seems to be on autopilot, but also because it seems like it will never end.

Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley) is out to rescue an undead(?) Sparrow with Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who’s also not dead anymore and not terribly angry with Jack for killing him. Accompanying them is Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), the heavily accented voodoo woman whose main function is to explain a bunch of ancient myths and rules to the audience. Maybe they should have picked someone that wasn’t impossible to understand. To make an incomprehensible story more incomprehensible, Chow Yun-Fat must speak through a thick mustache as Chinese pirate Sao Feng. He makes a lot of threats and misleading statements in a movie filled with them.

Orlando Bloom, whose Will Turner was actually charming so long ago in the first “Pirates,” is now a non-entity in an even lesser role here. Relegated to the background for most of the film during a nonsensical lover’s quarrel held over from part two, he is still looking to free his father from the clutches of fishy pirate Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). He and Elizabeth refuse to talk—for no other reason than that’s what the script requires—stilting their romance even further. When they do finally get back on track, the result is a laugh-out-loud cheesy moment that neither actor can pull off convincingly.

“Dead Man’s Chest” was a convoluted bore too, but at least it had two boffo action sequences— a duel that revolved around huge spinning wheels and an attack from the ocean’s legendary Kraken. In “At World’s End,” the mighty sea monster is beached and the same can be said about all the action in this film. When characters aren’t standing around trying to explain a bloated storyline has more tentacles than Jones’ beard ,they are either shooting cannonballs or having the same swordfight over and over. The set design and computer graphics are convincingly detailed, but amount to nothing. During one scene, the dialogue works itself into a dead end and there is nothing left for the characters to do. There is an uncomfortable pause. Then, all of a sudden, another arbitrary fight scene begins.

Speaking of unmotivated action, there are so many double-crosses that it becomes exhausting trying to keep track of them all. It is impossible to get a grasp on anyone for very long, further alienating us from characters we already stopped caring about. Since pirates are infamous for their loyalty to no one, then some skullduggery is built into the nature of the movie. So then how exactly does the International Pirate Council function? If there is a worse idea for a pirate movie than an organized pirate union, I can’t think of one—except for maybe a much-hyped and completely thankless cameo from the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards. Depp has admitted that Richards is the inspiration for Sparrow’s look, so why did they give the guitarist a ridiculous fake nose? His recent off-the-cuff remarks about snorting his father’s ashes are funnier than anything he’s given to do here.

Screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio may have been responding to criticisms of the last movie by multiplying the number of Depp’s appearances. Unfortunately, rather than spread him generously throughout the film, they stuff multiple Jack Sparrows into a couple of otherworldly sequences. Funny? Yes. Enough? No. More Jack is definitely better, but all at once not only shoots your wad, it leaves the less-inspired characters to fend for themselves for 165 endless minutes, while the script ties to tie up every loose end from part two.

“At World’s End” has the inevitable duty of cleaning up after a sloppy sibling, but it didn’t have to emulate its older brother’s bad habits.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:47 pm

loser

Reply

2 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:47 pm

loser

Reply

3 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:47 pm

loser

Reply

4 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

^ = true

Reply

5 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

^ = true

Reply

6 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

^ = true

Reply

7 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

^^ = very very very true
movie = amazing

Reply

8 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

^^ = very very very true
movie = amazing

Reply

9 x x October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

^^ = very very very true
movie = amazing

Reply

10 x y October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

agreed. eric melin is a watermelin and is a loser yah?

Reply

11 x y October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

agreed. eric melin is a watermelin and is a loser yah?

Reply

12 x y October 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

agreed. eric melin is a watermelin and is a loser yah?

Reply

13 John April 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Who do you think you are this movie was amazing and if you think it sucked well then I’ll have no honor in knowing you and I want everyone to know this movie rocked so hard at the box office its hard to find people who hate it like this man here who I honestly don’t agree with in the LEAST

Reply

14 John April 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Who do you think you are this movie was amazing and if you think it sucked well then I’ll have no honor in knowing you and I want everyone to know this movie rocked so hard at the box office its hard to find people who hate it like this man here who I honestly don’t agree with in the LEAST

Reply

15 John April 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Who do you think you are this movie was amazing and if you think it sucked well then I’ll have no honor in knowing you and I want everyone to know this movie rocked so hard at the box office its hard to find people who hate it like this man here who I honestly don’t agree with in the LEAST

Reply

16 Spaceman April 30, 2008 at 12:22 am

Yeah, that maelstrom was freaking Awesome! Chow is the man!

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17 Spaceman April 30, 2008 at 12:22 am

Yeah, that maelstrom was freaking Awesome! Chow is the man!

Reply

18 Spaceman April 30, 2008 at 12:22 am

Yeah, that maelstrom was freaking Awesome! Chow is the man!

Reply

19 Rachel perry May 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm

that movie Rocked out loud i love orlando and keira is the best ever

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20 Rachel perry May 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm

that movie Rocked out loud i love orlando and keira is the best ever

Reply

21 Rachel perry May 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm

that movie Rocked out loud i love orlando and keira is the best ever

Reply

22 Junior Pirate August 30, 2008 at 12:58 am

Just because you don’t understand this movie you shouldn’t say that it’s a snorefest. If you had paid a bit more attention maybe you would understand as much as I do.
Here, I’ll explain:
Everyone is going to save Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones locker.
Elizabeth is going because she feels guilty about killing jack and sending him in the first place.
William is going because he wants to have the Black Pearl (which is in the locker with Jack) so he can use to save his father from Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman.
Tia Dalma is going because she is Calypso (the sea goddess) And she needs Jack to come back because he is a pirate lord and the pirate lords intend to go to the meeting of the brethren court (like pirate politics) and release Calypso from her human form so she can be in the form of a god again.
Barbossa was reincarnated by Tia Dalma. (She reincarnated him for the same reason she wants to bring Jack back, as Barbossa is a pirate lord as well.) Barbossa wants to set Calypso free and the only way to do that is to bring Jack back.

The reason that Will and Elizabeth are fighting is because Will saw Elizabeth kiss Jack in Dead Mans Chest. Will then thought that she loved Jack instead of him. Then when Will found out that Elizabeth kissed Jack to kill him, Will was hurt that Elizabeth didn’t tell him herself. Elizabeth was then mad at Will when he led a mutiny against Jack and Barbossa and didn’t tell her that he was planning this, so they are actually fighting due to a lack of communication between the two of them.

Keith Richards appearance as the keeper of the code as well as being Jack Sparrows father provides us with information(if not anything else then at least information about the state of Jack’s mother.) and gives Jack Sparrow advice on living forever.

I hope that clears up most of the confusion. I think that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was a great movie and that you should get your facts right before giving it a bad reveiw.

Reply

23 Junior Pirate August 30, 2008 at 12:58 am

Just because you don’t understand this movie you shouldn’t say that it’s a snorefest. If you had paid a bit more attention maybe you would understand as much as I do.
Here, I’ll explain:
Everyone is going to save Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones locker.
Elizabeth is going because she feels guilty about killing jack and sending him in the first place.
William is going because he wants to have the Black Pearl (which is in the locker with Jack) so he can use to save his father from Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman.
Tia Dalma is going because she is Calypso (the sea goddess) And she needs Jack to come back because he is a pirate lord and the pirate lords intend to go to the meeting of the brethren court (like pirate politics) and release Calypso from her human form so she can be in the form of a god again.
Barbossa was reincarnated by Tia Dalma. (She reincarnated him for the same reason she wants to bring Jack back, as Barbossa is a pirate lord as well.) Barbossa wants to set Calypso free and the only way to do that is to bring Jack back.

The reason that Will and Elizabeth are fighting is because Will saw Elizabeth kiss Jack in Dead Mans Chest. Will then thought that she loved Jack instead of him. Then when Will found out that Elizabeth kissed Jack to kill him, Will was hurt that Elizabeth didn’t tell him herself. Elizabeth was then mad at Will when he led a mutiny against Jack and Barbossa and didn’t tell her that he was planning this, so they are actually fighting due to a lack of communication between the two of them.

Keith Richards appearance as the keeper of the code as well as being Jack Sparrows father provides us with information(if not anything else then at least information about the state of Jack’s mother.) and gives Jack Sparrow advice on living forever.

I hope that clears up most of the confusion. I think that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was a great movie and that you should get your facts right before giving it a bad reveiw.

Reply

24 Junior Pirate August 30, 2008 at 12:58 am

Just because you don’t understand this movie you shouldn’t say that it’s a snorefest. If you had paid a bit more attention maybe you would understand as much as I do.
Here, I’ll explain:
Everyone is going to save Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones locker.
Elizabeth is going because she feels guilty about killing jack and sending him in the first place.
William is going because he wants to have the Black Pearl (which is in the locker with Jack) so he can use to save his father from Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman.
Tia Dalma is going because she is Calypso (the sea goddess) And she needs Jack to come back because he is a pirate lord and the pirate lords intend to go to the meeting of the brethren court (like pirate politics) and release Calypso from her human form so she can be in the form of a god again.
Barbossa was reincarnated by Tia Dalma. (She reincarnated him for the same reason she wants to bring Jack back, as Barbossa is a pirate lord as well.) Barbossa wants to set Calypso free and the only way to do that is to bring Jack back.

The reason that Will and Elizabeth are fighting is because Will saw Elizabeth kiss Jack in Dead Mans Chest. Will then thought that she loved Jack instead of him. Then when Will found out that Elizabeth kissed Jack to kill him, Will was hurt that Elizabeth didn’t tell him herself. Elizabeth was then mad at Will when he led a mutiny against Jack and Barbossa and didn’t tell her that he was planning this, so they are actually fighting due to a lack of communication between the two of them.

Keith Richards appearance as the keeper of the code as well as being Jack Sparrows father provides us with information(if not anything else then at least information about the state of Jack’s mother.) and gives Jack Sparrow advice on living forever.

I hope that clears up most of the confusion. I think that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was a great movie and that you should get your facts right before giving it a bad reveiw.

Reply

25 Eric Melin August 30, 2008 at 2:57 am

Jr. P-
Considering the length of your plot summary, you kinda proved my point for me. Let me explain better. I “get” what the movie was going for. All these moments in the story can be easily recounted as happening the way you say they did, but did they make emotional sense? No. The characters went to these places because the script said they had to, not because they were drawn so well and merely set into motion like they would be in a good movie. This was an overly long and contrived plot that needed to go down this way for the writers to complete the task at hand. Too bad it was at the expense of good storytelling, some great special-effects teams, and some fine actors who just couldn’t make it emotional by any stretch of the word.

Reply

26 Eric Melin August 30, 2008 at 2:57 am

Jr. P-
Considering the length of your plot summary, you kinda proved my point for me. Let me explain better. I “get” what the movie was going for. All these moments in the story can be easily recounted as happening the way you say they did, but did they make emotional sense? No. The characters went to these places because the script said they had to, not because they were drawn so well and merely set into motion like they would be in a good movie. This was an overly long and contrived plot that needed to go down this way for the writers to complete the task at hand. Too bad it was at the expense of good storytelling, some great special-effects teams, and some fine actors who just couldn’t make it emotional by any stretch of the word.

Reply

27 Eric Melin August 30, 2008 at 2:57 am

Jr. P-
Considering the length of your plot summary, you kinda proved my point for me. Let me explain better. I “get” what the movie was going for. All these moments in the story can be easily recounted as happening the way you say they did, but did they make emotional sense? No. The characters went to these places because the script said they had to, not because they were drawn so well and merely set into motion like they would be in a good movie. This was an overly long and contrived plot that needed to go down this way for the writers to complete the task at hand. Too bad it was at the expense of good storytelling, some great special-effects teams, and some fine actors who just couldn’t make it emotional by any stretch of the word.

Reply

28 Samantha October 11, 2008 at 10:21 am

Too bad it most definitely WAS emotional. Or, i’m sorry, did you miss the fact that they’re PIRATES, and therefore act on impulses and needs, rather than love and friendship. Seeing as these absolutely amazing actors and actresses were playing characters who will do WHATEVER it takes to survive, i think they did an excellent job portraying the most wonderful pirates to have ever sailed the seven seas!

Reply

29 Samantha October 11, 2008 at 10:21 am

Too bad it most definitely WAS emotional. Or, i’m sorry, did you miss the fact that they’re PIRATES, and therefore act on impulses and needs, rather than love and friendship. Seeing as these absolutely amazing actors and actresses were playing characters who will do WHATEVER it takes to survive, i think they did an excellent job portraying the most wonderful pirates to have ever sailed the seven seas!

Reply

30 Samantha October 11, 2008 at 10:21 am

Too bad it most definitely WAS emotional. Or, i’m sorry, did you miss the fact that they’re PIRATES, and therefore act on impulses and needs, rather than love and friendship. Seeing as these absolutely amazing actors and actresses were playing characters who will do WHATEVER it takes to survive, i think they did an excellent job portraying the most wonderful pirates to have ever sailed the seven seas!

Reply

31 Jaeh March 24, 2009 at 2:30 am

I was a fan of POTC, and the third killed it.

And so I agree.

Reply

32 Jaeh March 24, 2009 at 2:30 am

I was a fan of POTC, and the third killed it.

And so I agree.

Reply

33 Jaeh March 24, 2009 at 2:30 am

I was a fan of POTC, and the third killed it.

And so I agree.

Reply

34 J. E. Gorman August 6, 2009 at 8:57 am

I am very curious if any one might happen to know what kind of guitar that Keith Richards is playing in ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3′ It appears to be a 10-string restrung down to just 6. I found a Iota of info surfing along the lines of it being a -Sea Turtle Guitar that he allegedly misappropriated from the set. Any leads would be awesome. Thanx

Reply

35 J. E. Gorman August 6, 2009 at 8:57 am

I am very curious if any one might happen to know what kind of guitar that Keith Richards is playing in ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3′ It appears to be a 10-string restrung down to just 6. I found a Iota of info surfing along the lines of it being a -Sea Turtle Guitar that he allegedly misappropriated from the set. Any leads would be awesome. Thanx

Reply

36 J. E. Gorman August 6, 2009 at 8:57 am

I am very curious if any one might happen to know what kind of guitar that Keith Richards is playing in ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3′ It appears to be a 10-string restrung down to just 6. I found a Iota of info surfing along the lines of it being a -Sea Turtle Guitar that he allegedly misappropriated from the set. Any leads would be awesome. Thanx

Reply

37 J to the town January 4, 2010 at 10:52 am

This film was a giant suckfest.

Reply

38 J to the town January 4, 2010 at 10:52 am

This film was a giant suckfest.

Reply

39 J to the town January 4, 2010 at 10:52 am

This film was a giant suckfest.

Reply

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