Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End

With the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End on this Memorial Day weekend, we have what some may say is the continuation of the Holy Trinity of Summer movies. We had the third film of an incredibly popular movie franchise this season. It started off, at least for this one reviewer with a bang with Spiderman 3, and then kind of flattened a little with Shrek the Third, and for some finishes with the third installment of the third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End. One could say it is the Trinity, except we will see more non originality with additional sequels this summer and some of them the third in their franchise.

I have to admit, the concept of Trinity, a religious term to be used with this particular film is somewhat misleading, as there was really not much Holy about the film. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go the same route of no originality that many do, in fact, I like the return of quality characters. The last James Bond movie was among the best. I liked the last Spiderman, and I could name others. I wanted the same thing from POTC: At Worlds End as I attended the showing with 4 others. Instead of a religious experience though, one I could fully enjoy and be entertained by, I at times was bored to the point of almost falling asleep. POTC: At Worlds End, may simply put, be the biggest disappointment of the summer season. I can’t say that for certain yet as the season is just underway, but it is hard to imagine a larger disappointment.

There are many things about an action movie I enjoy, I enjoy the action, but I also enjoy a great story being told by great craftsman, whether they are a Director of Production, or a quality actor. I have found that with a great story, that some of the things I look for in a film can be lacking as long as the story flows and I get something out of it. POTC: At Worlds End falls flat in a number of areas.

Johnny Depp is back, and you have to realize, Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors on the planet. I actually commented in my first review of Pirates of the Caribbean way back when that Johnny Depp portrayed every pirate I ever imagined as a child. Imagine how impressed I was when I found out that Johnny Depp’s web site used that quote. Again, I love Johnny Depp. That being said, of all of the portrayals of Captain Jack Sparrow, this is the most flat, and non entertaining of all. The dialog is not nearly up to par with the other films. I could easily say that about virtually every other character of this movie in regards to the acting we see, the direction provided, and the script itself. The only area I was very pleased with was with the Special Effects. There is one final battle scene where we see an officer walking down the stairs of his command onto the deck of his ship as it is being blown to smithereens. I have to say, the effects of this scene alone, almost makes the movie worth the price of admission. It is one of the most beautiful scenes of destruction I have ever seen in a movie. In fact virtually all of the special effects are up to par and beyond what one would expect from a Pirates of the Caribbean film.

Another disappointing aspect of POTC: At Worlds End is that we have a lot of untold story between the last film and this one. True this is something films of this nature suffer from, it is possible for one to see continuity of story without getting lost. I and the others with me, always good to have along as an impartial judge, found ourselves lost at times trying to figure everything out. We simply couldn’t follow the script of the story. It was one of the things that added to the boredom of the movie for each person in my group. The story jumps from one character to another, with so much dialog that it is simply impossible to follow along. Those we have seen as friends and lovers in the past, we become confused as to their role because of the mixed messages we see portrayed on screen. Those who were ghosts now seem to be human, and those who were human now appear as ghosts, and to complicate things, some characters flow back and forth between human and ghost with the viewer never having any idea as to what is going to happen. Simply put, there is so much character involvement, not development but involvement from the numerous cast members and characters that the story simply doesn’t flow.

There are aspects of the film that we can see some value in. There is the continuation of love between the characters played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. There is much that can be said here, and the relationship between these two, plus the added role involvement by Geoffrey Rush make this movie worth watching. While we see the importance of love, with the characters Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, we also see the ability of change and acceptance by the character of Barbossa. I would have personally liked to have seen more depth given to Geoffrey Rush’s character but to watch Geoffrey Rush act is a real pleasure, and we see more of him here than any other POTC movie. I will also say, one can’t fully understand, or appreciate the love story between Turner and Swan unless they stay through to the end of the credits and see the hepiloguej. More on that later though.

Not only do we see the aspects of change for the better as with the character Barbossa, and love as with Turner and Swan, we see the aspect of what occurs when one is not willing to change and when one is not willing to let go of pride. The unwillingness to change behavior, actions and to hold on to pride is concepts that one can quickly see leads to destruction. As is the case in most aspects, it is ultimately love that conquers all, love whether from a man, a woman, or even a friend. Those themes we see carried on in POTC: At Worlds End just as in the other films. These are reminders to all of us of the power of love, and of the fact that it is ultimately love that is one of the only things that is worth fighting for.

There was a lot about POTC: At Worlds End, that even though it has positive attributes I didn’t care for. The fact that it was simply boring is something I have to comment on. With the exception of the last 30 minutes of the film, it was primarily story that was hard to follow and was so bad at times; you could literally hear people snoring from falling asleep around the theater. Not a good sign when going to an early matinee. There is the return of characters I love, and appreciate, and even at their worse, are still better than many characters you see in movies today. While Depp falls flat, he still has his moments, how can he not? While the story is flat and boring, there are still some of the best special effects you will see in a movie, done so well they almost carry this movie.

There is a lot more I could say, but for almost 15 people, the only 15 who stayed until the end of the credits, only we got to see the entire movie, and leave with a positive feeling. You see the movie that ended just prior to the credits had several people wondering and somewhat disappointed. That is a shame because anyone who has read my reviews knows of the coining of the term hepiloguej that I coined with the first POTC movie and have used numerous times since for other movies. A hepiloguej is an addition at the end of the movie credits that add to the story itself. This is a short clip that shows additional important scenes. It is not an out take reel, but an added ingredient to the movie. As per tradition, POTC: At Worlds End has a hepiloguej. In fact the scene at the end of the credits may be the most important hepiloguej ever included in a movie. It is a lengthy clip in fact that really gives a great deal of detail and information to the movie. It continues the story, and opens the door in a wide way for the continuation of this series. If it doesn’t continue, it will certainly give a worthy conclusion that answers many questions that the viewer would want to have answered. Now to also follow my tradition when making comment of a hepiloguej, I won’t give any answers. If you want answers, learn to stay until the end of the credits, when the movie truly ends. Otherwise, leaving early could result in you not knowing the true ending of a movie, as is the case with POTC: At Worlds End

On a scale of 1 – 10 for the five friend who went with me, a disappointing 5
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