Words By S.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Filed under: Film — S @ 10:27 am

Pirates movie poster

I wanted to wait until after the opening weekend to write this, but then thought, why? If you don’t want the film ruined for you, just don’t read it. Simple as that.

The third Prates installment, At World’s End is an interesting film, for sure. I saw it last night in a packed theatre. It was a good thing we fandangoed our tickets, or else we definitely would not have gotten in. We arrived at the theatre about 40 minutes early, thinking that it would help us get good seats easier, only to be greeted by a humongous line. We got decent seats (we ended up not having to sit in the very first row, thankfully) and commented on how few people dressed up like pirates, as we would have originally have thought. There were a few that wore full pirate garb, full maiden garb, eye patches, and Mickey Mouse ears with pirate bandannas on.

Interesting, to say the least.

The movie started off quite eerily. Actually, it was downright creepy. The opening is a new ordinance being read that says “anyone who is a pirate, harbors a pirate, or aids a pirate in any way will be put to immediate death, no trial.” As the ordinance is being read, the viewer watches as droves of prisoners are lead to the gallows to be hanged. The bodies are then cut down, thrown into a pile, and the next lot is up. This continues until a small boy, could be no more than ten, is lead to the gallows. He is holding a coin and starts to sing:

Yo ho, all together
Hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and beggars
Never shall we die.

It gets creepy, however, as one by one everyone at the gallows starts to sing with him, as well as the hundreds, possibly thousands of prisoners waiting to take their turn. It’s similar to the Mickey Mouse Club song being sung in Full Metal Jacket by all the soldiers in Vietnam marching among snipers, bombs and desecrated buildings and carnage.

Top of the list of “Creepiest Moments on film” for sure.

Cut to a disguised Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) singing the same song while rowing along a river in Singapore, where the true action begins. It is here that we meet Sao Feng (played by Chao Yun-Fat) and his Chinese crew of pirates as they face off with Swann, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and their crew.

It is also in the opening where this installment starts feeling really bizarre, what with all the mutinies going across the board. It almost seems as though everyone has a mutiny against everyone, to the point that at some moments, it’s just confusing and we’re left wondering why it is that these people are even working together in the first place.

But, all goes well, and Swann, Barbossa and crew get Sao Feng to agree to give them a ship and crew so that the may go to Davy Jones’ Locker to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp).

As the crew is doing their death defying sail to save him, we see just how Jack Sparrow is faring in this place of death and isolation. In a scene that felt as if I was watching Secret Window all over again, we see Sparrow aboard The Pearl hallucinating and just going crazy. Envisioning himself as both the captain and crew, we witness his madness in a somewhat comical sense (we also get the pleasure of seeing numerous shirtless Depps which is a treat in itself). It was beautifully acted and funny, but it felt all too familiar.

As the story goes along and Sparrow is rescued, we find out that there are even more secret motives in this film. Elizabeth Swann has her own, private reasons for wanting to rescue Jack; Barbossa has his reasons; Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) seems to sort of just be there for the ride, as he merely wants to get to the Flying Dutchman in order to save his father. A very funny moment in the film occurs when Sparrow asks, “Did anyone want to rescue me just because they missed me?” which also seems to set a theme for the entire film.

As illustrated in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Sparrow does explain that the pirate nature is to be underhanded and dishonest, “you can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest,” and this seems to overtake At World’s End a bit too much. There was a moment in the film when I turned to my friend and remarked, “this is like watching The Godfather“. As the movie went on, there was even more mutinying as Sparrow makes his own secret deals with all the captains for his own gains.

Though the film is set up to be that Swann, Barbossa, Turner, and Sparrow are the heroes, I found myself wondering if anyone but Barbossa is actually a hero in the film. This film had a lot of good qualities to it, but it had an outstanding number of bad qualities.

There are a lot of funny moments in the film – not least is the addition of Keith Richards as Sparrow’s father. There are also a number of supernatural themes running throughout the film, not limited to the Calypso storyline. The most annoying storyline, however, is the William Turner/Elizabeth Swann love story. The one moment of true heroism, and the largest fight scene in the entire film, is completely ruined by the marriage of Turner and Swann. The absurdness of having the two of them share a newly wedded kiss in the middle of an all out war on the sea was unbelievable and disappointing.

It was said that At World’s End would be the final installment in the Pirates series, however the left the ending wide open for more to be included. My only hope is that, having resolved the Turner/Swann story, should they decide to make more, that the two of them will be left out.

In all, I didn’t hate this film, but I most certainly didn’t love it. Perhaps giving it another viewing or giving more than 12 hours for it to sink in would give birth to a final opinion of the film rather than uncertainty. However, I have most definitely seen much much worse.



  1. What do you think of Keira Knightly’s chin. Some people fanatasize about her digging it into their backs.

    Comment by Gorilla Bananas — Saturday, 26 May 2007 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  2. I think Keira Knightly is obnoxious. Period. I HATE how she juts her chin out, always keeps her mouth partially open, and clenches her teeth in a lame attempt to make her mouth look “pouty”. It’s really distracting as well.

    Comment by S — Saturday, 26 May 2007 @ 11:35 am | Reply

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