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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Film Three Stars

I loved the first film in the franchise, it really was a lot of fun and I too, fell in love with the characters and their relationships. It was a superbly crafted script and it had something for everyone, then there were the effects and the set pieces which just boosted the film up another level. This was what blockbusters were all about.

Then came the second, and it brought a boat load of disappointment along with it. There are two things that characterise the film for me, one are the set pieces which look like new additions to the theme park ride, and the second is the missing act.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Filmstalker review) was not a complete film. There were two acts and the third act was completely missing, held off for a third film, and at the time it seemed as though it was going to be stretched into one whole third film.

So I was less than excited to see the third instalment in the franchise, thinking that it might just be an elongated third act, and in some aspects I was surprised, and in others disappointed.

POTC-WorldsEnd_Poster.jpgFirst up congratulations to the Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Cinema who were packed to the gunnels with people, I don't think there was more than the one odd seat free, and that made for a great cinema experience. Huge thanks to the lovely ladies who helped me with this review. As always your help is invaluable and your cinema is stonking. Now, back to the film.

This film sees the regulars heading off to try and save Captain Jack Sparrow from the fate of the previous film and bring him back for an urgent meeting of the Pirate chiefs. An urgent meeting is required because the East Indian Tea Company is using Davy Jones and his ship to capture as many pirates as they can, interrogate them, and execute them.

It seems that they aren't just content with the power that the heart of Davy Jones offers them, as there's something that could be more powerful than that out there, something controlled by the nine pieces of eight held by the pirate chiefs.

That's pretty much your story to begin with, and if you haven't just watched the second in the series then you're likely to be lost and confused from the outset and there's a bit of catching up to do. Even then I found the first half of the film pretty confusing.

There are multiple plot threads opened up, with new characters and agendas for just about everyone involved, so you'll have to keep up, and at times I found it slightly difficult, or rather confusing.

For instance the character of Sao Feng, played by Chow Yun-Fat, is whole heartedly wasted and hardly has more than two decent scenes on screen. I was disappointed by this as I thought that his character deserved more time than it did.

That's not the only plot line that seems to go nowhere, that of Calypso is another that is built up and just peters out to nothing. A point I'll come back to later, but let us stay with the early part of the film.

There's an interesting plot line started between Will and his father, Bootstrap. This is shown best when Elizabeth is talking to Bootstrap aboard Davy Jones ship. The scene is extremely personal and very touching, building emotion and showing a strong bond between Elizabeth and Will. It explains to Elizabeth why Will is making the decisions he is as well as showing that Bootstrap is losing his mind to the boat and is struggling to remember his son.

Yet after this extremely strong moment, which seems to set up a powerful story, it falls to the background and loses its power and direction. This could have had some hugely emotional scenes with Will and his father, and yet it is left to later as an all too obvious plot progression moment, weakly distracting a character.

I was confused by plot lines such as the early relationship between Elizabeth and Will, a relationship that feels strained and contrived throughout the whole film. They remain estranged for most of the film, not talking or trying to understand each other's situation to heighten the feelings with the audience when they finally get back together.

It's an annoying ploy when it isn't hidden by other storylines, and something that is continually used in television soaps and feels painfully contrived here.

Another plotline problem that I found with the early part of the story is when everyone is standing on beach and Jack is talking about those that have tried to kill him. When he says that one has, referring to the last film, people turn surprised to Elizabeth, and it's then that the realise, and yet that's really the last we hear of it. With such an earth shattering character revelation it just seems like everyone gets over it.

Okay, I'm going to stop talking about the negatives in the plot after I pick out the last, major one. For me this was probably the biggest issue I had with the film and had me looking at the screen wondering what was happening.

I'm not going to talk too much about this one because it is a big plot spoiler, but the story line with Calypso is huge, and that's the way it's built. However when the moment comes for the plotline to explode, what we get is an overblown and oversized effect which looks terrible and out of place, and for a god like character the revenge Calypso wrecks is weak and just peters out.

However, all that said there are some great things about this film, but it doesn't really get going until we get to the scenes where the pirate chiefs convene and the plot has actually come to the crucial point.

It's here that the feeling of Pirates of the Caribbean really does come back, and we get that twisting, turning story that seems to turn time and time again in front of our eyes mixed with huge action pieces that don't just feel like the new ride at Disney.

When this moment comes and the huge sequences begin, we get what a blockbuster should deliver, a blockbuster at the very top of the pile, by a mile. This last act is what makes this franchise such a great series of films. Action, adventure, humour, great storytelling and amazing effects, if only it had all been present through the last film and a half.

The ending is very strong, just building scene after scene from the pirate chief meeting, and gives us the characters we know and love from the first film. It's also an ending filled with surprises, one huge surprise in particular which really turns the tables on what we expect, but also delivers what we want at the same time.

Oh, and stay until after the credits as there's a wonderful scene…However what it all does is leave us with scope, scope for a fourth film, or more likely for spin offs.

Away from the plot line, the music is superb and helps the story throughout, but it also stands well on its own and heightens the emotional aspects.

As for the effects, apart from the awful Calypso moment the rest of the film is quite literally stunning. The ship battle sequences are amazing to watch and they are utterly convincing.

The cinematography was also superb, whether that be the backdrops of cliffs or the amazing white sands scenes, and combined with the effects and the production design made the film look wonderful, and a rightful king of the blockbusters.

Overall though I think that the film could have had the multiple plotlines cut down and pulled into the second film, I'm not so sure it needed three films to tell this tale.

Still the film is great fun and a rollicking adventure, and once it gets back into the swing of things it does become a good Pirates of the Caribbean film.

What is probably most surprising about this film though is how dark it is, much more than the previous two and much more adult. Although I don't think that it should necessarily have had a higher rating, it was a much stronger film that carried much deeper emotions than the rest and showed them in a much more real world and darker way.


UK IMDB Film Details
Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema





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Comments

Way too generous giving it a 5 Richard.

I didn't! It's a four...and that's a push.

Oh silly me, I thought you gave it a 5, but still, a 4 is too much, I was bored it most parts of it!

Anyway, just glad that my posts are all coming out now! :D

Actually you know, you are right. I've been talking about this film with friends since and I have been much more negative about it than a four.

So it is done. Down to a three.

HAHAHAHAHA Now that's better, more like an on hindsight review eh?

I just gave it a 2 out of 5. 1 point for Johnny Depp and 1 point for ILM.

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