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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END
A DAMN GOOD FINAL MOVIE OF THE TRILOGY

I love pirates, and was pretty disappointed with the first 2 Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I found the storytelling to be messy and the pacing a bit too slow and plodding, but Johnny Depp's performances at least made them worth watching.

Pirate movies have long got a bad rap. After a heyday with Errol Flynn swashbuckling pictures back in the day, the 80s and 90s just couldn't make a good Pirate movie. We had Kristi McNichol and Christopher Atkins in The Pirate Movie, Roman Polanski's Pirates, and the ludicrous Cutthroat Island.

Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean is like a sacred place for me. Amidst all the commercialism and feel good Disney vibes throughout the park, it was and remains a moral free orgy of violence and destruction. No feel good bullshit of "It's a Small World", or some goofy retelling of an established Disney classic, just the simple message of "A Pirate's Life For Me". I wished to hell that Disney would make a balls out cartoon based on the ride, and they aimed even higher with this film series.

The third installment pays homage to what makes the ride so fantastic. It's as if the people behind the trilogy closed their eyes, took a deep breath, and remembered what's really so great about pirates.

The opening sequence of the film is so grim and brutal you'd hardly believe Disney was behind it. It sets the tone to let you know Beckett Jones and his East India Trading Company isn't some prissy bunch of opportunists, but some truly evil bastards who commit unspeakably wicked acts. Let's face it, Pirates are typically bad guys, so you have to really turn things upside down to make you root for them. Needless to say, Tom Hollander does a great job of making his character just horrifyingly bad.

I found the chain of double crossings and twists a lot more organic and easy to follow than the previous films, and the story is much more solid than the previous efforts. Though I wouldn't reccommend seeing this without at least checking Part 2 out first to appreciate the Davy Jones character's motivations, it's got a good beginning middle and end that the first and second installments were sorely lacking.

The characters are now firmly established enough to make them a lot more deep and meaningful. Orlando Bloom even manages to make Will Turner exciting and tough for the first time. My surprise favorite in this movie is Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa who is a textbook crazy charismatic pirate throughout, with just the right mixture of humor, insanity, and toughness. There's a scene where their ship is in a perilous situation, and while the rest of the crew is holding on for dear life, Barbossa just laughs like a maniac with waves spraying all over him. During his fight scenes he's clearly the most fearsome of the entire cast.

Depp's Jack Sparrow is still a thing of beauty. Though he doesn't have the over the top humorous lines that were present in the first two, he still owns every scene he's in. I'll admit there's some creative devices with his character better left unsaid that I bet you'll think get a little ridiculous at times, but they aren't bad enough to spoil the movie.

Keira Knightley is way more asskicking and awesome as Elizabeth Swann this time around, and once she puts on her Chinese pirate outfit, she's pretty kickass to look at as well.

The script also lets Bill Nighy do an awful lot more with the Davy Jones character. There's a few times when he's walking around that ILM's CGI work looks a bit choppy and weird, but that tentacle covered face of his is still a thing of beauty. There's a scene where he kills somebody by strangling them and shoving this squirmy tendrils into their mouth that's truly look away from the screen horrifying.

I'm actually surprised this movie maintained a PG-13 rating. There's no single thing that would make it R rated, but the violence, mayhem, and numerous disturbing murder scenes really push the boundaries. It's definitely a rating I'd seriously observe for kids that are 10 or under.

It all builds to a climax that's super exciting and thrilling, with a battle that's pretty much a pirate masturbation fantasy. No matter which character is your favorite, you're going to get a payoff you really enjoy.

The film winds up with an ending that's very satisfying if it's the last one they ever make, but still leaves things open perfectly to give you some more.

Also, it's got one of the more rewarding and sweet "after the credits are over" scenes you'll ever see.

Another fun thing I caught is a scene where everything goes black after a big action scene is through, and you can hear audio from the Disneyland Ride, including a the ominous "Dead Men Tell No Tales" from that talking skull you see right before you go down the waterfall. It's a brilliant "cameo" that gave me goosebumps.

Another brilliant cameo is the not so secret appearance of Keith Richards as Jack Sparrow's father. I had high hopes for this, and was not disappointed in the least. But while I expected a super exaggeration of Depp's drunken fay mannerisms, I was surprised to see Richards cut a truly fucking scary and imposing character that looks like a mixture of Satan and Captain Hook.

If you liked the first two films, you'll love this. If you didn't like the first two so much, you still might love it.

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com



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