Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is good summer entertainment. Read on:
Having been largely ambivalent toward the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films, I had few specific expectations going into At World’s End — the series’ finale. That’s not to say I had low expectations, mind you; Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man’s Chest were passingly entertaining and professionally executed, if nothing else. But even with Johnny Depp back at the helm and director Gore Verbinski guiding the voyage so to speak, doubt remained as to whether the series could eventually join the ranks of classic franchises. Sure, as a bullet point in pop culture, its position is assured. But as an integral part of movie history — Depp’s iconic turn as Sparrow notwithstanding — the only legacy that Pirates seems poised to leave is the distinction of it being the first major series about seafaring swashbucklers to succeed financially.
And while Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End does indeed satisfactorily tie up all of the loose ends introduced in the other two installments, a fitting finale for what has become one of the most successful trilogies in recent history, there is little in its labyrinthine plotlines and countless character developments to earn it the timeless appeal that has secured the likes of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings their classic status in the annals of cinema.
Part of the reason for this is the fact that At World’s End feels in a lot of ways like a pastiche of other sequels. At the end of Dead Man’s Chest, Depp’s Jack Sparrow succumbed to an untimely demise at the hands of the Kraken — a setback a la Han Solo’s carbon storage at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Enlisting the help of a resurrected Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) contact Chinese pirate Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) to help them retrieve Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker for an overdue meeting with the legendary Lords of the Brethren Court. (Imagine the Tatooine sequence from Return of the Jedi with Knightley in the slave bikini instead of Carrie Fisher and you have the right idea.)
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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End opens in Theatres: May 25th, 2007.