Warning. Here be Spoilers. Kind of.
Alright, I’ll do my best to not give too much away, but I may mention a few things which may spoil your enjoyment so if you really don’t want to know anything, click away now!
So, the cinema threesome (that’s me, Debbie and Debbie’s sister Jacqueline) descended upon our local mulitplex for the advanced showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End“. This is arguably this year’s most anticipated film and possibly the biggest film ever.
Does it live up to its hype? That depends on the type of film you expect to see. If you are looking to be immersed in a believable alternate world with logical rules and sound principles then you’ll probably come away feeling disappointed. If you’re after a pop-corn munching blockbuster with jaw-dropping special effects, implausible set-pieces and more swashbuckling than you ever thought possible then you’re in for a treat.
The size of the film its biggest attraction and its biggest problem. All too often the plot is put aside for the film to move forward. The writers make up get-out-of-jail clauses regularly (“a pirate-wizard did it!”) and add to pirate mythology to suit their needs. This often leaves you scratching your head at large chunks of pirate-babble (“There are nine pieces of eight which were used to bind her to her human form!”). Characters throughout the trilogy are killed off and brought back with flippant disregard for logic or sentiment which removes any emotional gravitas from the script. You stop caring about them if you know that they can be restored with a little bit of mumbo-jumbo and an old map.
Rules set up in the first and second films get undone with regularity, too. Davy Jones can’t step foot on land but for one day each ten years! Well. Unless it’s a little strip of sand and he’s in a bucket of water. Duh.
The plot itself also gets muddled up when the characters continually switch sides, switch allegiances, and back-stab each other more times than a room full of Norman Bates. This often leaves you concussed as the plot-guns fire more often than the iron on The Black Pearl.
But. And this a Jennifer Lopez sized but. It really doesn’t matter because the film is just so bloody awesome. This is not a big and clever film. This is about blowing the seven bells of shit out of boats in the most spectacular fashion possible.
The actual momentum of the film is non-stop. It’s bum numbing 168 minutes long but you don’t really notice as you’re constantly thrilled. Johnny Depp is outstanding as the slightly drunk and slightly camp Captain Jack Sparrow who is a little darker and a little more driven than his Wild-E-Coyote slap-stick antics of the second film. Geoffrey Rush is superb as Captain Barbossa and the rest of the cast don’t miss a beat. Orlando Bloom is given significantly more to do and rises to the occasion. Depp and Rush share some memorable scenes as they continually try to out-do each other to genuine comical effect. Oh, and Bill Nighy is brilliant as Davy Jones.
Special mention must go to Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook as the hilarious Pintel and Ragetti who are at the beating heart of the films moments of levity. These two could easily do a spin-off series or movie.
You have to watch this on the big screen to appreciate the effects. They are absolutely flawless. Every wrinkle and drop of rain is rendered perfectly to Davy Jones’ squid-like face. The final set-piece is one of the finest in cinema history. It’s Pirates v England in a whirlpool. Guns crack, wood flies, bullets whizz, Captain Sparrow leaps, swords clatter together and a marriage takes place. It’s a breathless exercise in what you can achieve when money isn’t an object.
There are some artistically beautiful moments where the director gets to flex his creative muscle. The scene where Lord Cutler Beckett gets his comeuppance will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand when the music swells and… well, you just have to watch it.
Buckle your swash, find a comfortable seat, put aside your skepticism and enjoy one of the more entertaining films in recent history.