The first month of this years summer of sequels ended with the release of the third chapter in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" saga, "At World's End". And like "Spider-Man 3" from earlier this month, Pirates 3 makes for a good matinee popcorn munching movie, but suffers from covering a few plot lines too many.
The things that were good about the original Pirates movie are still good in the third. The settings are well developed, and it seems like no expense was spared on the special effects. Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow clearly is the life blood of the franchise with Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom returning as their mostly forgettable selves. The most interesting other characters are the villains or the bit part pirates that make up the crew of the Black Pearl.
Unlike the original Pirates movie, "Curse of the Black Pearl", which when it arrived in screens, was a refreshing new adventure with a plot that sailed free and clear of any ties except the subtle nods to details from the amusement park ride. The latest Pirates installment starts with loads of heavy baggage and plot threads from the previous two films that it attempts to wrap up, before it finally ends almost three hours later.
If you want to follow the At World's End story along, it helps if you can re-watch the second Pirates movie, "Dead Man's Chest" before going to see the third. And doing so will remind you how annoying it felt last summer when we got to watch half a story, that resolved nothing and left the audience hanging in a lurch for an entire year before the third film came out. As a complete five and half hour epic saga, the last two Pirates movies play well together, though it all seems bloated and run longer than needed.
However even with all the extra screen time, the Pirates creators found room to waste talent like Chow Yun-Fat and destroy the awesome sea monster from the second film, the Kraken, off screen so that the first time you see it again in the third is when its washed up corpse is discovered by the Pirates gang. Despite the shortcomings, Pirates 3 has enough moments to keep it amusing. The initial scenes with Jack Sparrow's surreal episode inside of Davy Jones locker is freaky fun at its best. And when the much touted cameo by Keith Richards finally rolls on, it somehow seems worth the wait.
So how does Pirates stack up to other trilogies? It's not as excellent as the "Lord of the Rings", and yet not as abysmal as "the Matrix". If you need an air conditioned room to be in on a hot day, then the three hour Pirates 3 ride may be the ticket for you. And be sure to stay until the end of the closing credits, where the Pirates creators take a final stab to tie up another loose thread at Worlds' End.
Happy to survive the first month in our summer of sequels, for Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2007 - Purple - Air Date: 5/30/07
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
USA - 2007