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Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Gore Verbinski|
scr Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
with Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Hollander, Bill Nighy Chow Yun-Fat, Naomie Harris, Jack Davenport, Mackenzie Crook, Lee Arenberg, Kevin R McNally, Stellan Skarsgard, Jonathan Pryce, Omid Djalili, Keith Richards
release UK 24.May.07,
07/US Disney 2h48
Let's make a deal: Bloom and Depp
At nearly three hours, this film feels even more endless than Part 2. But the filmmakers have just enough surprises up their sleeves to keep us gripped, and laughing, right through the impenetrable, overwrought plot.
As Lord Cutler Beckett (Hollander) takes over the oceans with the help of Norrington (Davenport) and the heart of Davy Jones (Nighy), our heroes Elizabeth (Knightley), Will (Bloom) and Barbossa (Rush) head for Singapore on a last-gasp mission to reclaim the seven seas for the pirates. Their first job is to travel off the edge of the earth to rescue Captain Jack (Depp) from the netherworld. Then conspiracies are set in motion, alliances switch, and everyone treacherously tries to get whatever they can out of the messy situation until, finally, they converge for a watery showdown.
There's a point at which this simple plot begins to feel unnecessarily extended by a raft of knotted betrayals, side stories, underhanded trickery and rather a lot of talky dialog that we can't understand due to ludicrously strong accents and a cacophonous sound mix. There comes a point where we give up even trying, realising that the narrative is irrelevant anyway. We're only watching this because it's hilariously silly.
This is a comedy after all, despite the realistically violent, grubby setting. And the chief clown is Depp, with his continuously uproarious performance. Although sharp-witted script gives him nothing new to do, he fills it with wonderfully detailed campness. Meanwhile, the surrounding characters seem beefier. Knightley is surprisingly feisty, finally becoming an interesting character after the blandness of the first two episodes. And in the end, Hollander gets the film's best scene when his duplicity comes home to roost.
Verbinski directs with his usual energetic verve, deploying swooping cinematography and impressive effects, even if it sometimes seems like he's just trying to spend his huge budget (what's the point of all those crabs?). The action is basically limited to fight scenes on water, but they're all superbly thrilling, especially the opening skirmish in Singapore and the extended final face-off. And there's even some strong subtext that links pirates with terrorists and corrupt governments of yore with the ones we have today.
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© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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