Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End

2007, Movie, R, 160 mins


Like its predecessor, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST (2006), this second sequel to the surprise hit is the guest that wouldn't leave. Yes, it tosses off some witty gags. Yes, it's ever so good-looking. Yes, it's got a bag of tricks big enough to keep undemanding children entertained before dinner. But it's almost three hours long, and that's a lot of time to invest in what is, essentially, a theme-park attraction you can't ride.

It begins where the last film left off: Woozy, boozy Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is trapped in Davy Jones' (Bill Nighy and a tangle of slimy CGI tentacles) locker, and with each passing day the British East India Tea Company is behaving more and more like a genocidal juggernaut. In the name of making the world safe for rapacious capitalism, the effete and toadying Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) is hanging pirates and pirate sympathizers by the dozen and still can't rid the Caribbean of their scurvy influence. Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) sees a crisis in the offing and calls a historic summit of the pirate lords. But it will count for naught if Sparrow doesn’t attend, so he, along with blacksmith-turned-swashbuckler Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and the governor's daughter Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) — who's well on her way to becoming quite the pirate queen — strike out for the end of the world in hopes of bringing Jack back. That's the bulk of the plot: The rest is CGI maelstroms, monsters and mumbo jumbo. There's some hugger-mugger about the goddess Calypso being bound in human form and a certain character's self-serving efforts to free her. There's an English armada, a passel of half-human, half-sea-creepy-crawly seamen staffing the legendary ghost ship The Flying Dutchman, and a motley crew of colorful pirate captains from around the globe, gathered in what looks for all the world like an Ewok village nestled in Shipwreck Cove. There are also double crosses, triple crosses and double-triple crosses galore.

Depp steals the show with his glam sashaying — he always looks as though he hasn't quite earned his sea legs and is compensating with liberal applications of rum — but even he can't make this bloated, enervating spectacle feel like anything more than a colossal wallow in all the technology money can buy. Keith Richards' cameo as Jack's dad is cool, but the BEING JOHN MALKOVICH-esque sequence in which Jack and a small army of Jacks cavort around some glowing limbo is just trying — it probably seemed hilarious at the time, but in the context of the movie it's a self-indulgent time-waster. Minute-per-dollar, you get your money's worth, but an hour after you leave you'd be hard put to summarize the plot in any coherent way. If that's entertainment, then step right up! leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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