Pirates of the Caribbean: “At endurance’s end”
They may have spent nearly $300 million on the third installment in Walt Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,’ but far too few pieces of eight were spent on the film’s boring, pointless, and inexorably exposition-heavy script. When the primary audience reaction throughout a nearly three-hour movie is one of clockwatching and head scratching, the visual spectacle, however dazzling, is a waste.
Oh, this third ‘Pirates’ installment looks like $300 million, but ‘avast ye hearties,’ let us count the ‘Top 5′ blunders of director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s boondoggle:
1) A 167-minute film and there aren’t even two minutes of recap about where the last film left off so we don’t spend most of the first hour wondering who’s doing what to whom, and why’
2) Your stated goal is to make an action-adventure film. Wouldn’t it be wise to avoid making the audience wait nearly two hours to see either action OR adventure’
3) There’s a dialogue-heavy section of the film (which lasts over an hour) where nothing of substance happens– despite the presence of fan favorite Jack Sparrow. A scene that has Sparrow CGI-multiplied falls flatter than a pirates plank. You really have to work hard to make Johnny Depp boring.
4) Any remnants of lusty yearning between Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are almost non-existent. The unfulfilling conclusion will particularly disappoint romantics.
5) What focus group survey determined that fans were screaming for gobs of screen time for the Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander) and Tia Dalma/Calypso (Naomie Harris) characters’ In a film ripe with excess so much time devoted to characters we don’t care about is particularly egregious.
The occasional comedic moments arrive mostly courtesy of Depp, who still delights, and actor Geoffrey Rush’s absolutely convincing performance as Captain Barbossa. These two provide what few highlights there are in a film that begins so glum– ‘Mass lynching at the gallows kids, isn’t this fun’– and ends with a thudding ho-hum.
What a tragedy that the incredible set designs and benchmark makeup effects will undoubtedly be quickly forgotten. It’s unlikely many fans will have the patience to sit through this soulless, yet visually enticing voyage to nowhere more than once.
Rated PG-13 for action, violence, and frightening images.