Pirates of the Caribbean: At world’s end
Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley. Rated PG.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is a bloated party favour that clocks in at an ass-numbing two hours and 47 minutes. The third offering in one of the world’s most successful movie franchises celebrates all the gaping flaws of the previous installment with shameless gusto. Once again, we’re treated to lingering bouts of murky cinematography and ham-fisted performances straight out of English pantomime. And the plot is so spectacularly convoluted that your ticket should come with a complimentary glow-in-the dark flow chart.
The good news? There’s a lot more Johnny Depp this time around. And every time Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow shows up to mince about in all his gold-toothed glory, he provides merciful relief from a story line with more loose ends than a wind-shredded Jolly Roger.
Things kick off with lovers Will and Elizabeth (Orlando Bloom and the always feisty Keira Knightly) rescuing a hallucinating Jack from a desert island. Don’t even ask me to describe the plot beyond this, since it changes direction more times than a wonky compass. I’m still trying to figure out why the screenwriters insisted on cramming in so many useless diversions, including a lame subplot involving the love life of the fish-faced Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) that almost sinks the movie altogether.
I suppose I should take a cue from director Gore Verbinski and simply ignore all the smoke and mirrors about ancient pirate conventions and goddesses of the deep. Besides, whenever you get too confused, a bombastic bout of swashbuckling breaks out to provide distraction. Admittedly, the special effects can be breathtaking, which might even make up for the fleeting cameo by Keith Richards as Sparrow’s dad.
At some point, there’s even a faint hope that romantic sparks may fly between Jack and Elizabeth, as indicated in the previous chapter. But nothing comes of this, presumably because the tykes buying Pirates of the Caribbean breakfast cereal consider all that mushy stuff a little too self-indulgent.