Monday, December 15, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End; adventure fantasy, USA, 2007; D: Gore Verbinski, S: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport, Tom Hollander, Chow Yun-fat, Keith Richards

Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and Barbossa team up to go Singapore to get special maps from  pirate Sao Feng, in order to get with their ship to the Underworld and return Jack Sparrow back to the living. With the nine pirate Lords now complete, they hold a meeting in order to declare a fight against the East India Trading Co., which created an alliance with Beckett and humanoid tentacle Davy Jones, who want to root out piracy completely. In a final duel, Sparrow and his ship crew prevail and kill Jones by stabbing his heart, which was locked inside a magical chest. Elizabeth and Turner marry.

With the 3rd part of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series, "At World's End", one can simply apply one logical conclusion: some films simply have a good story. Others, like this one, just convolute one obscure subplot into another, and then convolute it into another, and then into yet another, and another, until they get an artificially complex film consisting out of four weak subplots at once. But that contrived "muddle method" does not make those weak subplots any good, though. There are underworlds, humanoid tentacle monsters, black magic, a sea goddess and other combined with pirates, but one should not bother with trying to understand these storylines. To put is simple: the previous films were a hit, thus a sequel has to continue the franchise, and it would not matter even if UFOs and the Monster of Loch Ness would appear just as long they make the story go on and on. Even though it made history as the first film that broke the 300 million $ mark with its huge budget, "At World's End" is a completely obscure film, a pompous and tiresome CGI overkill with so little energy and care that it does not justify breaking the mark as previous films whose authors took a lot of care in making them great as well, such as the first film that had a budget of 100 million $ (Cameron's "Terminator 2") and 200 million $ (Cameron's "Titanic").

Numerous episodes lead nowhere. For instance, what was the point of the sea goddess Calypso, who had a grand announcement, only to grow into a giant and then desintegrate into thousands of crabs? What was the point of having the Singapore pirate, played by Chow Yun-fat, only to have him killed so soon in the story? On the other hand, the opening is actually quite funny: the mass arrest and execution of people suspect of aiding pirates, and a decree that proclaims the abolishment of habeas corpus, is maybe a sly commentary on Bush's treatment of people suspect of terrorism, whereas the first appearance of a singing Elizabeth and Barbossa, who encounter a Singapore guard, has a deliciously comical exchange (Guard: "A dangerous song to be singing for anyone ignorant of its meaning... Particularly a woman... Particularly a  woman alone." - Barbossa: "What makes you think she's alone?" - Guard: "You protect her?" - Elizabeth (puts a knife to the guard's throat): "What makes you think I need protecting?"). These comical moments are the only ones that ring true and are a welcomed "reserve" once the generic action and battles sequences start, which are sometimes unnecessary gory. The final battle is nowhere as fun or exciting as it could have been, but a few comical scenes even there - among them the wedding of Elizabeth and Will while fighting on the ship - shows that the authors still had some small sparks of inspiration that refused to die so easily in the sequel matrix.


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