Bringing the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to a close is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Once again directed by Gore Verbinski and starring the original, returning cast At World’s Endties up the stories from the previous films. Upon release, it took a staggering $963m from a budget of $300m, making it one of the highest-grossing films of all times.
Still searching for a way to help Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones’ (Bill Nighy) locker, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), joined by Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) turn for help to Sao Feng (Chow Yun-fat), pirate lord of the South China Seas who has a map to the underwater prison of souls. After escaping aboard The Black Pearl, the group find themselves at the mercy of East India Trading Company Chairman, Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) who wishes to rid theCaribbeanof every last pirate.
To say that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is confusing is like saying Einstein’s theory of relativity is a simple maths equation. The plot, as much as there is one, flits from one side character to the next, determined to give them all epic story arcs and life-changing adventures. Not only does this drag the action down to a canter, but it almost doubles the necessary length to a huge 2 hours 49 minutes. Then there’s the problem with the characters themselves.
Throughout the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, the importance of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack has increased to the point where he was the sole reason to keep watching. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, the central relationship of the original film have had such a drastic character change that they are almost unrecognisable from their former selves. Instead of a fresh-faced couple they are tired, bored and almost unwatchable throughout. Then there’s the supporting characters, who other than Geoffrey Rush’s fantastic return as the villainous hero Barbosa, are numerous and in most cases completely pointless.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is such a shambles of a film that it’s tough to find positives within it. Yet there’s no denying that it looks gorgeous throughout. There are Caribbean vistas and stunning visual effects surrounding most of the key scenes that remind us that it was once a franchise that enchanted and astounded. Sadly this is not enough to make up for the tiresome plot twists, lack of character and above all else the removal of anything vaguely fun.
So with an absence of a coherent plot, an overly long running time, a preposterous conclusion and the sudden shift in Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow from hilarious to annoying, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is an unqualified failure. It sends the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy from the original and incredibly fun first film to this bloated piece of flotsam¦ or jetsam.