STUDIO: Walt Disney Pictures
MSRP: $22.99
RUNNING TIME: 246 minutes
Bloopers of the Caribbean
• Deleted scenes
The Tale of the Many Jacks
Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom
Masters of Design
The World of Chow Yun-Fat
Inside The Brethren Court
The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer
Hoist the Colours
Keith and the Captain: On Set with Johnny and the Rock Legend

Avast: Their be some minor SPOILAGE afoot below.  Walk the plank at ye own risk.

The Pitch

The final *snicker* Pirates *guffaw* of *chortle* the *losing it* Caribbean *dies laughing*

The Humans

Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Chow Yun-Fat, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Jack Davenport, Stellan Skarsgard, Keith Richards.

It was then and there, alone on the set with Richards, that Depp found out that Keith actually was a member of the living dead and well, ole Johnny was looking pretty tasty…

The Nutshell

Rounding out the adventurous Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, At World’s End finds heroes Will Turner (Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) working with Capt. Barbossa (Rush) to rescue Jack Sparrow (Depp) from Davy Jones’ Locker – the mariner underworld – in order to seek his help to combat the forces of Lord Cutler Beckett (Hollander), a British nobleman who is seeking to eradicate all pirates everywhere. And with Beckett controlling the immortal heart of Davy Jones (Nighy) and thus Jones himself, his motley fish crew and the invincible Flying Dutchman pirate ship, he may just succeed. With side deals and double-crosses occurring around them at a record pace, Jack and the others have only one chance: convene the Brethren Court – a meeting of all nine pirate lords – and stand together in a final fight at sea. With a climatic battle that takes place in a gigantic whirlpool between the Black Pearl and the Dutchman,
At World’s End is pulsing with action and swashbuckling adventure.

Jones’ expression upon realizing that a Japanese calamari trawler was heaing right for him…

The Lowdown

First of all, if you haven’t already, check out Devin’s take on the film (here) and Russ’ take (here). Between those two stripping the story down to the frame like a Honda in a chop shop, there’s really not much more for yours truly to comment on that they haven’t covered. Although I can say that I probably enjoyed AWE a bit more than either of my esteemed colleagues, although I do recognize most of the flaws that they brought up. The main points to consider in
AWE is that indeed, way too much has to be set up in this movie alone that should have been foreshadowed in the inferior Dead Man’s Chest. This is a problem that the Matrix films has to deal with, in that the final two installments were more of a duology than a trilogy with the original film. But that’s probably to be expected when the last two movies are thrown together without a solid working script going into the whole thing. Yet here, except with a few story threads connecting all them, these three movies seem the most like three stand alone episodes than any of the major film trilogies to come out in the last 10 years.

I suppose this’ll have to do until the eventual Keira Knightley sex video comes out…

Secondly, there just seems to be such a feeling of "where’s the payoff" here. Major story elements such as the Kraken and the Davy Jones / Calypso relationship have such hollow endings that you almost wonder why the storytellers even bothered. To wit: Davy Jones visits Calypso and asks why she betrayed him by not being where they were supposed to meet after his first 10 years of servitude on the Dutchman. And Calypso answers: "It’s my nature." Huh? And then she’s sad that he foresakes his mission and corrupts himself both spiritually and physically. Well bitch, what did you expect? Guy cuts his heart out for you, you shit all over it and as a result he goes all Creature of the Black Lagoon on you. There’s hardly any closure to their relationship and so much is made of it throughout the final two films that it smells of a dangling thread…or a spool of thread. And the fate of the Kraken is like a gut punch when you discover it. It’s damn near like I felt when Darth Maul decidely to split the Star Wars prequel trilogy. I wanted more and had to do without.

"Okay, so you guys are gonna protect my prissy ass from Menelaus, right?…"

Another thing is that when AWE does try to pick up a loose thread here and there from DMC, unless you had just freebased the second installment right before this one, you’ll be hard pressed to know what AWE is trying to do. For instance, when Capt. Teague calls for the key to the Pirate Codex and it’s brought in by Prison Dog, who was supposedly left on Pelegostos Island, and a couple of the pirates comment on it and Teague tells them, "sea turtles", I’m left scratching my head because A: I didn’t know Prison Dog was supposed to be a character we cared about, B: which movie was he left on Pelegostos Island and C: which island was Pelegostos Island? Now this is a minor quibble, but it’s an example of the labyrinthine and serpentine narrative that both DMC and AWE took you through, and not always for the better. As an example of this dilemma, Walt Disney included the following in the DVD pullout in order to try to clear up some of left over questions and gaps in logic presented by the trilogy:

Major Spoilage in the caps directly below, Maties. 

End of the Major Spoilage

Now while I definitely appreciate the effort here, I generally prefer to have that spelled out a tad clearer in the film itself…. Lastly, perhaps the subtitle of this final film should have been POTC: Deal or No Deal, because there are so many double dealings, backstabbing, side deals and the like, that you need either a program, a flowchart, or a program with a flowchart to keep them all straight.

As for the performers, I thought Depp definitely recaptured some of the swagger and enjoyable characteristics that he seemed to forget in the second film. But unfortunately, Bloom was damn near a non-entity this time around. He’s completely overshadowed by nearly anyone else he’s on screen with, the least of which certainly isn’t Keira Knightley, who practically took over the movie from him. Nighy couldn’t suck with a straw in a black hole, but he’s likewise hamstringed here as Jones has mostly been defanged until the last reel of the movie. The producers could have saved a nice bit of coin by getting Asian Actor X to portray Sao Feng, because Chow is nothing short of wasted in this film. If you’ve seen The Phantom, you know Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa can pull off a pirate pretty convincingly. Rush as Barbossa was fine and I thought and he has somehow successfully managed to portray a classic "Aarrgh, maties" kind of stereotypical pirate without making it a campy caricature.

Negativities aside, I did think that this was definitely a step back up from the overall disappointing Dead Man’s Chest. There were some fairly nice concepts at work here including the use of the pirate chart, the topsy turvy escape from Davy Jones’ locker and the resolution to the Will / Elizabeth relationship. And even though the final maelstrom battle went on long enough to require an overnight bag when going to the theatre to watch the film, I dug the concept and thought that for the most part it was executed well. At World’s End is pretty much the Matrix Revolutions of the POTC trilogy, flawed but eminently more enjoyable than the second film.

With Richards snagging a part, you knew it wouldn’t be long before Jagger had to get in on the action…

The Package

This is the 2-Disc Limited Edition and therefore is fairly loaded with material. The first of which is Bloopers of the Caribbean, which run about sx minutes and feature some fairly funny guffaws. Next, Keith and the Captain: On Set with Johnny and the Rock Legend is a five-minute look at Depp and Richards getting along on the set, giving some talking head pieces and Richards briefly jamming on the guitar made for him for the film. Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom is a nice 20-minute look at the physical production of the sequence and the post where you really get a feel for the scope of the production of this thing. Likewise, The Tale of the Many Jacks is another five-minute piece on how the "Muliple Jack" sequence on the Pearl in Davy jones’ Locker was made, including 15 doubles and a giant dreadlock set for the "mini-Jacks".

There are two pretty forgettable deleted scenes, both with optional Verbinski commentary.
The World of Chow Yun-Fat is a four-minute piece about, surprisingly enough, Chow. The weird thing in this one though is that I thought Chow had a pretty good concept of English, but he does the entire interview in Chinese. The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer is a 10-minute piece on the music that Zimmer came up with for the film. Inside The Brethren Court gives a look at the 10 pirate lords (including newest one Elizabeth Swann) and gives quick one-minute bios by way of a nine pieces of eight menu. Hoist the Colours is a five minute piece on the collaboration between Verbinski and Zimmer to compose the pirate theme song.

Masters of Design is a five-part featurette on the designs and the designers of various props used in the movie, with each part running about five minutes: James Byrkit: Sao Feng’s Map is about creative consultant Byrkit’s making of the pirate chart; Crash McCreery:The Cursed Crew is about creature designer McCreery’s creation of the Dutchman crew designs; Rick Heinrichs: Singapore details production designer Heinrich’s vision of the Chinese port; Penny Rose: Teague’s Costume details costume designer Rose’s creation of the Capt. Teague’s pirate costume; and Kris Peck: The Code Book is about property master Peck’s creation of the Pirate Codex book.

"Can you see it anywhere?"
"Nope, the set up for this movie from Dead Man’s Chest is nowhere to be found…"

There’s also four easter eggs (that I found anyway). The first is located on Disc 2’s first menu just left of "MORE", and details drummer Simon Phillips coming in to do some drum work for the score. The second is located to the right of "MORE" and is about finding the perfect peanut for Depp to eat in the scene where one his counterparts is shot by another in order to eat a peanut. The third is on the second menu with the Masters of Design, Hoist the Colours and Inside the Brethren Court under Court. This is animatics of the Chinese junk sailing to Davy Jones’ Locker. There’s another on the Masters of Design menu to the left of the Masters of Design header and shows shooting on the Bonneville Salt Flats to simulate Jack in the arid Locker. Plenty of good stuff here to keep ye pirates happy me hearties.

7.7 out of 10