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Movies Review

'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'

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'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'
Released on Friday, May 25 2007

Director: Gore Verbinski
Screenwriters: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Hollander
Running time: 168 minutes
Certificate: 12A

The first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies took over $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office. They turned Johnny Depp, long a cult favourite and staple of Tim Burton flicks, into a bona fide mainstream star. They even managed to make nautical chic fashionable for the first time since Adam Ant proclaimed that “Ridicule is nothing to be scared of” 25 years ago. Not bad for a film series based on a theme park ride, but is a third movie one step along the plank too far?

At World’s End is plotted as fussily and confusingly as its two predecessors. The action continues with Will (Bloom) and Elisabeth (Knightley) attempting to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) from Davy Jones’ Locker, the saltwater doldrums to which he was banished at the end of the last Pirates flick. The winsome lovers enlist the help of the death-defying Captain Barbossa (Rush), the salty old sea dog who was seemingly murdered by Sparrow at the end of the first movie. The unlikely foursome quarrel like the Loose Women panel and scheme as selfishly as Apprentice candidates, but are forced to unite to fend off a greater evil: capitalism. The East India Company, led by the amoral Beckett (Hollander), is hellbent on wrestling control of the seas from our nautical heroes forever, leaving the stage set for a swashbuckling finale.

At just twelve minutes short of three hours, At World’s End will prove an endurance test for the weak of bladder and insatiable of stomach. However, thanks to its episodic structure, which packs the film with four or five mini build-ups and climaxes throughout its running time, it manages to hold our attention more successfully than Dead Man's Chest, the previous instalment in the series. Naturally, the film ekes every last drop of camp, Keith-Richards-at-sea charm out of Depp’s Captain Jack persona. It even offers a knowing wink at the audience when the old Stone himself pops up as Jack’s charismatic father, Captain Teague. Resplendent in a crimson jacket, eyes smothered in kohl, Teague nods majestically as Sparrow asks him: ‘That’s the track isn’t it, to survive?’

At World's End’s set-piece finale aims to be powerful, frightening, romantic, sexy, comic and touching all at the same time. That it succeeds on at least four of these counts is a testament to the nerve of Gore Verbinski, the director, who manages to blow the script’s tedious intricacies out of the water with sheer movie-making bombast. The third Pirates of the Caribbean movie is as preposterous as a campaign to make Jade Goody Prime Minister, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. Fortunately, on this occasion, fun feels like enough.

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