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I will preface this review by saying if you did not enjoy the first two Pirates movies, you shouldn’t be seeing the third. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is the final part of a very cohesive trilogy. There are no recaps between the films; they consist of a single story that is to be followed part by part. You must watch the first movie to be introduced to our heroes and supporting players because it is their actions here that make them the people they are later on. I would recommend seeing at least the second installment again before viewing the finale, however, it is not necessary as being a fan I was able to compose myself very early on with where we had left off. Credit to the filmmakers for realizing that this was the second half of the long tale that makes up parts two and three and not a standalone entity. The fanbase is intact and if you didn’t like the previous, why should they cater to your needs of refreshing when the film isn’t made for you? With all that said, I believe this film to be on steady ground with the two it follows, rounding out what is a very successful trilogy—a tough thing to come by lately.

We enter the film with a prologue showing the singular will of the pirate community, something that is strong and will come into play later on. The sequence is effective in giving the audience a chance to rejoin the dirt and atmosphere that these movies have so effectively portrayed. Our main action soon follows as our heroes continue their quest for Jack Sparrow and his Black Pearl. Some need the ship to free the bonds of servitude for loved ones, some need Jack to assuage their conscience, while others just want the ship back in order to fulfill a promise that brought them back from the dead. Each character’s motives are held tightly to their chests and we are privy to numerous changes of allegiance and multiple double crossing, although not always crossing the ones we think. Alliances are struck and pirates join together in order to save their kind from the East India Company’s tyranny and Davy Jones’ renegade, murderous bent created from his sacrificing the one being that ever loved him. Don’t worry, though, if you have been having fun and following along, all the twists and turns make perfect sense. Also, the intricacies of the plot really impressed me because whether or not originally planned as a trilogy, the attention to detail and past occurrences truly allow one to become totally wrapped up in the action.

Once again the acting is top-notch. True it is oftentimes over-the-top, but that is what is expected here. This is a fantastical adventure story seeped in mythology, history, and romance. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley have evolved into very serious people who have seen much pain and death. There is little humor with them as in previous installments, however, their love for each other still exists and whether they trust the other or not, they do what they have to do to keep that bond alive. Johnny Depp is again in top form and just adds to the Jack Sparrow role. The laughs still exist, but we also get to see a side of Jack that has been missing, a true drive to fight and a willingness to sacrifice himself for the victory.

These three do see a bit of a push to the background as we are bombarded with characters from all sides, though. Barbossa is back, and this is a great thing. Geoffrey Rush was one of the best pieces that the original film had going for it, and to have him and Depp together again, this time on the same side, is a treat indeed. Naomie Harris returns with effectiveness and the ability to still look gorgeous even under her gypsy woman garb; Bill Nighy proves once more that no matter how much cgi is used, it is his skill as a performer that truly overcomes; Tom Hollander portrays his villain with the same amount of sleaze mixed with a false arrogance that he is covering all his bases as in the second, when in reality he is working with pirates, they swear allegiance to no one; and Chow Yun-Fat adds a nice air of professionalism in an intimidating role whose motives are never really known.

Besides the writing being true to the franchise and the acting never missing a step, the real success again lies in the animation and visuals. Director Gore Verbinski has a superb eye and a creative streak shown at numerous moments. The visual effects are once more the best in the business and some sequences, such as Hollander’s descent amidst an imploding ship or the final ship battle inside a giant maelstrom, are truly breathtaking to experience and wonder how long it could have taken to orchestrate to perfection. Some moments crossed the line a bit, like every time Depp’s psyche brought out multiple versions of himself, whether in Davy Jones’ locker or out. These instances showed some nice effect in superimposing many Jack Sparrows interacting with each other, but they were overly long and ultimately totally unnecessary to the story at hand.

After it all, I can’t think of a better way for this franchise to finish. There was no degradation in my opinion throughout the series and with a fully fleshed beginning and end, I hope that this will be all we see. Verbinski needs to continue on to other things, bringing his singular vision with him to create new and innovative films. As for the characters, I believe they have finished strong and whole, any more entries will only demean the integrity that has held thus far. Don’t be surprised too if people die that you do not expect, Pirates does not cop out, and as a result succeeds that much more.

POTC: At World’s End 8/10
As comparison: POTC: The Curse of the Black Pearl 8/10; POTC: Dead Man’s Chest 8/10

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photography:
[1] Captains Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), and Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)
[2] Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and The Flying Dutchman Crew

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