An entertaining romp in which everybody gets rather wet.

Principal Cast and Crew

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa
Orlando Bloom as Will Turner
Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport as James Norrington
Bill Nighy as Davy Jones
Stellan Skarsgård as ‘Bootstrap’ Turner
Tom Hollander as Lord Cutler Beckett
Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma
Chow Yun Fat as Captain Sao Feng

Directed by Gore Verbinksi

Written by Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio

Synopsis

With Lord Beckett and the East India Company in control of Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman, the pirate lords of the world must unite or become extinct. Unfortunately, one of them died at the end of the previous film…

High Point

The fate of the Flying Dutchman and her crew, or more particularly, the point where they realise what it is.

Low Point

While trying not to spoil the outcome of the final battle, if you’ve got cannon balls penetrating a ship, aren’t they going to come out the other side? And if so, isn’t it a bad idea to have an ally also firing from the other side?

The Scores

Originality: Sequels are never as original as the stories they are sequels to of course, but this third installment adds some new elements to the existing formula, and the story’s never quite entirely predictable, which leads to a few surprises. Four out of six.

Effects: Whatever else one might say about At World’s End, it is extremely difficult to criticise the visual effects which are absolutely superb. The final battle in particular demonstrates a mastery of water rendering and some truly delightful explosions. Six out of six.

Story: Continuing a while after the end of the previous film, it doesn’t take long before we’re familiar with developments while we were away and back into the thick of things. It’s a good tale with many layers of motivation, deceit, loyalty and betrayal, but at times I wonder if they didn’t introduce too many new elements into this film. It works, but occasionally it does feel rather laid on by the shovelful. Highly entertaining, though. Five out of six.

Emotional Response: Because the film is produced as a pure entertainment vehicle (with a healthy dose of escapism on the side) it’s difficult to become greatly emotionally invested in the characters and their fates. One never really believes that anybody important is going to die or suffer a gruesome fate for all eternity. The emotional response to this film comes more from the huge setpiece battles and events than for care over any particular character. Four out of six.

Acting: The returning cast performed much as they did in the previous film, which is to be expected. Of the new cast, I was a little disappointed in Chow Yun Fat, as I felt he was just a little too over the top. Orlando Bloom, unfortunately, remains only moderately convincing, particularly next to Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, both of whom are clearly having enormous fun. Mention must also be made of the superb Bill Nighy, who once more steals the film. Five out of six.

Production: Parts of this film don’t feel like a Pirates film, but by and large this only applies to the parts which take place in the lands of the dead and as such you expect things to be a little strange there. Elsewhere, the environments are lavish, the ships are romantic tributes to a bygone era of stories and songs, and the fight choreography is ridiculously complicated yet extremely effective. My most serious criticism lies in the soundtrack, as the growing prevalence of electric guitars became distracting as the story reached its climax. Five out of six.

Overall: Overall, this is a very enjoyable romp, but if you go into the cinema expecting something miraculous you will come out disappointed. Five out of six.

And so we award Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End a very respectable thirty-four out of forty-two.