Release Date: May 24, 2007 (select theaters), May 25, 2007 (wide)
Rating: PG-13 (intense sequences of action/adventure violence and several disturbing images)
Genre: Action/Comedy
Run Time: 168 min.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Actors: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Chow Yun-Fat, Keith Richards

“Do you think he has a plan or that he just makes it up as he goes?” While this line from the third installment of the popular swashbuckling series was in response to the fantastical ways that Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) gets out of one perilous situation after another, I felt like the screenwriters unintentionally summed up my thoughts on the movie’s entire plot.

Let’s just say if you thought the storyline of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was difficult to follow, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In fact, I’ve never been more in the dark about whose allegiance is with whom, and what in the world Jack, Will Turner (a very bored Orlando Bloom) and squid-faced Davy Jones (a lively Bill Nighy) are actually trying to accomplish anyway.

For those still wanting the basics, though, here’s what I do know. The story begins with the rather lackluster Will (and even more so in this film, sadly) and the sassy, strong-willed Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) being chased by a Chinese Pirate named Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) who is guarding the entry to World’s End. On their quest, they’re hoping to track down the valuable map that’ll show them the way to World’s End so they can rescue Jack from Davy Jones’ locker (a.k.a. death).

Joining in the fun is the once-dead Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) who despises Will and Elizabeth, but has his own reasons for rescuing Jack. And as we remember from the past Pirates outings, Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) also wants the troublesome, rum-loving pirate for his own gain because he’s made an alliance with Davy, who must bargain with Beckett because he’s the one who possesses the chest with Davy’s heart.

Confused yet?

But with enough dazzling fights and witty quips from the oh-so-likable Jack (and his many, many alter egos), the filmmakers are certainly hoping you’ll forget that the story doesn’t make all that much sense. Much like the latest Spider-Man sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World's End is packed with a lot of dazzling special effects (and a surplus of villains) in its nearly three hours. Of course, when there’s not much of a story to tell in the first place, does it really justify such a long running time? I mean, c’mon, this isn’t exactly Lord of the Rings here. Devoting that much time to an adaptation of Tolkien’s work is one thing. A bunch of pirates and pirate-haters, however? Not so much.

Yet in terms of pure escapist summer entertainment, World’s End does have its charms. The scenes where Jack is bridging that oh-so-fine line between dead and undead and hallucinates multiple versions of himself and later eliminates his doppelgangers one by one (wouldn’t a shrink have fun with him?) are priceless. Ditto for the Mexican-style standoff later on where a monkey ends up with a gun. Even Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards’ much-hyped two-minute cameo is thoroughly entertaining.

Despite a few bright spots, those hoping for a sequel as satisfying as the first Pirates movie may be happier just re-watching it because this franchise’s ship has clearly sailed. Yet from the rather ambiguous ending in World’s End, Jack Sparrow is bound to reappear a few more times, which is great for Disney, but not as worthwhile for loyal moviegoers.
      
AUDIENCE: 10 and up (although be forewarned, the movie is long and may not hold a younger audience’s attention

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Per usual, the pirates partake plenty of rum.
  • Language/Profanity: A couple of very minor profanities.
  • Sex/Nudity: None, just a few passionate kisses between Will and Elizabeth. In one scene, Elizabeth hikes up her dress and shows Will a bit of thigh after they’re married. Plus, there are a few sexual innuendos scattered throughout that should go over the head of most kids, but adults will definitely figure out.
  • Violence: In abundance. There are several choreographed fight scenes that are played seriously at some moments and for laughs in others. There are also a few gross-out moments that involve one of Captain Jack Sparrow’s alter egos licking his own brain and a man who snaps his own frostbitten toe off his foot. In the opening scene, several people, including a child, are hung for either being a pirate or being friends with one.