Summary: The former crew of the Black Pearl are heading to World's End to bring back 'witty Jack'...but first, they need a ship...and directions. And as always, Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman are bearing down on them, at the behest of Cutler Beckett and the East India Company.
Verdict: A worthwhile journey and an appropriate finish - though I still like the first one best. 7/10
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End sees our main protagonists traveling all the way to Singapore (and hell...the way ppl are using that one line in the film to promote this place is getting on my nerves) to borrow a ship, crew and a map which they need to find Davy Jones' Locker. I had a little problem with the characterisation here - Sao Feng is meant to be the cruelest pirate alive, but it would have been more believable if the filmmakers had SHOWN it rather than TOLD it. A better alternative would have been to leave the comment out - I doubt it would have made that much of a difference. Pirates already have a reputation for having their own agenda, as Jack, Barbossa and even Will and Elizabeth had already proved.
When Beckett's men flush the pirates out of Singapore, deals are made...and a ship is procured. The journey to World's End is mostly for laughs, with the relief characters moaning about the cold and having frostbitten toes breaking off...although the waterfall leading to the place is certainly spectacular. The legends of Davy Jones' Locker are many and varied, but the one depicted in the film is quite interesting. According to the scriptwriter's commentary (must be on the 2nd dvd then), the hell of DVL is spending eternity with what you hate or fear most... And for Jack, that was...a desert...which caused him to hallucinate a crew of Jack Sparrows. (mmm...a crew of Johnny Depps...^^. And I'm guessing that this was what was filmed last, as the production notes talk about Johnny Depp being the only actor present on the final day of shooting.) The sight of the Black Pearl sailing over the sand dunes was pretty cool though...and I loved Jack's reunion with his 'saviours'. (Four of you have tried to kill me. One of you succeeded.) And the way to return to the world of the living, and Jack's way of 'show, don't tell, especially since they probably won't believe me anyway' was genius.
After the return...the allegiances begin to look rather uncertain, with everyone (of significance) having their own agenda (so did any of you come to get me just because you missed me?). Some people on LJ have taken umbrage at critics lambasting Will as a boring character, claiming that his steady loyalty and sense of morality is what makes him believable as the person Elizabeth would choose. It's just that...does he really have such a great sense of morality? Perhaps he's been hanging around too many pirates, but Will himself isn't exactly clear in this film. What one of the East India Co. says probably sums up my thoughts...does Jack make up his plans as he goes? That exchange on the sand bar certainly wasn't planned, was it?
The maelstrom finale was nice. I was a bit surprised that Calypso didn't really help either side, even though she'd previously sworn to destroy all the pirate lords. As a mark of how convoluted the film was, I can only go by other people's words that Will's revelation that her betrayer was Davy Jones himself caused her to remain neutral - the film needs another viewing. Another little gripe I have though - why were only two ships involved at the final battle when two entire fleets had gathered? And Beckett walking unharmed whilst his vessel is blasted to pieces around him? Nice imagery perhaps, but please...
As with the second film, I wasn't expecting any particular ending to this film (other than WIll and Elizabeth FINALLY getting married) and so was quite surprised. The way the Davy Jones plot developed in the second film, my brother thought he might have been redeemed. A bit cliched though, that, so having Will replace Davy Jones on The Flying Dutchman made sense, especially since the curse has its associations with love and loyalty.
A movie like Pirates is always best seen without knowing anything. The trailer really had some of the funniest parts. There are some holes, but for a film franchise spawned from a really really crappy Universal Studios ride, I liked the ending. I didn't expect it, but it fits, as no one else is 'moral' enough to do that the Captain of the Flying Dutchman is supposed to do. And now, with what I read elsewhere (see below), it finally really makes sense...oh, but the sense of tragedy is reduced! ^^;
Lastly...hands up those that didn't stay until the end of the credits. I regret to report to you that...there was a clip. So, have fun seeing it again! ^^ (Sometimes, I detest films that do that though...particularly when I go to the cinema with someone who doesn't like staying back.)
Okay...I really shouldn't have read the full wiki entry before finishing this...the story about Davy Jones and Calypso now makes sense, as does the ending (that is, if you're one of those who saw the ending), but maybe that's why they put it after the credits. Alternatively, maybe they removed the scene in question because they wanted to be a bit sneaky about the ending. Hopefully they'll put the scene on the dvd. However, it also raises more questions about how Davy Jones was assigned that role in the first place...and will the poor souls once again drift unknowingly in limbo (or however it was) since there is no one to guide them anymore? DVD please!