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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Fantasy > Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2 Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2 Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: A-/B     Sound: A-/B     Extras: B+     Film: B-



Yo, Ho! Yo, Ho!  A Pirates’ sequel life for me!  Is that what Johnny Depp is singing these days?  Under review for all ye landlubbers is the long awaited Pirates of the Caribbean (3): At World’s End (2 Disc Limited Edition).  Spawning from a film that was a surprise hit in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End takes the film series to a new level and not necessarily a good one.


The film picks up where the second film left off, at the tentacles of a giant, killer squid.  The film starts with a bunch of convoluted wheeling and dealing.  The team attempts to save Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones locker so he can be present at the Pirate Brethren Court at Shipwreck Cove (since prior to his death in DMC he never named a successor).  The Brethren will discuss how to handle the evils that are whipping pirates from the face of the earth.  The map to Davy Jones Locker, however, is owned by the notorious Pirate Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) and he wants nothing to do with helping the likes of Jack Sparrow.  Will Turner manages to strike a deal with Feng that will exchange Jack for the Black Pearl.  Once Jack is found, he is having major hallucinations (hundreds of Jack Sparrows) and is leery to even join a crew of which four members have tried to kill him.  After some convincing and tricky moves Jack and his crew return to the real world, only to face many forms of betrayal and surprises from many fronts.  The film takes many twists and turns that will certainly shock most fans.  So suit up and grab a sword for one last rope swinging, sword fighting adventure.


As a fellow critic on this site amusingly mentioned, there is only so many times getting hit on the head can be considered funny.  I will not doubt the acting abilities of any of the film’s cast.  I will not even doubt the director.  But I can doubt the writers’ ability to turn an unlikely box office smash hit into two more sequels.  The first film was surprisingly dark, gritty, and made the audience remember why pirate films are cool.  Johnny Depp invented a character like the world had never seen (just short of going to a Stones concert) and at that point he did not get enough screen time to overwhelm the audience.  Just goes to show that lightening can’t strike the same mast twice.


The problem with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is that it got a little too big for its pantaloons.  The first film was simple, well written, and well cast.  It had the heart and soul of a classic pirate film, with the money and action of modern blockbuster.  After the success of the original film Disney pumped all kinds of crazy money and promotion into the second and third films, over inflating the film’s ego.  This third film installment in the series is truly the second act of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.  Where as this third installment should have been the trilogy’s Swan Song it more so fizzled as the second part to an ok sequel.


The original cast does a great job, though this reviewer still thinks the writers had trouble deciding on how they wanted Keira Knightley’s character to act, changing her personality drastically from film to film.  Nevertheless Knightley pulled off the character quite well.  Johnny Depp is still great as Captain Jack Sparrow and does not get on this reviewer’s nerves nearly as much as he did in Dead Man’s Chest.



The swashbuckling technical features on this double disc set are very nice, as all recent Disney releases have been.  Like the previous releases, the picture is presented in 1080p (ill-listed as 1080i on the back of the packaging and its fancy paperboard slipcase) 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is again shot in Super 35mm and digitized like crazy, but the money is there and this holds its digital effects like the previous releases.  The standard DVD is not bad in its anamorphically enhanced for 16 X 9 TVs (though it helps regular such sets) that is crisp and clear with balanced colors.  This release demonstrates much less light/dark issues than the previous release (POTC: Dead Man’s Chest), but due to the technique of filming used there is still an intentionally gritty feel applied for that aged affect.  The PCM 24/48 5.1 mix is as rich, strong, punchy and soundfield able as the previous Blu-rays, with maybe the slightest edge over the previous PCM mixes from the last films.  Both disc versions once again offer the sound in a lesser, but still quality Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix that is crisp, clear and balanced.  The PCM just annihilated the Dolby in both cases.


Once again Disney does not fail to impress this reviewer with their excellent special features.  The plethora of features on this 2 Disc set could swab the deck with any other DVDs features.  Both discs include a featurette entitled ‘Keith & The Captain: On Set with Johnny Depp and The Rock Legend,’ Bloopers of the Caribbean, Deleted Scenes with optional Commentary by Director Gore Verbinski, The Tale of Many Jacks, Anatomy of a Scene: Maelstrom, Masters of Design: Creating the Pirates’ World, The World of Chow Yun-Fat, Inside the Brethren Court, The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer, and Hoist the Colours: The Story Behind the Song.  Honestly the features are amazing and the Blu-ray-only Enter The Maelstrom interactive tour of the film and franchise does not hurt either.  This reviewer found them to be entertaining, insightful, and very rewatchable with qualities that not many Blu-rays or DVDs can claim to have.  The featurettes with Johnny Depp & Keith Richards, The Tale of Many Jacks and the Bloopers are especially good and deserve some attentive watching.


There is talk of Johnny Depp continuing the character of Captain Jack Sparrow in either more sequels or even prequels.  Here is a word of advice from a guy who knows a little bit about not knowing when to give up, RUN!  RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN!  There is no need for anymore of these films.  Three was plenty and the story was all wrapped up nicely into a tight chest that should never be opened again.  In fact, though many would have been disappointed, one film was probably enough.  This reviewer recommends this film if you have seen the other two films.  But for all other purposes people should learn to leave well enough alone.  So for one last time, raise that Jolly Roger and surrender to your desire to see Johnny Depp pretend he is Keith Richards.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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