Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End—impressions


This is the sort of review that I wished I could find (and couldn't) while I was making up my mind as to whether or not to take my younger kids.

We saw it last night. Based on what I could glean from reviews, I took my younger kids as well (ages 7 and 11), "prepping" the 7yo beforehand.

We liked it. It starts well, gets very complicated and feels a bit long towards the middle, and has an amazing last 45-60 minutes. We laughed and gasped, and generally enjoyed the movie.

As with the first two, be sure to stay past the credits.

When we rent the DVD, we'll turn on the subtitles. Between the dialects and the noise, we lost a lot; plus, I think the plot just gets a bit convoluted.

So what about my youngers? Every family's standards vary, of course, and I'm sure some will disapprove of mine. The movie has a lot of action-type violence, but the vast majority is very quick or distant and fleeting. You get the feel of great violence without many lingering, exploitive closeups.

We covered the 7yo's eyes for a tight-framed scene towards the end when Davy Jones is face to face with a very unpleasant character from the second movie, and dispatches him. That's enough to warn you, without giving spoilers. It's maybe 10-15 seconds.

I caught no foul language, and one sexual allusion that will sail over the heads of youngers.

So, my opinion? Your mileage will vary, but if your kids have already seen the first two, and if you censor none or very little of them, this should be fine. From what age on? That's your call, parents. My impression on one viewing was that there was less yuckiness than the second, with its Davy Jones crewmen. They're here again, but for the most part they're more in the background. Well, with one very unpleasant hallucinated exception involving Jack Sparrow.

My 7yo, who is not at all above being scared by some movie elements, laughed and had fun and ended up (literally) giving the movie two thumb's up.

Johnny Depp's a lot of fun, the other main protagonists are all really in great form, and action and affects are breath-taking.

I actually feel sympathy for Orlando Bloom, though. I think the young lad was blessed with two huge lead roles (Legolas and Will Turner), but he just doesn't have a lot to give. He's physically not heroic-looking, and his acting is... adequate for limited roles. (Contrast Johnny Depp, physically similar, but a very gifted actor.) Other actors would do a lot to get Bloom' s opportunities. With LOTR and Pirates over (if Pirates is over), I'm not sure how many big films will fall into his lap.

So, if we're grading, I suppose on one viewing I'd give Pirates 3 about an A-. Which ain't bad.


Even So... said...

Thanks much...

Kim said...

Thanks for the review, Dan. I'm taking my 12yo one afternoon next week as a reward for being diligent with his schoolwork (I'm being optimistic, here).

I agree with you about Orlando Bloom. He isn't nearly as interesting to watch as Depp. But then again, Legolas and Will Turner aren't really show-stealing roles, are they? Maybe he'll get lucky in the future, provided he doesn't get typecast. Maybe a sailing elf?

Stefan Ewing said...

Dan, is it better than the last one? The second one just seemed to be a time-filler to make us wait for the finale...with a lot of scenes calculated for their product marketing value, it seemed.

Kay said...

Bloom is very pretty, and he was really amusing in the episode of Extras he did, sending up the onscreen persona of heartthrob. But yes, he does seem a bit limited.

BTW Dan, you really would hate me. I watched Signs last last night and dh let me guess the end aloud after about twenty minutes and I was spot on. Now that's a good film. A friend told me they couldn't make head nor tail of the third Pirates film.

GrayDave said...

Maybe I have been reading too much Francis Schaeffer because I left the movie thinking that I was being tricked into being happy that the bad guys (pirates) win? :-)

DJP said...

Sewing—Sorry, been gone all weekend.

Yes, I think it's better than the second. That was the consensus of our family, as well.

I'd be interested to hear anyone's thoughts after seeing it. Please preface any spoiler-y comments with SPOILER WARNING, then a couple of line breaks.

Trinian said...

Deleted my last post because part of it might have been construed as a sideways spoiler...

Absolutely amazing movie. It'll easily be my best of the summer.


Waiting for the Will Turner = Jesus sermons to start...

Beth said...

This was the second movie I have ever attended (the first was Toy Story), so I was blown away by the visuals alone.

The darker themes were intriguing, and I thought Chow Yun Fat helped carry the Depp-less scenes.

Did anyone else notice Keira Knightley doing a parody of Depp's Sparrow toward the beginning?

They did miss a good chance to wrest any sort of meaning out of it all. I wish the good and evil weren't so intertwined...

Fred Butler said...

Hope to see it sometime the next week or so.

Does the movie give a plausible explanation as to how Jack can survive being eaten alive by a giant squid? I mean you have the flesh shredding beak and the digestive juices and all. Its not one of those weird ex dues machina style explanations is it?


DJP said...

Well, Fred, I'll tell you...


Unless it was in the mash of very dialectical dialogue somewhere in the middle.

Perhaps there will be a National Geographic "In Search of the Digestive Processes of Krakens" featurette on the DVD.


Trinian said...

Fred -
This isn't really a spoiler since the end of the second movie tells you what their plan is, but hey...

He didn't survive. The first half hour of the movie involves trying to retrieve him bodily from "a place of punishment", where he is eternally engaged in the funniest sequence in the whole movie.

hansman said...

After hearing all the negative press reviews and being thoroughly disappointed in Spidey 3, I was relucant to shell out the 8.50 for a movie ticket, consigning myself to renting the DVD sometime in the future. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was better than the 2nd in the installment; the original POTC was the best of course. I would give this Pirates a B. I did not find the plot all that convoluted and I did not once think that the film was too long. I thought Keith Richards cameo was a hoot. But drat, I forgot to stay through the closing credits!


Stefan Ewing said...

Chow Yun-fat is in this movie!? What? I have so got to see it now.

DJP said...

I think it safe to say, "Chow Yun-fat as you've never seen him before."

Diane said...

"I actually feel sympathy for Orlando Bloom, though. I think the young lad was blessed with two huge lead roles (Legolas and Will Turner), but he just doesn't have a lot to give. He's physically not heroic-looking, and his acting is... adequate for limited roles."

Dan, and better not let my 9 yr. old daughter hear you say that......she thinks Orlando Bloom is cute, :).

I've never been interested in the movies myself.

Pastor Steve said...

I just saw it last night and understanding the dialogue was the hardest part for me. I thought the plot was pretty decent, but sometimes it had my head spinning.

Two more gripes - I would have preferred a happier ending, and I had major sensory overload during some of the fighting scenes. How many pirates are on a ship anyways, 1,000?

I give it a B-

David A. Carlson said...

my 13 year old daughter went with her 8th grade class - (no, not as a school project, just because they like to hang out together) -

She hated it. Very disapointed. And she loved the first two.

Pastor Steve said...

Spoiler Alert!!!

I came across this explanation of some things online and it seems to make sense:

"The flying dutchman was the boat with the fish people. It has to have a captain. Davy Jones was cursed to be the captain at first. He was supposed to be ferrying those that died at sea from this world to the next. And by doing his duty his reward is one day at land for 10 years at sea. Apparently if Calypso - his true love - had been there to meet him after those 10 years he wouldn't have had to be the captain of the dutchman anymore (this is what is COMPLETELY not clear in the movie but writers have said that was there intent but the scene that spelled it out was cut so you were supposed to deduce that from the dialog that was left). But Calypso wasn't there so he became bitter and stopped doing his job - leading to him looking like an ugly fish.

When Will got stabbed and was going to die - Jack had Will stab the heart of Davy Jones. Killing Davy Jones and forcing Will's heart to be cut out so he could be the new captain of the Flying Dutchman. He got his one day at shore with Elizabeth to consumate their marriage and then had to go ferry souls to the next world for 10 years.

The scene after the credits is Elizabeth standing on a shore with their son (who is about 9) and then a green flash (supposed to be what happens when a soul returns from the dead) and Will coming up on his ship. The idea being that now he could be with her because she waited faithfully."

If this is the case it ties up the movie nicely. Although it's shocking that this would be cut out.

Also, what did the East Indies Captain mean when he didn't fight back at the end and said "It was good for business?" I didn't get that.

Stefan Ewing said...

This comment is spoiler free!

We saw the movie. I admire the writers, production designers, et al. for all the meticulous research they put into the mythology, maritime and historical detailing, costumes, etc. (pretty good for a Disney movie!)—even the multi-ethnic pirates' council—but like pretty much everyone else (it seems), we struggled with the basic exposition.

The action scenes were enjoyable. Sensory overload, perhaps, but less traumatically assaulting on the senses than the action scenes in pretty much any Hollywood guns-'n'-car-chase action flick made and set in the last 10 or 15 years.

This isn't really a spoiler, so here goes...the whole movie is fantasy, but pretty much the most disturbing scene for me was Chow Yun-Fat's Singapore hideout, which seemed to be some kind of camped-up, 21st-century-LA vision of the "exotic Orient of yore."