Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End


After rescuing Jack (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones's (Bill Nighy) Locker, Jack, Will (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) face the greatest challenge of all as they lead great fleets of pirates into battle against the East India Trading Company, lead by Jones and Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander).

Visually the film is outstanding, and so it should be as it remains the most expensive film in history with a $300 million budget. The amount of CGI used in the film is vast, and the most successful and jaw-dropping scene is the battle between the Pearl and the Dutchman around a giant maelstrom, created through exceptionally sharp and bold imagery, which is coupled with some spectacular sound effects that make this the most spectacular film scene of 2007. The other impressive use of CGI is naturally Davy Jones himself, whose individual tentacles get their own individual lives/souls, and the CGI does a great job of making him the most physically intimidating villain of the entire franchise.

The entire film, however, is dragged down almost as deep into the depths of the sea as its 2006 predecessor thanks to a majorly flawed screenplay. Jumping from one event to the next there is so little development throughout you just have to wonder what the point of most of the scenes are. They feature stupid action - to get out of the Locker they capsize the ship, killing one crew member; and other action sequences range from full out swashbuckling to Jack slapping Barbossa's monkey. As I said in my review of Dead Man's Chest, the magic of the 2003 original's action was that despite being in a film that was farcical and slightly absurd, there was such well choreographed action sequences, well written comedy and an all round air of sophistication, but here all we get is another over-the-top, goofy blockbuster with too much action, although at least the final battle has big, bold action sequences with a purpose.

As well as this the minor characters have so little to do onscreen - Marty (Martin Klebba), Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook) and Pintel (Lee Arenberg) are downgraded to little more than extras; while characters such as Jack are given far too much goofy slapstick, even the twist of his schizophrenia gets cheap gags by the bucket load and loses any potential strength.
As for the subplot of Will and Elizabeth's romance it is at its corniest and most poorly performed, and the idea of their unconditional love for each other is almost obsoleted as Elizabeth becomes even more of a whore by snogging Norrington (Jack Davenport). Their wedding takes place during the climactic battle, and it is the most stupid wedding ever as they keep getting interrupted by the need to battle. Bloom and Knightley are so wooden and bland there are no convincing moments of love between them and trying to get a sense of such feelings is harder than drawing blood from a stone. Fortunately, they will not be in the next sequel - On Stranger Tides - released in almost three weeks, so I'm sure that their lack of presence will be a major improvement.

The rest of the cast also struggle to perform well: Stellan Skarsgård seems too distant when delivering lines; Hollander is completely expressionless, although there is some cold malice in his voice; and Crook's comedic qualities are all over the place in the few scenes where he is used. Although he has little to do as Marty the midget, Klebba is used for some of the only half-decent physical gags in the film, that come from the size difference between him and the other pirates - Marty is literally blown off his feet when he fires his gun. Depp still retains much charm and coolness as Jack, with good comic timing and delivery, as well as making Jack's schizophrenia wonderfully delivered and timed, making the deliciously over-the-top character one of the few worthwhile things about the film.

Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Stellan Skarsgård, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Kevin R. McNally, Chow Yun-Fat, Naomie Harris, Jack Davenport, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Keith Richards, David Schofield, Greg Ellis, Angus Barnett, Giles New, Jonathan Pryce, Martin Klebba, Reggie Lee, David Bailie, Christopher S. Capp.

Oscar nominations: Best Visual Effects (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charlie Gibson, John Frazier), Best Makeup (Ve Neill, Martin Samuel).

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