Here I am, post Pirates, with a few words about it. Well, then again – knowing me – it will be far more than a few words.
My immediate and ultra-expedient review is: I really enjoyed it. I mean, it was a wild ride. There were some more interestingly philosophical points and some general foolishness that could have been spared, but that’s the charm of the Pirates movies: the foolishness somehow turns out to be intricately important in the end. That’s basically Jack Sparrow’s character description.
So, this morning I checked out some of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, just to see what everyone else is saying; what the buzz is. Currently, it seems to be showing pretty rotten reviews. The almighty critics are saying that it’s muddled and confusing, the plot is not clear, there IS no plot, or it focuses too much on the CG effects. Clearly, these people do not have much appreciation for shameless commercial promotion, inside jokes, and the pirate brand of thematic cinema. The thing about movies like Pirates is that the audience has to know what they’re getting into. One cannot go into a movie expecting it to be brilliant. I think that critics often see movies as chances to see how many faults they can point out, and how smart and movie savvy they can make themselves sound. I will begin by saying there is one thing that I disliked about this installment in the trilogy, and that is the slightly cheesy romantic scenes between Will and Elizabeth. I’m all for a bit of cheese, but it was hitting me the wrong way last night, for some reason or another. There is a bit of a cool story curve, though. And there are points at which you’re not sure who will end up with who, or whether everyone will end up alone. As a good transition into my next and most important point: the latest pirate adventure is less predictable than the previous one. The first was altogether wacky, and (if I may attempt to utilize a categorically lame turn of phrase) funpredictable; the second one I found to be a tad predictable, but that may just be my hindsight after having watched it a whopping ten times. Now, I admit that I had Will Turner’s fate predicted at the end of the second movie. I knew exactly where they were taking him, no doubt about it. “You have a touch of destiny about you, William Turner” -Tia Dalma.
This has brought me to my next point: even more than the other two, At World’s End is a blatant and unabashedly flamboyant celebration of inside jokes and popular culture. “It’s just good business”, as Lord Cutler Beckett says. Beside being good business, it’s fun! These are Disney movies with an audience that stretches to World’s End and back again, and movie goers enjoy getting the inside quips and quirks in the films they see. In some funny way, it makes you feel like you’re part of the movie. The audience is engaged, which is great, because the writers are paying attention to who is paying to see their work, and giving them a nod. Beside that, these are things from which everyone can get a bit of a laugh, and that is perhaps part of the reason why the Pirates series has been so successful: the filmmakers know their audience, and they play to them. You can’t go wrong, really.
Jack and some of the wacky, slightly surrealist gags that are involved with his character this time around are a bit much, but it says something serious about his character, while being silly enough to work in the spectrum of new and interesting character spins At World’s End.
Speaking of character spins, some of the perennial minor characters play slightly larger roles this time around, and I enjoyed that a lot. The wooden eye gag slides into the forefront, and Jack the monkey enjoys his fifteen minutes of fame, which proves to be quite uproarious at times. Tia Dalma surges into a majorly important role, which I predicted from the last one, but is very appropriate and works well.
Other things that work well: Barbossa! I love the role he plays in this movie. You get to see way more of his character and where his allegiances lie, which is not only a great addition to the plot, but he is also perhaps the steadiest character of the lot. He seriously plays the role of Captain, and plays it well. I always love Geoffrey Rush, he’s brilliant, and I expect nothing less of him. He does not disappoint.
Who haven’t I mentioned yet? Ah, Elizabeth Swann. She’s at her most fierce At World’s End, and her most confident. Every now and then, I wanted to slap her for being so moody, but she deserves to be moody, given her circumstances. I’ve got all kinds of praise for a woman who throws herself into the abyss, when she’s being forced into another.
Keith Richards. ROCK AND ROLL. For five minutes, he is king of the screen. I will not say any more, for fear I might ruin his debut.
And finally, a final word for our favourite, the one and only, the looney and lonely, Captain Jack Sparrow. “Did anyone rescue me simply because they missed me?” Well, of course we missed you, Jack. You’re the swashbuckling heart-throb that makes being a dirty asshole with a golden heart – the hottest thing going. “I dropped my brain!” I have a soft spot for Johnny, I’ll announce my bias, but Jack Sparrow’s character isn’t so ambiguous this go around. Even when it seems like he might sway to the other side, something about the way he holds himself tells you he won’t. It’s a little less suspenseful, sure, but it is very reassuring where it needs to be. So, for those of you who like suspense, he might come off a little too nice this time, but he is still the lovable, decidedly less drunk, politically incorrect chap that we have come to love.
Verdict? Worth seeing, whether you’re a skeptic or as hopelessly optimistic as I am. I loved it. Je l’aime. And after you see it, I know you’ll agree: this is not the end.