Friday, May 25, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, like the last film, has a brilliant and artistic opening. I hate to say it, but the movie goes pretty much downhill from there. It has its moments of greatness, but all in all cannot live up to the other two films because of its slow pacing and (almost) unintelligible plot. I guess I’ll talk about the bad aspects first.

The second movie, my favorite of the series, sets up a plot that has the potential to be engaging, exciting, and even a bit scary. The third film takes the story set up by Dead Man’s Chest and twists it into a confusing mess of politics, double-crosses, dark mythology, and just plain weirdness. During a few sequences that include Jack Sparrow, you’ll probably be asking yourself if the director has gone completely nuts (peanuts, most likely) … I know I was.

Gone are the creative and fun action sequences that make Dead Man’s Chest my favorite of the trilogy and the semi-light and playful tone of The Curse of the Black Pearl. Jack Sparrow is still just as funny, but his typically clever banter is drowned out by a bunch of unnecessary pirate mythology including, and not limited to, an encounter with the goddess Calypso that is very reminiscent of the end of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (with some added crabs for kicks).

I don’t mean to make the film sound like a total failure. Davy Jones looks just as amazing as in Dead Man’s Chest. In my personal opinion, Davy Jones is the best CGI character every created (sorry, Gollum). He looks completely real and is played to perfection by my favorite actor, Bill Nighy. Keith Richard’s cameo as Jack’s Dad is simply hilarious and I thought I would die when he pulled the guitar out and started strumming.

The climactic battle scenes are typically great. Gore Verbinski (the director of all three movies) knows his way around an action scene unlike any other director working today. It has to be a logistical and aesthetic nightmare to direct one of those things, and Verbinski does it deftly. Lord Cutler Beckett’s fate at the end of one of these scenes is probably my favorite part of the whole movie, and maybe even the whole franchise.

Hans Zimmer’s score for this movie is a masterpiece. Unlike the first two movies that relied heavily on a synthesizer, Zimmer unleashes the full orchestra here and writes new themes that put the score for this movie in a class of its own. Zimmer develops these themes so well that I could swear it was someone else writing the score. Excellent stuff. You should get the soundtrack. I got it earlier this week and have been listening to it non-stop.

In conclusion, At World’s End its worth seeing on the big screen just because its such a grand spectacle. Go to marvel at the weirdness and enjoy the action scenes. I suggest being well versed in the second film before you see this one or else you will be a bit confused (I love the second one and I was still confused). Some of the movie is a lot of fun, but a great majority of it represents creativity run amuck. It’s a shame, because they had a great change to make a compelling story into an excellent film.

My rating: **1/2 out of ****


Nate said...

Wait, Bill Nighy is your favorite actor? I'm intrigued. Please explain.

Phillip said...

I would say my love for Bill Nighy's acting is on par with my love for Kevin Spacy's acting.

I love Bill Nighy because he is so extremely capable of displaying every different kind of emotion in a way that is completely believable. He displays this in "The Girl in the Cafe" (excellent film) and "Gideon's Daughter" (not-so excellent film, but worth seeing because of NIghy) and when I saw him on stage in "The Vertical Hour"

He's also capable of being extrmely hilarious ... so much that I laugh so hard that I cry. Movies like "Love Actually" and "Shaun of the Dead" display his talent in these areas.

And now we see that he is more than capable of giving a performance that makes a completely CGI character with octopi for a beard an extremely emotional entity with very human qualities ... what will he do next.

In summary, he makes me laugh like no other, he makes me cry (from emotion and humor), and he strikes me as one fo the greatest English actors of his generation (along with Tom Wilkinson).

That's my two cents. Maybe its just a personal Bill NIghy Obsession but, God help me, I love the man.

Phillip said...

Oh! And how could I forget his heartbreakingly amazing performance in "Notes On A Scandal"? Great stuff ... one of his best performances.

Raymond said...

I haven't seen any of his serious roles, but I think he is hilarious in Love Actually and Shaun of the Dead. I can't remember exactly, but I think he has one (maybe two?) lines in Hot Fuzz...and the way he says "look bad" in that movie hits my funny bone every time (its in the trailer). I don't know why its funny, but it is.

He's not my favorite actor, but he is certainly up there in my book.

Hans Zimmer’s score for this movie is a masterpiece.

I really, really like this soundtrack as well!

Phillip said...

I watched "Hot Fuzz" the other day (comments forthcoming) and was extremely disappointed that he didn't have a bigger part. I guess he was too busy working on "The Vertical Hour" and Pirates.

When he's trying to be funny, anything that comes out of his mouth just reek of hilarity. I love the man.

And definitely check out "The Girl In The Cafe" (I almost wrote "The Girl In The Cage" ... probably a movie you DON'T want to watch) for a great emotional role from Nighy.