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David Poland

By David Poland

Pirates Spoiler Review

It feels a bit like I am whistling in the dark.
The film industry left town for the weekend yesterday and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is open and making money hand over pirate fist.
I did a bit of broad commentary on the film in yesterday’s 20 Weeks column on MCN. Here now, some SPOILERS in review.

The rest…

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23 Responses to “Pirates Spoiler Review”

  1. Direwolf says:

    Fair points from a movie critics point of view, but the average 17 and 18 year old who is driving the box office of this movie probably likes the wedding scene the first time and finds the non-stop action of the maelstrom with the swinging pirates and sword fights to be just what the doctor ordered.
    And they don’t care about the politics or lack of development of the pirate lords. They find the brief shots of each pirate lord funny and fun.
    And though Dave didn’t mention it many reviews I read thought all the double and triple crosses were too hard follow. Again, I don’t think the average teenager cares. Either they know the first two films so well that they can follow it or they don’t really care as they just understand that everyone is working their own agenda but in the end they come together. Pirates are supposed to double cross so it doesn’t matter if every ticket buyer follows all the intricacies.

  2. Wrecktum says:

    I think I agree with Poland’s review, but I’ll have to see it again to be sure.
    I’ve never thought much about studio imposed deadlines, but the May 25 hard opening of this film must have really hurt the editing process. If they had a few more months to tinker around on the Avid, I think a better movie would have emerged.

  3. I quite liked it. I mean, sure, it’s long and confusing (I did not understand any of that Calypso stuff) and it felt very everything-and-the-kitchen-sink-ish, but I didn’t want some serious allegory to modern day politics or whatever. I wanted big special effects-driven action sequences, intricately designed sets and costumes, some funny pirate jokes and so on. On that level it delivered. I’m sick of all these big movies being serious downers.
    The wedding bit didn’t quite work, I agree, but I loved Rush’s reply “I’m a little busy!” Man, it’s so good having Rush back here isn’t it? He’s so right for it. And I was quite pleased to see Keira given something to do. She was pretty much the co-lead. I mean, everything revolves around her for a lot of it. Just as much as Depp.
    Technically it is amazing (those effects crews are surely getting another Oscar). My favourite sequence was probably the Up Is Down bit.
    Hopefully the very end (as in the bit after the credits) stops the Pirates 4 talk in it’s track…
    Ignoring the fact that Keira still looked 20 when it was supposedly ten years later, would they really make another movie where they’re all supposedly ten or more years older yet without a single extra wrinkle?

  4. And yes, i realise what I wrote makes me sound like the typical teenager that Direwolf is slagging off. Or, at least I think he’s having a go at them.

  5. ployp says:

    I left before the last scene. Could you please tell me what exactly happens?
    I liked the film. I didn’t think the wedding was premature, but it was sweet of Jack to let Will stab the heart. I didn’t catch the politics at all, and I’m glad I didn’t. It wasn’t apparent and I like the film the better because that aspect isn’t overtly exposed. Barbossa was the best, Elizabeth is too. Jack, well, he’s a bit too much for me. I felt I’ve already seen all his tricks. But he’s still funny. Will, well, I felt he was a jerk and I didn’t like him as much as I did in the first film. All in all, I’m glad I saw it.

  6. ployp says:

    Just went over to YouTube and they have the last scene. It’ll be removed soon but here’s the link in case anyone missed it in theater like me.

  7. EDouglas says:

    KC: My instinct on the Pirates 4 thing is that they’ll wait 10 years and then do another movie with Depp and Rush (either a sequel or prequel) and not have Knigthley or Bloom in the equation. THe reason I think this is because there was a very clearly delineated character arc of Elizabeth and Will that began in the opening scene of Curse of the Black Pearl that ends with At World’s End. Their story is over. Maybe Bloom could make a cameo in a fourth movie if it takes place after current events, but I think they’d be better off just focusing on what happens with Jack and Barbossa next.

  8. EDouglas says:

    LOL! The commentary over that YouTube video is better than the actual scene.

  9. Direwolf says:

    Hey KC, I wasn’t slagging off the tennagers just making an observation. I actually prefer to think critically about movies from the perspective of whether the target audience is going to like it. Of course, that is because I do investments in media stocks for a living.
    I can say that my two teenagers, 19 and almost 17, are more hyped for this movie than any other I can remember. They also tell me that all their friends feel the same way. Finally, my 19 year old, who I saw the film with last night was on Facebook all day yesterday and says that those who had seen it overwhelmingly liked it. Of course it is not a good sample and they were among the first to go which indicates love for the series.

  10. crazycris says:

    I don’t get why people keep saying it’s confusing! I had no problem whatsoever following the plot… maybe it’s that tha actors spoke more clearlyin French? I’ll keep that in mind whenever I get the chance to see it again in English! ;o)
    That ending really hit me… I was caught up in the Will-Elisabeth arc since the first movie (that plus crazy Jack of course), and to see it end like that… ouch!!! Was a big surprise for a Disney movie! (cause I’m sure no one will agree once every 10 years is a happy ending! besides, he won’t change, she will!)
    It was fun to get another 2h of Barbossa (but he doesn’t come across as well in French, sigh!), and the look on Jack’s face at the end… priceless!
    So yeah, if they wanted they’ve left enough open to do another Pirates (hopefully not too soon), and it would definitely leave out Knightley and Bloom (unless at some point in those 10 years she actually did something as Pirate King! that was a fabulous and underused quirk!)
    And I think it’s definitely hit the mark with its target audience. I know a couple of teenagers who have already seen it twice and are planning on a third trip!

  11. EthanG says:

    Yeah, I think it’s pretty clear Knightley and Bloom are done; the final scene, and the fact Bloom has said he’s tired of blockbusters and wants to study acting for a change back that up.
    But yeah, I think Depp and Rush will be back for a 4th…maybe 5 years down the line?

  12. EthanG says:

    The end seemed to preface Capt. Jack searching for the fountain of youth if there’s another movie… how cool would it be if Capt. Jack was the lead in a remake Aronofsky’s The Fountain?

  13. Tofu says:

    David, and even Alexandria DuPont of AICN are onto this one being troubled by… Incompleteness. Which is a bit odd, since the major arcs are essentially tied up.
    The action isn’t as memorable, true, but it is also more easy to digest and more skillfully crafted. The Kraken scenes and Barbossa fights from the previous flicks just slogged on, while here there are enough twists happening IN the action to make it worth paying attention to.
    Recommended, but here is to the next one (2010?) bringing back some of the whimsical fun of it all.

  14. ployp says:

    Elizabeth and Will can return for another film. They can find a way to reverse the curse and really be together. I’d say they have a better motive than either Jack or Barbossa. Besides, I don’t think that a Pirates movie can be complete without Lizzie or Will.

  15. doug r says:

    So it’s Casablanca with Jack as Rick and Elizabeth as Ilsa?

  16. LYT says:

    I seem to recall Orlando Bloom making remarks to the effect that his character was done. The way the movie ended, I’d assume part four would be the continuing adventures of Sparrow and Barbossa, with Saprrow perhaps becoming a bit more of a conventional romantic lead.
    I don’t know anyone who thinks Orlando Bloom has much to do with the success of these films. Keira, maybe, but only for her looks, and it’s easy enough to find another pretty face.

  17. crazycris says:

    ummm… if they reverse that curse then Will dies. period! and there’s no more Tia Dalma to bring him back to life. SO I’d say we’ve seen the last of Will Turner, unless in a cameo or something…

  18. waterbucket says:

    Could someone please tell me in details the ending because I actually felt asleep after Elizabeth traded Jack for Will? I’m not joking at all. God, that was an awful movie.

  19. But at the end (the very end) he HAS fulfilled his duty. Like, it ended with that.
    I do sort of wish that they had just made two seperate standalone films and maybe the real zest of the first one would have been intact.

  20. qwiggles says:

    —-Spoilers ahead——
    “Jack wants Elizabeth and The Dutchman (which also works for Barbossa, who wants The Black Pearl), Elizabeth wants the freedom and adventure that Jack offers her, and Will has been in the way of all of it. But in that moment, as he lies there dying, Elizabeth realizes that he is her true love and that his disloyal-on-the-surface choices have been for a good, honorable reason. And Jack does his usual combo of selfish (he doesn’t want to ferry dead bodies or have a squid face) and slyly heroic (giving Elizabeth, who really does love, what she wants once he understands it, by putting the sword in Will’s hand).”
    This reads much more compelling than it played for me in the theatre, which is either a knock on the movie or a notch in your cap.
    What really soured the movie for me was the same lack of closure/arc-fulfillment that bothered you, except I didn’t find it especially clear in this film that Jack and Elizabeth even had feelings for each other, apart from the former being a bit rattled by the latter’s betrayal in the last movie.
    It seemed almost like this one assumed the Elizabeth-Jack tension in the last movie would carry over to this one in good faith, and so they didn’t even need to establish that there was a choice on either of their parts in that scene. Consequently, it felt like Elizabeth just didn’t want this bland fellow she just married to die, not that she was giving up the life of a pirate or something; on Jack’s part, it seemed like all he was sacrificing was a job he knew didn’t really suit him anyway (as a pirate), not a chance to be with Elizabeth.
    I think the film would’ve been much stronger if it more closely followed your conclusion — that she realized Will was her true love and acted accordingly; that Jack loved her, and gave her what she wanted — but frankly, I didn’t see that at all. I also could’ve done with a scene where the great goddess Calypso did more than grow freakishly tall and explode into a bunch of crabs.

  21. Crow T Robot says:

    I usually walk out of a bloated film like Pirates feeling worn out. Maybe a headache. Maybe a smug sense of “being better than it all.” But for some reason I left depressed yesterday. This utterly charmless, mechanical piece of real estate. Is this the best money can buy?
    Thinking about it, the only character who shows any dimension is Jack Davenport’s, who is quickly killed off after his change of heart. It felt as though the movie itself was punishing any sense of free thought… that anyone who breaks the mold of what they’re supposed to be is a traitor to the cause.
    How strange of “a family film” to find one drop of real humanity and then smudge it out.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think it’s a bad film – there are too many great images and fun concepts to qualify for that – but it’s too exhausting and overstuffed to be a good film too. The screenplays for these movies are out of control, so full of contrivances in order to build Syd Field ‘conflict’ (there’s no reason for all the multiple ‘betrayals’ except to complicate the plot and build suspense, unnecessarily) and so full of things that are built up and don’t pay off (Calypso) that all you can really get out of the movie is a sense that Bruckheimer and Verbinski must be fairly insecure men that they have such a need to try and top Lucas and Peter Jackson at the fantasy adventure game but lacking an actual vision to express.
    Did anyone else think that when Bill Nighy was seen without CGI makeup, his beard looked terribly fake?

  23. Crow T Robot says:

    Maybe I’m being unfair. I was pretty fatigued during the screening… at one point I hallucinated that Keith “The Daddy Snorter” Richards showed up dressed like Captain Hook and strumming a 1968 Gibson Blue Ridge!
    I know, I must be insane, huh?
    So who are the smart people I owe an apology to?

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt