Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Released: May 25, 2007
Average Rating: 5 stars (1 user)
Released: October 11, 2011
Format: Digital (80 min)
Released: August 16, 2011
Format: CD (102 min)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Soundtrack Treasures Collection
Released: December 4, 2007
Format: CD (3 hr, 55 min)
Released: September 25, 2007
Format: CD (63 min)
Released: May 22, 2007
Format: Digital (26 min)
"Only Found Out Yesterday"
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY KEITH RICHARDS
"Hoist The Colours"
LYRICS BY TED ELLIOT AND TERRY ROSSIO
MUSIC BY HANS ZIMMER AND GORE VERBINSKI
"Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)"
WORDS BY XAVIER ATENCIO
MUSIC BY GEORGE BRUNS
|by Dan Goldwasser
on December 2nd, 2007
The final chapter in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy was released this summer, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End seemed to ask more questions than it answered. When we left our rascally gang of law-breaking scallywags in Dead Man's Chest, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) had just doomed Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his ship The Black Pearl to being eaten by the Kraken, only to feel bad about it afterwards. Seeking the help of the mystic Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), Swann and her betrothed swordmaker-turned-pirate Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) now must team up with the apparently-not-quite-dead Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to get to Davy Jones' Locker to rescue Captain Jack and his boat. Their journey will take them to Singapore, where they have to contend with the ruthless pirate lord Captain Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), and then once they get to the Locker, they have the problem of getting back. Meanwhile, with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) under the control of the East India Trading Company's Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), the pirate way of life is threatened. As the different pirate lords come together to defeat this formidable enemy, Sparrow has his own plan to take control of the seas, and there are plenty of double-crossing and back-stabbing deals made in the 168-minute long film to make you scratch your head. In the end, the plot isn't the most complicated - it's just presented in an overly complicated manner, buttressed by some fun and exciting visual effects-heavy action sequences. The climactic "maelstrom" sequence involves two ship battling as they circle a whirlpool, and is easily the highlight sequence of the film.
Released as a standard one-disc edition and a two-disc "limited edition", Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End sports an excellent video transfer. The flesh-tones are solid, and the black contrast pops quite nicely. It's hard these days to spot a bad transfer for a recent film, and At World's End certainly shows how much technology has improved during DVD's lifespan. The maelstrom sequence would be the area most prone to compression issues, with all the rain and debris flying around, but it's difficult to see any problems if they're there since so much is happening on screen. The audio is loud and immersive, which you would expect from a film of this caliber. Only presented in English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, the quality is good, dialogue is clear and the score by Hans Zimmer stands out nicely through the raucous sound effects.
In terms of extras, the "limited edition" is missing one thing that the previous Pirates releases had, namely a feature-length audio commentary. The only extra on the first disc is a five-minute blooper reel that is amusing, and shows the fun Johnny Depp had on the set. The second disc is where all the other extras are, and they only total about 1.5-hours worth of stuff, so a "play all" option would have been nice. "Keith & The Captain: On Set with Johnny and the Rock Legend" is a 4.5 minute long featurette looking at the involvement of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who plays Jack Sparrow's father. Depp had always claimed that he was inspired by Richards when coming up with many behavioral characteristics for Jack Sparrow, and it's quite evident, given how Richards slurs his lines, and comes off like a caricature of the character that is loosely based on him. He's also not a professional actor by any means, as most of the footage showing him on set involved him screwing up his dialogue.
"Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom" is the highlight piece of the disc, running nearly 20-minutes long. It takes us behind the making of the climactic sequence, showing set construction (an impressive feat, building two gimbal-based ships), stunts, lighting and visual effects. It's quite informative, but doesn't touch on any of the other interesting sequences in the film that would have been nice to have a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at. "The Tale of Many Jacks" is a quick look at the use of multiple pass technology to realize the scene in Davy Jones' Locker where there are many different Jack Sparrows, and "The World of Chow Yun-Fat" is a 4-minute look at the involvement of Asia's biggest superstar in the film. There are some fun moments behind-the-scenes as Chow is a bit of a joker, and everyone seems to talk very highly of him.
For a film that at one point supposedly was running over 3.5 hours long, it's too bad that there are only two deleted scenes (total of 2.5 minutes) included. The scenes are fun, but have nothing to add to the film, so it's understandable why they were cut. It's a horrible tease to include optional commentary by director Gore Verbinski, since it feels like they should have gone just the extra mile and given us a feature commentary with him.
There are two music-related featurettes, which film score fans will enjoy. "The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer" is a 10.5-minute look at the making of the music for the film. Zimmer talks about his approach to scoring this film (a familiar topic for frequent visitors to this website), and there are plenty of behind-the-scenes moments, including development meetings in Hans' studio, soloist recordings, the orchestral sessions, and even the band session at Todd-AO when Verbinski himself played guitar for the "Parlay" track. The other featurette runs 5-minutes and focuses on the "Hoist the Colours" song, which is heard at the beginning of the film and used thematically throughout.
"Masters of Design: Creating the Pirate World" explores different aspects of designing the film, through multiple short featurettes (each runs about 5 minutes). The intricate circular map is explored in "James Byrkit: Sao Feng's Map"; creature and character design is looked at in "Crash McCreery: The Cursed Crew"; set design is explored in "Rick Heinrichs: Singapore"; the costume built for Keith Richards is looked at in "Penny Rose: Teague's Costume", and finally the large-scale prop book is looked at in "Kris Peck: The Code Book". It's a lot of good information and it goes into reasonable detail, but there are still lots of things in the film that aren't addressed at all. Finally, "Inside the Brethren Court" gives us short (1-2 minute) mythological explorations on the back-stories of the nine different pirate lords, which are pretty neat and informative. It would have been more convenient if they had a "Play All" function, though.
The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End "Limited Edition" 2-disc DVD set is only going to be available in stores until the fall of 2008, so that's plenty of time to get around to picking it up. You'll find it worth while if you enjoyed the film and are looking for some more insight into the making of the film, but it still feels like there is a lot more to come, and I hope that in the future Disney gives us a more comprehensive "making-of" to bring the extras on this film up to the same standards they provided on the previous two films.
|by Dan Goldwasser
on May 27th, 2007
As a film franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean was really surprising. That is to say, who would have thought that a film based on a ride at Disneyland would do so well? It didn't work for The Haunted Mansion, which failed to connect with audiences in a way that Jerry Bruckheimer's action-packed spectacle apparently did. Last year's sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was little more than a transitory middle film, designed to introduce us to new characters and set up a lot of plot that would ultimately (hopefully!) pay off in the final film in the trilogy. That film is now here, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is a bit of a mess, but it delivers plenty of action and character moments that pay off - even if not in the ways you would expect.
The film's action starts in Singapore, where now back-from-the-dead Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) are trying to work out a deal with Pirate Lord Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), to gain access to the charts to Davy Jones' Locker, where Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has been sentenced to spend eternity. Of course, Elizabeth is still feeling guilty about how she sentenced Jack to "death" at the end of the second film, and Barbossa has an alterior motive for bringing Jack back from the Locker, one which involves the mystic Tia Dalma (Naomie Harriss). Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) in the meantime, is trying to free his father "Bootstrap" Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgård) from his 100 years of service to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), who is currently under the command of Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the East India Trading Company, who is seeking to eliminate all of the pirates and rule the oceans. It's not too complicated really, but the progression of deals that are made (and broken) to achieve everyone's own ends is presented in an unnecessarily complicated manner.
Running a bloated 168-minutes, the film has some pacing issues, primarily in the middle section, but once the action kicks in for the climactic battle sequence in the middle of a turbulent maelstrom, things definitely pick up a bit. Director Gore Verbinkski has certainly grown as a director over the course of the Pirates movies, and the action sequences have a cinematic quality to them that was missing from the first two films, with sweeping crane shots as cannonballs wreak destruction throughout the various naval vessels.
The visual effects by Industrial Light and Magic were Oscar-winning last year, and this time around they are certainly on par with their past effort. (For example, the rain running down Davy Jones' face is completely believable.) Musically, Hans Zimmer pulled out all the stops on this one, and armed with a handful of new themes (and a satisfying sprinkle of the old themes), is able to battle it out with the sound effects. A battle which, unfortunately, he loses on occasion, but for the most part the music shines through.
By the time the movie is over, much like Spider-Man 3, we're exhausted from the sheer overwhelming amount of plot and character interactions that ultimately lead to a bit of a twist ending, but a relatively satisfying one, nonetheless. It remains to be seen if they will make another Pirates film, but for now, the trilogy is at an end, and it certainly goes out with a prolonged, drawn-out bang.
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