the studio gate

the backlot

the screening room
The Screening Room

The final 45-minutes or so of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” are so enjoyable, one wonders why it takes so long to get there.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” arrives on DVD and Blu-ray disc December 4th.

The motley crew of Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, Elizabeth, Captain Barbossa and Davy Jones is back for a third time. The previous “Pirates” films in the trilogy were quite entertaining, despite part two having flaws. The third film, though, is surprisingly slow going and does too much in the way of exposition. It’s fun to go to Singapore and meet Chow Yun Fat and marvel at the tremendous sets. But the story gets bogged down with too many characters and situations, it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on. Stick around for long enough, Gore Verbinski and crew up the ante and make an entertaining film.

I believe, for the most part, Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow really makes the films a lot of fun to watch. Take out Sparrow and leave in Turner and Elizabeth to fight Davy Jones and other cutthroats, you’d have a good movie. But I don't think that their characters would be able to carry the films. And that’s what happens with “At World’s End.” We’re given a lot of explanation of why things happen in the pirate world, when really we want to see Sparrow and his crewmates get into a lot of pirate action. The incredible sets, visual effects and excellent acting by Geoffrey Rush (Capt. Barbossa) and Bill Nighy (Davy Jones) are great on their own, but Depp’s Capt. Jack Sparrow makes the film, and series, whole.

One of the nice surprises, even though the press hyped him up beforehand, is seeing Keith Richards as Sparrow’s father, Captain Teague. Too bad Richards is a busy man touring with a "little" band called The Rolling Stones. He’s a lot of fun in his short scene during a pirate’s gathering. Richards is so cool and confident, he might’ve taken many scenes away from Depp, and that’s difficult to do. It would’ve been a lot of fun watching them interacting in more scenes. But I’ll take what’s been given.

The movie isn’t bad at all, but it doesn’t exactly become exciting until the climatic scenes. “At World’s End” runs 167-minutes. That yar be a long movie, matey! The film could’ve been tighter, in my opinion.

The look of the film is fantastic, as usual. The production design by Rick Heinrichs is rich with pirate detail. The visual effects are stunning and I’m still in amazement over how ILM created Davy Jones’s face. The sound is quite good, though I’d love to hear the soundtrack on a Blu-ray disc with its uncompressed sound.

The cast is enjoyable. I’ve felt that Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly, in their roles, are a bit too serious and straight-laced. I think they strike a nice counterbalance to the mayhem, but I think at times they slow the film down. Almost everyone else, except for the British officers (naturally), seems to be having a great time playing pirates. Depp's crewmates are a talented bunch.   

If there was a complaint I have about the film, it comes from being a father of a young child. I mention this because a lot of children under the age of 13 will be asking Santa for “At World’s End.” Parents should take caution and decide whether or not this film is appropriate for their children (please see "Ye Be Warned, Says I," below).

If you’re above the age of 13, which I’m sure most of “Pirates” fans are, then get the newest DVD. The movie, as whole, ponders along, but if you’ll stick around for a bit, you'll get a buccaneer's bounty out of it.

Ye Be Warned, Says I

The “Pirates” movies marked a departure for Walt Disney Studio branded films. Apparently producer Jerry Bruckheimer wanted edgier fare that wasn’t toned down for audiences of all ages. When "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was released in 1988, and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" was released in 1993, Disney decided it was best to release those films under their Touchstone Pictures label. It was thought that the adult undertone of each movie, or scary images in the latter, wouldn't be appropriate for most children. "Roger Rabbit" is still fairly risqué, to a degree, though "Nightmare" is perfectly okay for my child. Times have changed at Disney.

 From the beginning, the "Pirates" films from 2003 and 2006 have been filled with dark and scary images, as well as violence. It can be argued that the original concept of the 1967 attraction featured a lot of political incorrectness. It did. There are pirates firing canons at each other, swashbuckling and scary imagery on the attraction. When I was little, I can remember being scared of the talking skeleton before the boat drops into the abyss. Times and maturity changed me. Many years later, I was upset with Disney caving into political correctness by altering some of the attraction’s elements. Who were these moral citizens that Disney was supposedly catering to anyway? There would be no more pirates chasing lasses. Instead, they’d be chasing lasses carrying trays of food. Exchange lust for gluttony. They were pirates, for heaven’s sake! They were supposed to be scoundrels.

The charm of the “Pirates” attraction was that even though there were touches of violence and mayhem, the ride was suitable for most children. There are no beheadings, blood, or gore on the attraction. Nobody gets shot, even though guns are being fired at them. It's pretend. The “Pirates” movies, though, are very violent and, at times, sexually suggestive. I guess Disney has come a long way from the day’s of “The Shaggy Dog” (1959) and it's a small world.

The rating of the “Pirates” films is PG-13 and there is an additional warning on the rating to advise parents. You may recall that the PG-13 was created after there was an outcry over the extreme violence in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984). It's become, over the years, a safe "R" rating for many films. I'm positive that if "At World's End" was released prior to 1984, it would've been rated R.

Maybe the parental side comes out of me too often. Good thing I didn’t let my daughter watch the film, though she’s seen parts of the first one (i.e. non-violent and scary). I was taken aback with the violence in “At World’s End.” One of the scenes that caught me off-guard included a woman being shot in the head. In another, there is a scene that is surprisingly frank in sexuality. Believe me, I don’t find the idea of violence and sexuality in a pirate film wrong. I’m not a crusader for cleaning up films and television (though I’m finding myself changing the channel more often when my kid’s in the room, but that’s for another time). However, for a Disney-branded film, these elements could’ve been toned down, or the films could've been released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. But Jerry Bruckheimer has a lot of pull at Disney, and his risk of producing the "Pirates" movies as such has been very profitable. 

I watched “At World’s End” before I considered letting my daughter watch it. I'm glad I did. I did what I felt was a responsible thing to do as a parent. I would’ve felt terrible for letting her watch it, only to have her shocked and scared at what happened on the screen. I'm sure when she gets older, the rating and movies like this won't be a factor anymore. For the time being, she's not allowed to watch it.

Some PG-13 movies are relatively harmless for children under the age of 13. “At World’s End” isn’t harmless, and if you have sensitive children, be aware that it might not be appropriate for them.


Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: © Disney. All rights reserved.

Quick Glimpse



Great movie once you get to World's End

Director: Gore Verbinski

Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy, Chow Yun Fat, and that cool monkey


Double disc filled with lots of extras



Picture: Very Good
Sound: Excellent

Check out Davy Jones again--those are some neat effects

Look for a cameo by Keith Richards

Aspect Ratio (2.39:1)

Dolby Digital 5.1

December 4, 2007