Friday, May 25, 2007



There's a daft artiness to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, to its composition in early scenes, the white desert nothingness of Jack Sparrow's limbo especially, and the ravishing squalor of Sao Feng's watery stronghold. Notable also is the film's darkness and the really questionable PG-13 rating: it's not an R, certainly, but it's hard to say it's PG-13 either. For example, when violence breaks out in Sao Feng's stronghold there's a bullet to a woman's forehead and later, sailing through frigid arctic waters, a crew member frantically rubs his frozen foot only to have his big toe snap off in his hand. And so on. It's never gratuitous, it isn't gore, but you feel it. Nobody's goofing around.

Except the whole series is a goof, this generation's Star Wars in a way, and always fun. Halfway through this installment, it occurred to me that this may be the first series to invent its mythology in reverse. And invent they do. My God, At Worlds End is less a narrative and more a perverse experiment in plotting -- and I don't really mean that as a criticism. Allegiances shift like sunlight on a cloudy day, betrayals are arranged that may only betray the betrayal. I think it goes further than that sometimes. It's dense and dizzying so prepare to for a certain degree of confusion. It seems to me a purposeful dizziness.

I still thought it was pretty great, the only big movie this year to deliver the goods or not embarrass itself (Spider-Man 3, you know who I'm talking to). It looks and sounds amazing, Depp is still Depp, Geoffrey Rush continues to push pirate-speak ever farther into a near surreal tongue of YARRRRR, and the rest of the gang is on board as well.

Things I liked:

the homage to Return of the Jedi in the opening scenes;

the pebble and the peanut;

a certain cameo that I will not spoil;

the dwarf pirate with the huge gun;

the ballsy resolution of one character's fate: perfect and essential, but rare in big budget fare;

Sao Feng;

one pirate lord's completely daffy voice;

a climactic kiss, in the best of Hollywood traditions;

Davey Jones;

a monkey fired from a cannon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

have you read the Village Voice's review of this? i found it hilarious. your review makes me want to see it.