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Pirates of the Caribbean - At World’s End

After a long day at work, there’s nothing like sitting down in the theater and watching something fun, something that is going to take your mind off the daily grind and make you feel like a kid again. While the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie didn’t exactly make me feel 10 years old again, it did bring back a nostalgia I had for the pirate movies of old.

One of my favorite movies ever is “The Crimson Pirate”. Starring Burt Lancaster, it had everything a pirate movie needed. A dashing hero, a beautiful damsel in distress, a suitably nasty villain, and amazing stunts. But what it had the most was a sense of humor, a sense of fun. Everyone seemed to be having a good time being in the movie. It’s hard to recreate that feeling in movies these days; our society has become so media-driven and obsessed with style over substance, it’s hard to even take time anymore to develop a character in a movie. So when the first Pirates movie came out, everyone was immediately drawn to Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a character that became iconic almost from the very first frame. Depp’s performance was full of life, and it made Depp arguably one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

When the second movie came out, the movie itself was more successful than ever. But somehow, the character has lost its edge. What was fresh and new and daring in the first movie became expected in the second. Everyone was expecting Jack Sparrow to act like the second coming of Keith Richards, and that’s exactly what they got. While the movie itself was fun to watch, the whole enterprise had become bogged down by its own history, or more specifically the history of its main character. The plot was convoluted, and while the other leads tried to make their own mark on the movie (especially Bill Nighy as Davy Jones), it was Jack’s movie to make or break. While box office would tell you he made the movie, many critics would say otherwise.

So for the third go-around, the British are about to round up and kill off the last pirates in the world with the help of Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) are searching for Jack Sparrow, who was last seen being eaten by the Kraken. Along for the ride, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and the rest of the crew from the first two movies. We start off with Barbossa and Swann going to Singapore to gain the help of Captain Sao Feng, who is one of the nine Pirate Lords, in gaining a ship to cross over to the “other” side to bring back Jack.

After an exciting escape, they sail to the Arctic and over the “edge” of the world (a great effect in the movie). They end up on an island, where Jack Sparrow is running around talking and fighting with a dozen copies of himself. This was probably the most annoying part of the movie, having the character converse with himself for long minutes. I think it goes without saying that a little bit of Jack Sparrow goes a long ways.

They manage to bring Jack back, and then the story starts getting a little bit complicated. Maybe too much so, as I had real trouble following it initially. Anyone who hasn’t seen movies 1 and 2 would probably be hopelessly lost. There are a great number of fabulous action sequences, the money spent on the movie is all up there on the screen, and if you’re looking for amazing special effects, especially the sequences involving Davy Jones, you’re in for a treat.

But after three movies, I’m not sure they could really do anything new with the character of Jack Sparrow. He does have a few moments where something different comes out in him and shows he’s not just about being an eccentric pirate. But the movie never really holds on him long enough for anything new to come out. There’s always a new creature to show, or a new explosion to happen, and therefore the movie loses what little opportunity it has for it to be something other than the Jack Sparrow show, or even for it to extend his character to something other than what it was for the first two movies.

It is too bad really, they could have done something special with the Jack Sparrow character. It’s a great deal of fun to watch, the characters are exactly what you’d expect them to be, but there’s something missing. Perhaps its the sense of fun that The Crimson Pirate had and the first Pirates movie had. I enjoyed it, but it’s not something I would want to see in a theater more than once. I give the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End three stars, and give the series overall a three star rating.Pirates of the Caribbean runs 2 hours and 48 minutes (!!!) and is rated PG-13.3starGood47