Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

I’m not above admitting that I enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End despite its monstrous run time and its agonizingly slow plot — and not to mention the ridiculously long-winded maelstrom scene at the end. So needless to say when the 2-Disc Limited Edition DVD showed up at my door, I was less than enthused — I thought that I would be able to let this flick die as a one-time watch and move on with my critical existence. But like any good reviewer, I unwrapped this torturous test of will and popped it into my DVD player, one disc at a time.

The film itself has not changed at all. Nothing was added, thank god; and unfortunately for those of us who were hoping for the Special 1/2 disc trimmed down edition, nothing was removed. But alas, long run time or not, At World’s End is an epic way to end the Pirates trilogy. The characters are at this point embedded into our pop culture lore, most notably the staggering pirate known as Captain Jack — played to a T once again by Johnny Depp. There are also a few great surprises in the flick, as you may know if you were one of the many who donated to it’s $958 million dollar worldwide gross. Chow Yun-Fat is wicked cool as Sao Feng, the rebel pirate from Singapore and Keith Richards delivers one of the year’s best cameo’s as Captain Teague, the father of our favorite pirate Captain Jack.

In retrospect, At World’s End is less of a great movie and more of just a decent theme-park ride, giving us enough action to keep us entertained and a solid dose of characters with which we have already become familiar. The problem is that the film goes off on various tangents — including a series of scenes in which Captain Jack hallucinates, leading to a ship full of Captain Jacks. And while most women in America would kill to be on a ship with 100 Johnny Depps, it doesn’t make for good entertainment. In the end the film itself was worth seeing in theaters, but certainly not as enticing on DVD.

That said, I dove into the second disc of this set searching for answers to all of the remaining questions. Why was this movie so long? What was director Gore Verbinski thinking? And why was it necessary for that final battle scene to go on longer than most made-for-TV movies? Within the many special features, I found only a few answers. Within the featurette called “Masters of Design” I found a few interesting bits about the folks who brought this epic to life. Although as much as I was interested in how the special effects team at ILM pulled off some of the big action of the high seas, I wasn’t entertained by the 10 minute feature about how they created Keith Richards’ costume. No offense to the costume department on the flick — you did a wonderful job and should be nominated for an Oscar for your work on this film — but I just didn’t need to see how you made one costume.

Speaking of Keith Richards — by far the best feature on the second disc is called “Keith & The Captain: On the Set with Johnny Depp and The Rock Legend”. It features an interview with Keith Richards and Johnny Depp that is a lot of fun, despite the fact that Richards mumbles his way through it. It was nice to see how much respect the two have for each other, as together (whether consciously or not) they have created one of the most iconic Disney character’s since Mickey Mouse in Captain Jack Sparrow.

So there you have it — Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is out on DVD this Tuesday. If you haven’t seen the flick, give it a rent and plan a long evening with Captain Jack and his crew of oddball characters. If you loved the flick, you will love the special features included in the 2-Disc edition — and you can also count yourself among one of the more patient people in society. And finally, if you were like me, someone who saw the film in theaters and enjoyed it but had no intentions of seeing it again, I would give this one a pass — there is plenty else coming out on DVD in December upon which you can spend your hard-earned dough.

The Upside: This is still one of the better films of the year, despite it being painfully long. The blooper reel on the second disc is pretty good, too.

The Downside: There are a lot of special features on the special disc, only about 1/2 of which are very interesting.

On the Side: Something of note for Blu-ray fans: the Blu-ray version of At World’s End is presented in 1080i resolution. It is this week’s official “WTF?” move. Why no 1080p? Thanks a bunch, Disney.

Recommendation: Rent

Grade: C+

Release Date: December 4, 2007
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 165 minutes
Number of Discs: 2
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Chow Yun-Fat
Director: Gore Verbinski
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Also Available on: Blu-ray HD

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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