When Pirates of the Caribbean first appeared, I was
pained at the thought of having to go see a pirate movie (remember,
I like 'em all) based on a theme park ride.
Bad enough that we have video game-based movies, but a ride?
Talk about your sad commentary. What's next? Epcot Center:
Well, I was absolutely thrilled that the movie was not only
a success by my wonky yardstick, but by everyone else's, too.
Historically, pirate movies have been too expensive, too much
work to be viable. Or just not good.
As a franchise, though, the Pirates machine has been
unbelievably successful, either because of the star power of
Depp, Bloom, et al, or because it bent the genre just enough
to allow for some supernatural shenanigans. There's also the
fact that Gore Verbinski admitted that it's not just a pirate
movie, but every pirate movie. In other words, he took every
single "set piece" for a pirate film and made sure it found
its way into the first two movies.
Well, for those of you who didn't like the second
Pirates movie as much, and were sitting on the fence
about whether or not to go see the third one, you need to go.
Go now and see the movie. Seriously. It's redemptive in a
way that third movies (in a franchise) never are. It answers
all of your questions, even a few lingering ones from the first
movie, and it ties every plot up neatly and efficiently.
Okay, that's great and all, but come on, this is 2007. They've
been doing three-quels for a while now, and certainly in the
last few years they've gotten better at wrapping everything
up. So, we expect that, right? What else could I say to knock
you off the fence of doubt?
How about continuing and complicated character development?
New plots and intrigue? Incredible (and lengthy) set pieces,
battles, and derring-do? You all remember that glimpse of Jack
Sparrow and Davey Jones dueling on the mainsail, in the maelstrom?
Tip of the iceberg, folks.
If you saw that piece of business and thought, "wow, that
looks pretty cool," then there's lots of stuff waiting for you
in this movie.
But back to character and plot development.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End may be the
first third movie in a franchise ever to wrap up all existing
plot threads from the second cliffhanger, add new plots, and
keep the characters' growth arcs extending all the way through
the film. As such, it's satisfying and even surprising when
things turn out the way they do.
Everyone in the movie has logical forward progression, is
working for their own ends, and at no time do you ever realize
you've been in the movie theater for almost three hours. Even
Jack the monkey gets his own arc, for crying out loud, moving
from creepy plot device, to one-joke nuisance, to finally god-in-the-machine,
Best of all, the dialogue tags that plagued the
second movie are largely absent or given to different characters
in the third movie, making for a far less egregious outing.
The sole cameo in the film is one of the most "I can't believe
they did that" moments that actually knocked me out of the film,
but I didn't care. I dove right back in.
If we never get another Pirates movie, I'll be thrilled
with the three that I have. If they do three more, they will
have a really big set of shoes to fill.