When I visited my parents and sister over the long weekend, I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: More Subtitles and walked away thinking exactly one thing: Boring, boring, boring, boring.
No movie does a better job of showing us that Hollywood's "bigger is better" mantra is just plain wrong. Everyone loved Johnny Depp in the first one, right? Then twenty Depps must be twenty times more awesome. And, you know, people double-crossed each other in that one, too. So, let's have everyone betray everyone else arbitrarily and in confusing ways.
Except for the monkey. Everyone loves the goddamn, loyal, always-ready-for-a-reaction-shot monkey.
I'd rather have spent the eighteen hours I spent drooling in front of PotC 3 watching the producers burn money on the screen literally instead of figuratively. In half speed, because three-quarters of the film was in bombastic slo-mo. Including an utterly ridiculous, stupid, overlong, boring shot of a character I couldn't give a half a crap about walking through an exploding ship for about twenty minutes while a song I believe is called "Kinda Sounds like a Shitty Carmina Burana in C" played on the soundtrack. My girlfriend put her sunglasses on during the film for a little while. Smart one, she is.
The plot ping-pongs from one locale to another, among at least three or four separate groups of people, each with their own motivations, none of which really make sense. The payoff of pretty much everyone's duplicity is an improbable result which really made me question whether our stalwart protagonists were prescient or just plain lucky.
It's not so much a "plot" as the result of an improv class populated by an ADD fifteen-year olds ("And then I totally betray you! But we're still super-secret BFFs!"). I mean, it makes a certain amount of sense, but it's supposed to be about the spectacle.
The visuals were just wannabe inventive. I'm a sucker for style and good explosions. PotC 3 had none. I'm uncertain how a movie which involves two ships shooting an entire strip mine's worth of cannonballs at each other while circling a maelstrom managed to be unshakingly blah, but . . . there you go. It's a skill worthy of a resume: "Can make shit from gold."
And we're not even addressing Keira Knightley's "Look, Mom, I've dressed up in big girl clothes" acting. I believed nothing about her performance. The machinations of the plot contrive to make her a leader in this movie, but she has none of the regality of, say, Blanchett in Elizabeth, or sexual ferocity of Fiorentino in The Last Seduction, or the soldier-discipline of Farscape's Claudia Black or . . . anything, really. Her Aragorn rally-the-troops moment is laughable, in the way Bush would be when he's trying to be inspiring.
The rest of cast does what it can. Geoffry Rush is fun to watch and Orlando Bloom . . . appears on screen. Johnny Depp takes center stage in a turned-up-to-11 version of his original performance in the much, much better first film. I don't want any more Captain Jack. Please. It was breakthrough, yes. It made PotC 1.
But I couldn't help imaging Gore Verbinski just out of frame, wearing a turtleneck and yelling, "Bigger! I want more!" every time Depp stepped in front of the camera.
This movie tired me out. I do sincerely think it could have been good. Bringing back Geoffrey Rush was a good thing. But, in the end, it met the expectations I had of the PotC 1 when I saw the first trailer: "They're making a movie of a theme park ride?"
And screw that stupid monkey.