Pirates of the Caribbean:
reviewed by Andrew James
Picture your drunk uncle sitting around a campfire trying to tell you and your friends the story of the pirates of the seven seas; complete with character voices. Now imagine he's completely making it up as he goes along and also drinking more Jack Daniels as the story progresses. What would happen if this were the case? You'd misunderstand a lot of things he is trying to say, the plot would likely be very unnecessarily convoluted and he would just keep rambling for nearly three hours until he finally passes out. Loyal readers, let me introduce you to your drunk uncle: director Gore Verbinski.
I apologize if I offend any of the hard core fans of the series (12-17 year old girls). I know that this movie was made for them and not for a film snob like myself. Still, I'm a big fan of the first one, the second was laughably bad, so the only reason to catch this one was to see how it all wraps up (though a 4th installment is likely on the way) and see if Jack can be saved after the cliffhanger that part two ended on.
The plot is ridiculously convoluted. In this thrid installment, Elizabeth (Knightly) and Will Turner (Bloom) join forces with some other pirates from around the world to save Jack Sparrow (Depp) from the underworld and bring him back to defeat Davy Jones and the evil British Lords. Sound simple enough right? But the story includes double crosses galore, more than one curse that can't be
Since this will be the biggest money-maker of the year, one explanation for that is in the special effects that people clamour for. There is no denying that the effects in Pirates 3 are some of the best yet. Bill Nighy's Davy Jones looks perfectly natural and the vast seascapes and ship battles are gorgeously believable. These effects are utilized the most during the climactic battle sequence involving every single one of the 5000 characters sprinkled throughout the film. This sequence is preposterously ridiculous and, although some may find it exciting, I found it bordering on cheesy.
Everything feels the same as it does in the second film. Huge effects, costuming and directing style. This isn't surprising since it was shot at pretty much the same time as Pirates 2. However, there were a couple of moments of originality in this film. Most notably our trip into the "under world;" or Davy Jones' Locker as it is referred to. There is some surrealism and halucinatory tactics that are employed quite well here. I enjoyed these sequences, short lived as they were, for what they are.
As far as the characters go, Depp plays more of the same; which is great, but we've seen it three times now and it is losing its luster. Orlando Bloom still has the charm and on-screen presence of a foot and Keira Knightly's role has taken a dismal turn from a strong princess type character, to the king of all pirates in all the world - disastrous. It's ludicrous and doesn't work well at all - not in a believable sense anyway. Keith Richards (yes, THAT Keith Richards) appears briefly as Sparrow's pirate father. He is a convincing enough pirate, but he has only a couple of lines and is a very brief cameo. Somehow, the producers do manage to get him playing the guitar of course. Everybody else is just there. Bill Nighy and Geoffrey Rush, two seasoned actors do well of course, but I'm just tired of the schtick at this point.
Pirates 3 is what it is. If you loved the second film, you'll probably really enjoy this one as well, as it is basically the same thing: huge effects, sword-fighting and swinging around on ropes. Throw in a mess of a storyline that is so simple, yet highly convoluted unnecessarily by difficult to understand dialogue and needless plot threads. On top of all this, the characters are stale by this point, some of them can't act out of a cardboard box and the action sequences are so far gone in the ludocrity department it is difficult to stomach.
Having said all of that, it can be fun if you look for the details in the right places. I have to admit, corny as it is and ridiculous as it sounds, watching a man fly through the air by holding a rope attached to a cannonball is strangely exhilirating to watch. Even though the same basic tactic is used at least 112 times throughout the series. In closing, I quote The BBC's Mark Kermode: "Kubrick (in 2001) went from the beginning of civilization to the dawn of a new breed of human being in just over 2 hours. It's taken [Verbinski] 8 hours to get from point A to point A." Exactly.
IMDb.com - full cast and crew
FLIXSTER PROFILE for Pirates of the Caribbean 3