Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

by Catherine McCafferty
Average rating of 2.5/5. (2 Ratings)
My rating
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  • I like it.
  • Just okay.
  • Not for me.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 169 minutes

Captain Jack Sparrow and the East India Trading Company face off in a final battle for control of the seas in this third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.

It's saying something that Jack Sparrow, stranded in Davy Jones' locker, is the lucky one. His pirate fellows are being hanged, group by group, by Cutler Beckett. Ruthless realities darken this film, at times shocking even Jack Sparrow. In scenes with his Keeper-of-the-Code father, and his rival, Captain Barbossa, Jack even reflects on the world changing around him and his place in it. (Dare we say, Jack grows in this film? His pirate dad seems to think so.) Several characters meet unexpected fates, and the film ends with a dismaying sense that it can't possibly, really be the end.

Still, this is a Jack Sparrow film -- savvy? -- so it can't be all doom and gloom. The film takes us beyond the Caribbean to meet pirates from around the world. The Brethren Court in action is something to see, as is the book that holds "the Code" spoken of so reverently (or not) by Jack and his band. Add a touch of maritime myth with the sea goddess Calypso, and you have a film balancing its personal scale against the weight of history and the universal experience of love and loss. All that, plus Jack's humorously skewed logic and scheming.

Kids Will Like:
General mayhem and swordfighting, a dash of romance, and a sea goddess revealed. But more specifically...

The little dog that appeared in Black Pearl and got left behind in Dead Man's Chest makes a happy comeback.

The "nine pieces of eight" scene -- who would've thought a rolling eyeball was that important?

And how cool is that "Hoist the Colors" scene? Every pirate has a different flag.

Parents Will Like:

As Jack's father/Keeper of the Code/Captain Teague, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards looks both as old and ageless as the Code itself.

For fathers and sons, there are reconciliations between Jack and his dad and Will and his dad. For mothers and daughters, there is the happily-ever-after (sort of) between Will and Elizabeth. And lest that sound too sexist, girls still have a strong, smart character in Elizabeth Swann.

And for all kids trying to imagine themselves on deck, there are pirates from all nations.

Heads Up:
This film is rough and dark for young children who might've romped through the fun of the first and possibly second Pirates film. Two key characters get run through with swords—and die. Another key character is found to be dead. A child is hung alongside adults, after the hangman helpfully stands him on a barrel to reach the noose.

The overall bizarreness of the multiple Jacks in Davy Jones locker may take some explaining.

Own It?
Yes, as the final piece of the story. So far.

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