The immaterial has become material,” announces the East India Co.’s scheming Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander) early in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. He could be referring to the resurrection of the pirate Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), flush with life and his expanded role in the trilogy. Or, to his dominion over the Flying Dutchman and its captain, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), whose excavated heart is in Beckett’s possession.
More likely, though, the words are a subliminal reassurance from the director, Gore Verbinski. After the bloated shenanigans of the previous entry, Dead Man’s Chest,
Verbinski is reminding us why we should ever trust him again.
Double Trouble: OD on pirates with Chow Yun-Fat and Johnny Depp
This third and perhaps final episode in the swashbuckling saga goes some way toward achieving that goal. Here are the high-seas high jinks that made the first film so enjoyable. And the palpable relief as the myriad plotlines rush toward some semblance of resolution has made everyone giddy; even our passion-deferred lovers, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley).
Filmed sequentially with its predecessor, At World’s End presents a society where the lawless practise democracy. The crown has declared a state of emergency, civil rights have been suspended, and naysayers are lined up to be hanged.
In one of the film’s most bizarre sequences, the condemned begin to sing and the song reaches Elizabeth, in a skiff heading for the Pirate Brethren Court in Singapore.
By the time Chow Yun-Fat appears, as the grumpy pirate lord Sao Feng, the Gilbert and Sullivan feel of the film begins to wear. After electing Elizabeth pirate king, the pirates set out to clobber the British before Davy Jones and his seafood-combo crew can do the same to them.
But what of Johnny Depp’s Capt. Jack Sparrow? Following his encounter with a giant cephalopod at the end of the last film, this one finds him trapped and hallucinating in Davy Jones’ Locker. His hallucinations are all about himself, and Verbinski fills the screen with an army of clones in kohl eyeliner.
If the story is to continue, its creators will need more than Jack’s limp wrists and Will’s limp resolve. In the prophetic words of Barbossa, “There’s never a guarantee of comin’ back, but passin’ on—that’s certain.”
The New York Times