We gave it a C-
Prepare to raid that barnacle-encrusted treasure chest of pirate Clichés one last time — the final installment of Disney’s epic trilogy is bearing down on movie theaters with a mind to pillage, plunder, and, well, you know the drill. After a problem-plagued two-films-at-once shoot marked by hurricanes and myriad other woes, the last movie, Dead Man’s Chest, wound up reaping the biggest opening weekend in history ($136 million) and sailed off with over a billion dollars worldwide. All this despite the critics who wiped the poop deck with the thing, deeming it a muddled, overwrought mess. ”Somehow it wasn’t confusing for the audience,” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who clearly enjoyed having the last yo-ho-ho. ”The kids seemed to go back enough to figure it all out.”
The action in At World’s End picks up where the last film left off: Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow has been dragged down to the briny depths by Davy Jones (Bill Nighy); plucky Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and her swashbuckling paramour Will (Orlando Bloom) are off to rescue him, aided by the not-quite-dead Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush); and the villainous Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander) is hell-bent on stamping out piracy once and for all. Bringing fresh blood to the adventure are two new characters, Captain Jack’s father (Keith Richards) and Captain Sao Feng, the Pirate Lord of Singapore, played by Hong Kong film icon Chow Yun-Fat, who says he was welcomed by the Pirates crew with open arms. ”I even took over Johnny’s trailer when he wasn’t there, like a true pirate,” he says.
Scurvy critics notwithstanding, expectations for the film couldn’t be much higher. (”That’s the bad news,” says Bruckheimer.) And once the trilogy is done earning its gajillions, there will no doubt be a powerful urge to make further installments. Bloom, for one, says he’s done: ”I’ve been doing a pirate movie most of my adult life. I’m excited to explore other avenues.” Then again, he says, ”If it were to take shape in another form down the line, who knows?” Hey, what would a Pirates movie be without a cliff-hanger? (May 25)