Note: This review was penned by an unapologetic Pirates of the Caribbean lunatic. (I expected the first movie to STINK, and I ended up adoring the thing. I expected Part 2 to be a tired rehash, and it was anything but.) While that certainly doesn't mean I walked into the flick INTENT on giving it a good review, the simple truth is that these movies speak directly to the ravenous 12-year-old movie geek who (fortunately) still holds residence inside my soul. The flick is far from perfect, indeed it's bottom-heavy and swollen to bursting with wriggling plot threads, but damn if I didn't have a good time tagging along on this third adventure with all my old Pirates pals. Having said that, let's move on...

Sometimes the big-time franchise makers are damned if they do and damned if they don't: Churn out a skimpy "Part 3" that just rehashes what was offered in Parts 1 & 2 and you've got something vaguely entertaining but clearly inferior like Shrek the Third. Try too hard to jam too many arbitrary plot threads and flimsy characters into your third entry and you're stuck with a lurching behemoth like Spider-Man 3. And then you have the middle ground: The sprawling, gorgeous and massive adventure epic Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which while far from a flawless film, aims to stay faithful to its predecessors while still upping the ante (a lot) with a boat-load of new plot developments, characters and surprisingly nifty subtext. Yep, this particular popcorn movie runs almost three full hours, but if producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski had produced a quick-buck 92-minute third chapter, then the complaints would be legion. You can't win. Except at the box office, obviously.

As it stands: Yes, Pirates 3 has a few more plot-threads than it really needs. And yes, it's probably a bit longer (168 minutes) than it really needs to be -- but the bottom line is this: Once again, the Pirates series delivers the goods. In style and color, in character and adventure, in wit and weirdness ... this movie delivers. I'll make it even simpler: If you enjoyed Part 1 but thought Part 2 was over-plotted, overlong and over-kinetic, then you'll feel the exact same way about Part 3. As an outspoken and very geeky fan of the first two chapters, however, I was pretty much dazzled by what World's End has to offer, and I'm not just talking about the action, the effects and the mayhem. And if the flick's got just a little too much fat on the bones, oh well. A bit too much is always better than not enough, if it's me you're asking.
categories Reviews, Cinematical