Sunday, 30 November 2014

NOOOOvember: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

I remember back in 2007 there was a lot of hype and buildup in the media of something that was really not a very big deal but kinda interesting. In May that year, there were actually three third movies being released all to very popular franchises. There was Shrek The Third, Spider-Man 3, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Sadly, all three turned out to be major disappointments. While I personally enjoyed Shrek The Third at the time, it was critically panned and also marks the end of my involvement with the Shrek series. I never saw Spider-Man 3 but from what I've been told I'm not particularly inclined to, but the biggest disappointment would have to be Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

This was a movie I was hyped up about. At the time I was huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, which should hardly be surprising as I've always had a bit of a soft spot for pirates. They were fun, action-packed adventures but really that's all they were. What helped to make Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl work was that it was simply a fun little adventure story with a few great characters. Then later on we got a sequel, Dead Man's Chest, that was also kinda fun. It might not have been as good as the first one but it still had some action, an interesting villain, and some of the witty humor that made the first film so enjoyable.

Jar of dirt, anyone?
So naturally, I was hyped by the release of the third one especially since the second one had to end on a cliffhanger. Boy was I in for a disappointment. I've cited a few possible explanations for why I didn't like it over the years, but now I think I finally understand what the problem was: the writers simply went way too far and changed it up way too much. Normally it's not a bad thing to change up sequels to present something new. Terminator 2: Judgement Day went in quite a few different directions from James Cameron's original The Terminator (you'll hear about that in more detail soon, I promise) but there's trying something new and completely failing to understand why people liked the previous installments.

For whatever reason, the filmmakers decided making a fun pirate film wasn't good enough. No, they felt they had to make a nearly three-hour epic along the lines of Lawrence of Arabia. Seriously, what were you guys thinking? This isn't Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World it's Pirates of the Caribbean. This franchise is supposed to be light-hearted fun and adventure.

Instead of maybe having our heroes learn about some sort of treasure they can try and claim with maybe some new competitors, they start bringing out all this overly elaborate political intrigue involving a coup by the East India Trading company, an attempt to break into the afterlife to rescue Jack, and massive globe trotting in an effort to unite the various "Pirate Lords". Yeah, apparently piracy is actually a culture now, complete with an international system of government and if they don't stop the EITC piracy will vanish from the seas forever. IT'S FRIGGIN' PIRACY! EVEN IF BECKETT SOMEHOW MANAGED TO KILL EVERY PIRATE LIVING ON THE PLANET ALL IT WOULD TAKE IS SOME GUY STEALING A SHIP AND THEN ROBBING FROM ANOTHER SHIP! THAT'S WHAT PIRACY IS! IT'S LIKE ANY OTHER CRIMINAL ACTIVITY THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BEING IT IS BASED IN WATER!

Now as if it weren't enough that they were trying to turn Pirates of the Caribbean into Lawrence of Arabia, they also go and kill off a whole bunch of major characters from the earlier films. Did Norrington really have to die? I think I get what they were trying to do but if they wanted him to redeem himself he could have easily escaped with the others. He could have just climbed on that rope and then shot the end of it so that they'd all end up in the water or maybe tried to stab Bootstrap Bill with the sword he was established to have when the latter tried to alert the crew. It seemed a bit wrong the way he just let himself get overpowered and stabbed.

The biggest problem with At World's End is quite simply that they tried to connect it too closely to the previous films. What they should have done is just end Dead Man's Chest with some kind of resolution and then made the third film as a self-contained adventure story. That's all it should have been, plain and simple. People don't go into Pirates of the Caribbean looking for political intrigue. That's what people go to see the Bourne series for. Lawrence of Arabia worked as an epic because of its dramatic subject matter. Just as that film would never have worked as a swashbuckler adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean should not be a three-hour epic.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed On Stranger Tides mainly because they actually made a sequel the way they were supposed to. No more overly convoluted political intrigue this time. It was Jack and a few returning cast members joining a bunch of new characters for a fun adventure with lots of crazy action. That's all it was, and that's all it should be.

I'm sorry if this felt a little rushed. I literally just found out about Cara Schuster's NOOOOvember. I felt like I needed to contribute something but it was the last day and I'm going to be busy later on. Hopefully you've still enjoyed this little rant about a disappointing movie.


  1. I wish I would've seen Nooooovember earlier, I would've loved to have gotten in on that. But yes, At World's End SUCKED. I raged over that ending.

    1. So do I. With hindsight Inglorious Basterds would have been another good choice.

  2. I agree with you about this 3rd one. I was looking forward to it and I actually fell asleep. It was too long, convoluted and boring. It is supposed to be lighthearted and fun-a true adventure in old style ways but this fell way behind that. I still enjoy Shrek the 3rd though. Now I got some strange blogging posts from a Samuel Tamo about films and streaming. I am not opening them up and have to figure out how to block that person whoever it is as i did not add this person to my blog. My computer at home also went weird and i wonder if that had something to do with it