NPR logo 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'

Arts & Life

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

Johnny Depp Stephen Vaughan/Disney Enterprises, Inc hide caption

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Stephen Vaughan/Disney Enterprises, Inc

Johnny Depp (left) and Orlando Bloom

Stephen Vaughan/Disney Enterprises, Inc
  • Director: Gore Verbinski
  • Genre: Action
  • Running Time: 168 minutes

Haven't had your swash sufficiently buckled? Well, Cap'n Jack's back, and there's nearly three hours of him this time. Also back from the previous two Pirates movies are Will, Elizabeth, ol' Tentacle-Face, and that hyperactive monkey, not to mention more Chinese, African and French pirates than you can shake a yard-arm at. Nah, the result isn't light and entertaining any more, but director Gore Verbinski and his three gazillion digital helpmates have come up with some decently interesting new stuff nonetheless. There's politics (terrorism, hangings and a suspension of the right of habeas corpus), capitalism (much talk of profit motive and what's good for the East India Trading Company), absurdism (a Godot-lite salt-flats interlude), and visual quotes out of everything from The Buccaneer to Zabriskie Point. If you thought there wasn't enough Johnny Depp last time, you're in clover, 'cause there are a good two dozen of him in just one scene here. And if the resulting movie is more about bigness than fun, well, just count that as a bow to market forces that the auditors for the East India Trading Company would understand. The first film had clever dialogue and made $600 million, about half of it overseas; the second traded the cleverness for special effects and made a billion dollars, about two-thirds of it overseas. Lesson learned: This time the effects are so big and noisy, there's hardly even a point in translating the words. Can't hear 'em anyway.