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Pirates 3
Three Hearts

"A Pirate's Life For Me"

Written by Steven Walker

I need to offer some background before diving into the review. I think both the first and second Pirates movies are 4 hearts each. I am one of the apparently few people who liked Dead Man's Chest just as much as Curse of the Black Pearl. I'm writing this having seen At World's End three times and I'm giving it 3 and one half hearts. If I had reviewed it right after my first viewing, I probably would have given it 2 and one half hearts. Subsequent viewings revealed much more nuance of both story and character that made me enjoy the film a lot more.

I'll be discussing heavy spoilers, so stop reading if you haven't seen the film.

The opening scene is absolutely amazing. It is the first profound instance of the story refusing to be a "Disney" movie. My favorite thing about the film is how it completely subverts both Disney morals and the need for a happy ending. What other Disney movie has opened with several dozen people, including an eight-year-old, being hanged? When all the pirates start to sing Hoist The Colors, it is one of those "movie moments" we all hope for. That the song has some kind of magical power to call all the Pirate Lords together in a time of danger is just plain cool.

I'll pause here to praise Hans Zimmer. He continues to prove that he will go down as one of the great film composers of all time. He makes this story seem truly epic and emotional. The way he scores the wonderful wedding scene aboard the Black Pearl during the final battle is the perfect example. That is the kind of scene that can only have power because of everything that has come before. The music reminds us of the long journeys these characters have been on and makes us feel that this really is the final adventure for them.

And for Davy Jones to step in and garauntee that they can never really be together is just brilliant. I'm sorry, but did anyone see that coming? Did anyone expect Will to become the new captain of the Dutchman and be parted from his dearest love forever? That is so not a Disney ending, and I just love it. They try to soften the blow by giving them a child, but ten years apart, one day together sucks so matter how you cut it.

The journey to, through, and out of Davy Jones's locker is some of the most fun I've had at the movies is years. Everything about this sequence is perfect for me. Them sailing off the edge of the world, the rock crabs, the wonderfully unexpected send-off to Elisabeth's father, and Jack rocking the ship.

There's not much to say about Jack Sparrow. He continues to be one of the best characters in movie history. Meeting his father is awesome whether or not you know who Keith Richards is. Their brief scene together is priceless. Jack's two best lines for me:

"You bring an agreeable sense of the macabre to any delerium."

"If I may add a machete to your intellectual thicket?"

But now there are two bits of unpleasantness to deal with. These are the reasons I can't give this movie 5 stars.

1.) Not enough Davy Jones!! He is easily the most compelling character in the Pirates universe and he gets the shaft in terms of screen time. We should have seen him kill the kraken. We should have seen more resistence to his slavery. We also should have seen a lot more of his crew. You never get the sense that any of them are real characters except for Bootstrap.

They never address what would actually happen if all the soldiers destroyed the heart. Wouldn't whichever one of them fired the last shot have to become the new captain? Or if multiple people destroy the heart at once, would the ship just desintigrate? I should not have to be asking these questions.

The worst crime, though, is not giving Davy a proper resolution. He falls, Boba Fett style, into the malestrom but we don't really know what that means. Did stabbing the heart kill him or just sepearte him from the Dutchman? Is he dead now or alive with Calypso on the bottom of the sea? This kind of vaguery might be okay if they plan to bring him back in a later movie, but I would have prefered more closure.

2.) This last point makes me absolutely crazy, and this complaint is aimed squarely at director Gore Verbinski:

How in the Holy Hell could you tease me with HUNDREDS OF WARSHIPS AND THEN NOT HAVE ANY OF THEM FIGHT!?!?!?!?!

Seriously! How could you line up all those opposing ships, have Elisabeth give a big rousing off-to-war speech, have both sides start sailing toward each other and then TOTALLY PUNK OUT!!!

Sorry, but I might be a little irrate about this. I was ready for Epic Warfare on a Scale Never Before Seen! All you gave me was two ships fighting in a whirlpool. Yes that was awesome, but all I could think about was all the hundreds of ships that weren't fighting. I thought Calypso said she was going to destroy both fleets!?! Why didn't she do that!?! That would have been so amazingly great!

The moral of the story is: If you can't afford to show hundreds of ships fighting, then don't show hundreds of ships at all.



Copyright 2008 Flaming Heart Enterprises, L.L.C.