All-new short film: "Tales of the Code: Wedlocked" (created exclusively for home entertainment release)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
is a rollicking voyage in the same spirit of the two earlier Pirates
films, yet far darker in spots (and nearly three hours to boot). The action, largely revolving around a pirate alliance against the ruthless East India Trading Company, doesn't disappoint, though the violence is probably too harsh for young children. Through it all, the plucky cast (Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush) are buffeted by battle, maelstroms, betrayal, treachery, a ferocious Caribbean weather goddess, and that gnarly voyage back from the world's end--but with their wit intact. As always, Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow tosses off great lines ; he chastises "a woman scorned, like which hell hath no fury than!" He insults an opponent with a string of epithets, ending in "yeasty codpiece."!
In the previous The Curse of the Black Pearl, Sparrow was killed--sent to Davy Jones' Locker. In the opening scenes, the viewer sees that death has not been kind to Sparrow--but that's not to say he hasn't found endless ways to amuse himself, cavorting with dozens of hallucinated versions of himself on the deck of the Black Pearl. But Sparrow is needed in this world, so a daring rescue brings him back. Keith Richards' much ballyhooed appearance as Jack's dad is little more than a cameo, though he does play a wistful guitar. But the action, as always, is more than satisfying, held together by Depp, who, outsmarting the far-better-armed British yet again, causes a bewigged commander to muse: "Do you think he plans it all out, or just makes it up as he goes along?" As far as fans are concerned, it matters not. --A.T. Hurley
On the DVD
Here's something you can't say about just any DVD extras: There appears to be more of Keith Richards in the outtakes, interviews, and other special features on the At World's End disc than in the actual film. For those scenes alone, this special edition is well worth the price. Richards looks as woozy and gamey as all the rumors suggested, and answers questions he's not asked, with Johnny Depp sitting next to him, almost acting as a translator. Richards offers pithy comments like, "Everything I do is original, you better believe," and smiles when other cast members call him "Two-Take Richards" for supposedly nailing his scenes.
The packed second disc also includes a terrific mini-doc on how the filmmakers created the famous maelstrom, in an enormous hanger in Palmdale, California, with the ships floating 30 feet off the ground. "Just moving the Black Pearl was an enormous undertaking," says producer Jerry Bruckheimer with serious understatement. Other cool extras include "Tale of the Many Jacks," deleted scenes with great commentary, "The World of Chow Yun-Fat," a bio of composer Hans Zimmer, features on the set designers, a look at the impressive Brethren Court, and some hilarious bloopers. "You can't curse in a Disney film," deadpans Depp when a costar blurts out something blue. "See? I told him." The extras are truly as much of a rollicking adventure as the film. --A.T. Hurley
Beyond Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End Stills from Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (click for larger image)