Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2-Disc Limited Edition
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Available on Dec. 4, 2007
In this third installment of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, our favorite pirate Captain Jack Sparrow returns … from the dead, thanks to a rescue mission that takes the returning cast of familiar characters beyond the farthest reaches of the world — to World’s End.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) leads the East India Trading Company in a brutal campaign to end piracy by declaring martial law and enlisting Davy Jones, the tentacled captain of the cursed ghost ship The Flying Dutchman (Bill Nighy), to destroy any pirate ship sailing the seas. Beckett goes so far as to send to the gallows anyone even suspected of associating with pirates. While awaiting their fate at the noose, the chained and shackled prisoners begin to sing the pirate song “Hoist the Colours,” which summons the nine pirate lords known as the Brethren Court to meet again at Shipwreck Cove to combat Beckett’s attacks.
Meanwhile, in Singapore, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), along with his crew of The Black Pearl, seek an audience with the pirate lord Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) to obtain the map to World’s End so they can rescue Sparrow — one of the nine pirate lords — from Davy Jones’ Locker, a purgatory for condemned souls.
That’s about as much as I can describe before the plot gets really complicated. There’s so much going on in this movie, that it takes several viewings to get it straight, and even then there’s a good chance you’ll miss something. Alliances are formed, then betrayed, then re-established, then broken, and so on — but hey, these are pirates.
There’s also subplots with Will Turner trying to save his father from The Flying Dutchman and a strange uncomfortable tension between Will and his love Elizabeth; the Brethren Court debating over whether to release the goddess Calypso, who they previously bound in human form and who happens to be the former lover of Davy Jones; and the secret behind the Davy Jones’s curse and what to do about it. Every subplot has several layers, back stories, and a need for detailed explanations, which is why I suggested those multiple viewings.
Aside from the inevitable confusion with the subplots, the only part of At World’s End that I didn’t particularly care for was the few scenes where Jack Sparrow is hallucinating and talking to several versions of himself (at times, even hundreds of “Jacks”). I understand that it’s the meant to show how a person in a marooned situation will eventually go insane, but the feel of these parts just didn’t seem to flow with what we expect from the Pirates movies. Admittedly, after watching the bonus features, a lot of what I had problems with were resolved (but not all of it).
A director’s audio commentary on the feature film would have made this DVD perfect, as just a hint of Gore Verbinski‘s commentary in the two deleted scenes (on the Bonus disc) left me wanting more. Verbinski truly has a passion for these films and these featurettes all show how dedicated he is to all aspects of creating them, as well as how much thought he puts into even the tiniest of details.
If you’re a fan of Pirates, but like me, you walked out of the theater for At World’s End a bit confused, then definitely give this 2-disc limited edition DVD a spin. A nearly 3-hour movie with multiple subplots like this can be a lot to soak in during a theater viewing, so getting some quality time with a DVD like this really makes a difference. I totally got more into the film after viewing it on DVD, then watching all the behind-the-scenes footage (and then watching the movie yet again). I highly recommend giving ALL of bonus features it a viewing. Oh, and don’t forget see the movie through til the end of the credits for the usual post-credits bonus scene.
DVD Bonus Features
Bloopers Of The Caribbean — in a movie like this, with lots of action and CGI, the last thing you think it’s do is make you laugh out loud. While take a look at this blooper reel, and you’ll be reeling for sure. I watched this several times, not only for the laughter, but because it really gave you a glimpse of what it was like for the actors to film dramatic moments when humorous situations would occur around like (like when — gets caught up in some scenery while trying to make an entrance).
Keith & The Captain: On Set With Johnny Depp And The Rock Legend — here we get to see a big star like Johnny Depp memorized by one of his own idols, rock legend Keith RichardS, guitarist of the Rolling Stones. Richards plays Captain Teague, Jack Sparrow’s father — and you can totally see the family resemble. This piece goes a little bit behind the scenes with Richards’ casting and about the custom guitar that was made for Richards for his scenes in the Brethren Court.
Anatomy Of A Scene: The Maelstrom — every film in the franchise has to have its CGI masterpieces. In Curse of the Black Pearl it was the moonlit skeletal cursed crew of The Black Pearl; in Dead Man’s Chest it was Davy Jones’s crew and the Kraken sea monster; in World’s End, it most definitely is the battle between The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman that takes place in a maelstrom. This featurette shows how this amazing effect was created.
The Tale Of Many Jacks — Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the multiple Jacks sequences, of which I said I had issue with. After watching this, I looked at these scenes a lot differently and found that my tolerance increased for what I originally thought of as an annoying element added to the film.
The World Of Chow Yun-Fat — This has interviews with Chinese action star Chow Yun-Fat and provides a look into his character Sao Feng, a new addition to the Pirates franchise.
The Pirate Maestro: The Music Of Hans Zimmer — I LOVE the score for all the Pirates movies. This feature brings you to the studio to watch the music being recorded, as well as gives insight Hans Zimmer’s methods in writing the score. We learn about all the unusual instruments used in the soundtrack.
Deleted Scenes — There’s only 2 deleted scenes, available with optional director commentary. While more deleted scenes would have been nice, though I’m not sure how many more were left on the cutting room floor considering the film’s lengthy 169-minute running time.
Hoist The Colours — A feature about the tune that summons the pirate lord’s Brethren Court. “Hoist The Colors” is sung several times in the film and the melody is incorporated into various parts of the score.
Masters Of Design — This is five mini-documentaries with the people who designed the props and sets, the most amazing of which is “James Byrkit: Sao Feng’s Map,” which delves into all the intricate details that were put into the map and how it works. There’s also a look into the making pirate’s Code Book; the designing the Captain Teague’s costume; the set design of the Singapore location; and the use of CGI in creating the “Cursed Crew”.
Inside The Brethren Court — Each pirate lord carried what’s known as a piece of eight (not always a coin though) and this interactive feature gives details about each pirate lord and their identifying piece of eight.