Pirates of the Caribbean: At Exhaustion’s End

photo 01 2 Pirates of the Caribbean: At Exhaustions End
I don’t have too much to say about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. It should have been called “At Ordeal’s End.” I was sorely disappointed by POTC II, and III is cut from the exact same cloth, since it was made at the same time. A glance at the stillstells the tale: every one is crammed, packed and ugly, just like the movie.

I’m going to talk about the movie a bit and I’m going to discuss the ending in depth, so PLEASE, only click on more if you are fully prepared for SPOLIERS.

I MEAN IT… S P O I L E R S

photo 17 Pirates of the Caribbean: At Exhaustions End
Making any sense whatsoever of POTC III’s plot is impossible, literally, since much of the complex story seems to have been left on the cutting room floor. Everyone is out for themselves, but whenever anyone does anything shitty to someone else they immediately set off to rescue whoever they just betrayed. The only person who doesn’t is the prissy English guy, Lord Beckett, who’s just a shit. So you have Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly), Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), and Norrington (Jack Davenport)…all running around doing things to each other. Chow Yun Fat shows up as a Chinese pirate lord, basically to play Jabba the Hut as Leia Swann and Lando Barbossa go to plead to save Capt. Jack Solo’s life as they promise to rendezvous with Will Skywalker. )

I have a suspicion that director Gore Verbinski will not make another movie for a long time, if only to sace what’s left of his sanity. The movie’s special effects are numerous and occasionally impressive — they are also oppressive. A CGI effect in almost every shot means that Verbinski, who is no action director, is forced to plop down the camera and shoot whatever is in front of it in medium focus for hours at a time. The result is static, noisy and numbingly confusing.

The original PIRATES worked because it had a strong script by the much admired duo of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio , and a fresh, charismatic cast, led by Johnny Depp’s brilliantly eccentric interpretation. (Although it should be noted that the energy in WORLD’S END whenever Barbossa is on screen shows that he was sorely missed in DEAD MAN’S CHEST.) Bloom and Knightly are stiff actors (although a better director could probably have coaxed better performances out of them) but who cares — they look at awesome! (The one genuinely tragic moment of WORLD’S END is when a chillblain appears on Bloom’s cheek during an Arctic moment.)

Saddled with the task of making two huge CGI spectacles back to back, Verbinski’s main effect seems to be relief that it’s over — in every interview for the film he mentions how much he wants to take some time off. The size of the project may just have got away from him.

The problem is also that Rossio, Elliott and Verbinski also attempted a very, very complex script with story arcs for over half a dozen characters, and tried to create a mythology almost wholesale. It’s this busyness that makes the film so endless and unintelligible…but it needn’t have been so, perhaps. Especially when you realize that the ending of the film wasn’t even put in.

photo 13 1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At Exhaustions End

Now we begin the spoilers. After 2 1/2 hours of endless, monotonous action, there’s a big sea battle, and Will is stabbed in the heart. We’ve learned along the way that Davy Jones was in love with Dalma, who’s actually Calypso, but she betrayed him and he forgot to ferry souls to the underworld, and so he was cursed to look like a dying squid for all eternity as the captain of the Flying Dutchman. WHEW. Back in the battle, one of the other characters (it was only 3 days ago and already I can’t remember who) acts quickly to cut out Will’s heart, so effectively he replaces Davy Jones as captain of the Dutchman, meaning he’s undead and can only touch land once every ten years. Oh no! What about Elizabeth, who he married in a shipboard ceremony moments before?

The penultimate scene of the film shows Will and Elizabeth after a whirlwind day in which they got to know each other much better. And then Will sails off for ten long years. After some nonsense with Jack that sets up a Pirates IV if anyone wants to make it, we sit through the credits for the extra scene…and see a title “Ten Years Later…” as Elizabeth, shows up on shore with a cute son, as the sky flashes green and Will returns for his once every 10 years booty call.

Walking out of the theater, me and my gal pals were saddened by this ending. I mean, I liked the fact that they had gone with an ambiguous and mixed ending, a daring move for a Hollywood blockbuster. Will and Elizabeth were true loves, but only got to spend a few days together for all eternity? More troublingly, Elizabeth gives up being Pirate King (remember how she was seeking in adventure in the first movie?) to become a lonely single mom who only gets laid once every decade? That was no reward for a Disney Princess!

But…that wasn’t the ending. You see, the actual ending wasn’t even in the movie according to Rossio and Elliott. In a summary I found at Millarworld, they explain what happened: Calypso’s curse was broken and Will was sailing home to spend the rest of his days with Elizabeth and his son! IT WAS A HAPPY ENDING!

Alot of the confusion here stems from the fact that two scenes that would have explained the curse being broken where dropped from the film much to Ted and Terry’s surprise which basically screwed up the ending. But over the last couple days they have been telling us how they wrote it and they wanted it convyed to us even though that didn’t happen.
__________________________________________________________________________
Here are some of the quotes you can find many more but these confirm the curse was broken with the final green flash and what the breaking of said curse entailed.

Rossio: Given the lost information, my prior post doesn’t apply. You might be able to derive that the curse could be broken from the information in the film, but it would be indeed difficult.

http://www.wordplayer.com/forums/movies/index.cgi?read=98662

and Elliot: That green flash was what Terry was referring to when he said it was possible, but very difficult, to figure out from the movie that the curse was broken.

http://www.wordplayer.com/forums/movies/index.cgi?read=98679

In those two quotes they did confirm that the curse was broken with the final green flash at the end of the credits scene.

And in this post is sorta entailed what the breaking of the curse entailed:

Rossio: I don’t know that I would say, “forbidden.” There might be some story to be told where Elizabeth manages to make a trip to the land of the dead, with the help of someone, etc., etc., to find Will, etc.

But the basic requirement is that Will agrees captain the Flying Dutchmen (in return for what the film reveals) and that he can step on land but once every ten years, and that at any time, if he finds a love that is true (this is part of the original Flying Dutchman opera by the way) then his attachment to the ship is broken.

http://www.wordplayer.com/forums/movies/index.cgi?read=98721

Basically what all that said is that due to the fact that certain scenes were cut it is hard to tell BUT STILL POSSIBLE to discern from info given in the movie that the curse was broken. And that the signal that was given to us that said curse was broken was that final GREEN FLASH and that William is now detached from the Dutchman and can live a normal life with his family. He can stay with them as long as he likes and no longer has to to the job that was requried of the Captain of the Dutchman.


From this you can see how rushed and desperate the filmmakers were — they had to leave the culmination of the story on the cutting room floor.

To be honest, in the coming years I’ll enjoy watching all three pirate movies on DVD. They are extremely pretty, and the pirates look good and even the last two movies have about 10 minutes each of entertainment. But the sad thing is that they have the ingredients of being actual good movies, buried deep inside.

The really horrible thing is that about half the people who see WORLD’S END seem to think it’s great! Really! They think the action is great and they can follow the story and everything. Oh really?

For the first time I am really beginning to understand how different the Video Game Generation is from the “We played with Lincoln Logs and we LOVED it!” Generation. The VGG simply has no ability to judge the difference between excitement and catharsis. To them it’s all stimulation…there’s no expectation of a payoff, other than an ever escalating series of explosions. (Oddly, PIRATES 3 has hardly any action payoffs. A giant woman just stands there tied up with ropes — no rampage! A whirlpool just stops! A huge naval battle involves one or two ships.)

Now, I still believe that at their core, even the VGG has some vestigial ability to perceive somewhere, deep inside that “This is not my beautiful house!” I think the laser beam of dramatic catharsis can still pierce their veil.

In my PIRATE II review I mentioned Stephen Chow’s KUNG FU HUSTLE as an example of a fully satisfying action fantasy film that worked on every level. By chance, I viewed Chow’s SHAOLIN SOCCER a week before seeing PIRATES III. Once again, there’s a reason why Chow is one of the most popular movie stars in the world — SHAOLIN SOCCER takes the oldest story on earth — a gang of misfits getting together to fight a superior foe in a sporting event — and makes irresistible, with flaming eyes, satisfying resolutions and story arcs for all the characters.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S ENDS hasn’t really satisfied anyone, and the box office records in the world aren’t going to heal the emptiness within. I hold out no great hope of the mass of audiences recognizing that emptiness, but everyone needs a dream.

Comments

  1. Sphinx Magoo says:

    “A huge navel battle”???!?!!?

    Yar! ‘Tis a battle of the outies! Ouch! One of them’s been pierced!

  2. this was boring, dragged on for hours and was a complete mess and waste of my time and money. there was not one memorable scene and how insulting that after three hours they would think we would sit through the credits to watch a real ending of the film they should have had enough respect to attach to tha actual film. This was a total disaster on so many levels. heidi…amanda and i both fell asleep during it…and she loves these films!

    JIMMY

  3. Well, I *did* tell you it’d be like “Jedi”…

  4. I too, was also totally disappointed by the ending. Your post sheds a lot of light on it. If they had made it clear that the curse was broken, I would have walked out way more satisfied. As it was, it’s just a bummer ending. Plus I agree they shouldn’t have put it after the credits. From Pirate King to single mom with a ten-year booty call? Way to ruin a strong female character. Of course, if they had shown her having adventures with her son and Captain Jack between the booty calls it would have been a cool twist.

  5. Not to mention that Chow Yun Fat”s character is totally wasted, gets turned into a would-be rapist, and dies a really pathetic death….the Singaporeans die by the boatload, and the multicultural United Colors of Pirates just stand there looking stupid whille the main characters (who are, incidentally, all white) go and have all the fun. Way to treat the yellow man, yo.

  6. The Beat says:

    Yeah, aside from CYF — who should be embarrassed by that role — and Dalma, they conveniently got rid of all the non-whites. But the midget was okay.

  7. R. Maheras says:

    Note to all modern-day blockbuster directors: Less is more! Leave your ego at the door and learn to bloody edit!!!

    King Kong: Too long
    Spider-Man III: Too long
    Pirates of the Caribbean III: Too long

    Notice a pattern here?

  8. Little person, Heidi!

    My favorite part is when they tied up Dalma and made her smoke crack, and then she turned into a giant tied up slave. WTF?

    That said, I liked it better than the 2nd one. Nothing justifies the goddamn ferris wheel…

  9. King Kong: Too long
    Spider-Man III: Too long
    Pirates of the Caribbean III: Too long

    Notice a pattern here?

    That theater goers really don’t want the Director’s Cut?

  10. I liked it, but that’s just me. I like alot of things others don’t like. I don’t play vidio games, but I can see what you mean. There were no real heros in the movie, and I sort of enjoyed that. They’re pirates. I don’t see how pirates can be all that good. I loved the ending, and wouldn’t want to see the curse broken. It would feel like a cheap (cheep?) cop out to me. I’m not going to spend time trying to tell people who don’t like it that they should. It’s just a fun poppy corn flick. I just hope no one went to see it on LSD.

  11. I rather enjoyed the latter two films for what they were: a fun ride. They’re not quite park-your-brain-at-the-door films, though they’re close. I remember thinking, probably around the hamster wheel scene in Pirates 2, that this was what you get when you take every adventure movie cliché imaginable and put it into one film. Then I realized I’d thought the same thing about Van Helsing. The difference is that Pirates did it better than Van Helsing, and more importantly, Pirates knew it was over the top, acknowledged it to the audience with a wink and a nod, and kept right on through.

    Unfortunately I didn’t stay through the credits to see the tag, so I can’t really comment on it, though I have to say I’m disappointed to hear that Elizabeth gave up being the Pirate King. (If it happened in the main ending, I must have blinked.)

  12. Frances says:

    I dunno Heidi, I feel like you may be selling Kids These Days a little short. This movie is getting mixed reviews at the very best and I’m far from the only snotnose raised by Crash Bandicoot I know who walked out of an opening weekend showing. Maybe you can fault us for not bailing out after the slightly less nonsensical and boring second episode but you can say the same for half the people in this comment thread, eh? I know this is all anecdotal evidence but are you working off of something different?

  13. I appreciate your opinion, but I’m sticking to my own on this one. There was a lot of stuff in it, and it was a long film. Taking out some of the subplots or tertiary character resolutions was probably needed. Did anyone care what the original two Sparrow-foiled guards from COTB were doing now? Ideally, I would have preferred more, and split the last movie into two 120-minute jobbers instead.
    However, I liked it. It was a fun one for me. I wanted to see nautical warfare. Check. I wanted to see clever lines. Check (Nobody move! I dropped my brain). I wanted to see sword-fighting and swash-buckling. Check. Did I want to see both armadas go at it? Yes, and that was a horrible case of putting a gun on the wall in act one and failing to fire it in act five.
    Also, I didn’t get the feeling that Swan wasn’t the Pirate King anymore. There was never and exposition or scenary to suggest otherwise, at least that I noticed. Pirates do tend to live most of their lives on dry land, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for her to already be at shore.
    And a bad joke – did her kid look like he was eight years old?

  14. I also liked it enough to enjoy the “parts” of it. Could have cut more down.

    Sadly, we have another villain “break down” at the end. Are there ANY villains nowadays that can hold their own to the very end? Sandman breaks down crying, and in Pirates 3, Beckett freezes in a moment of clarity, eventhough he has the upperhand with firepower.

    Darren…. that kid at the end looked a helluv a lot like the kid hung at the beginning. I think I hear “The Cirlce of Life” being sung in the background.

    RE: the “ENDING”…. Sad they cut breaking the curse, because I agree with Heidi, it took the wind out of Swan’s sails reducing her from a sense of adventure to a domestic housewife in waiting. All they had to do was put a sword on her hip as she stood there on the cliff – that one item would have spoken volumes, especially if it was the sword echoed from the very first movie.

  15. With all the negative P3 reviews pouring in, it makes me happy my genetic dislike of pirates kept me from subjecting myself to it.

    Strangely, my kids can’t get enough of the Little Drunken Pirate and his band of merry CGI Creatures. Haven’t I taught them anything?

  16. Anyone bothered by the fact we never got the full-blown fleet battle we were promised?
    2 ships trading shots? Yawn.

    The EIC fleet against the Pirate fleet? Yes, please.
    Really, the battle was built up a lot and it never happened. It’s like using Chekhov’s gun to club someone instead of shooting them with it.

  17. Wraith says:

    I saw the first POTC movie on cable, and to my surprise, I liked it (NOT love it).

    I recently saw the 2nd movie on cable, and again, to my surprise I liked it (NOT loved it).

    I saw the 3rd movie, and to my surprise, I really liked it. Heck, I’ll even go so far to say I LOVED it. I thought it was better then the first 2 movies.

    I do agree with those of you who said that this movie was just to damn long.

  18. I loved the film. Loved the complexity of the plot. Love the final battle.

    I guess it is just me and my video game generation friends, but some of us would prefer a sweet, romantic, and fun, mid-sword fight wedding to a gigantic mindless navel battle filled with ‘splosions.

  19. brittany says:

    You guys are stupid pirates was a great movie just because you aren’t able to appreciate a well made film that doesn’t have half naked girls or the f word used in every sentence. and don’t use that excuse, oh it was too long. i’m guessing you didn’t have anything better to do. you think you could have made a movie that made over 150,00,000 dollars? and the point of that Chow Yun Fat’s character was so Keira
    could become capitain who would eventually beome king. i have to admit some parts were pointless like calypso at the end, it didnt like that. its a little confusing but maybe the point of that is so we will go see it again to understand it more and it worked! cause i’m going to see it again. in the end i thought pirates was a great movie and johnny depp never looked hoot and all yall who think differently are just, well, not right in the head.

  20. I don’t have too much to say about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. But Josh’s friend gave him free ticket to the premiere of Pirates of Caribbean III, so off we went to see the movie at XXI-EX yesterday. I’m not usually fussy about the seats at cinema because all of them are generally the same to me, but i must say that the seats at XXI-EX is completely different!, It’s so cormfortable that you can sit there for hours (PoC III playing almost for 3 hours) without feeling like having back ache or something. Kapten Jack Sparrow (being rescued by his crew form the other world) was acting like his old charming-eccentric self and love is all around between Will & Elizabeth. Together, they fought of the company & davy jones which put a perfect end to the movie (no more sequels please!).

  21. Neeb – Totally agree with you about the missing fleet battle. They build up these Pirate Lords and then we never get to see them do anything. I actually misunderstood the ending. I thought Will could go ashore one day a year and would be done after 10 years. But then I was only half awake for this movie. Not the movie’s fault but the fact that I caught a 10:20 showing, and I was dead tired.

  22. i don’t see what all the complaints are about, and i take insult from the line stating that my generation doesnt even understand “excitement and pays offs”. get a bloody grip, perhaps it is YOU who is unable to grap concepts because your view point is old fashioned, out dated and irrelivent.

    i loved this film because i was entertained, because the costumes and sets were magnificent, because the acotrs DID A GOOD JOB- and actually made their characters grow and mature and finally i DID NOT FIND THE PLOTS DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW and question the intelligence of anybody who did. its really rather simple if you paid attention in DMC. perhaps you couldn’t be bothered to, which is your perogative, just don’t expect the next film to make sense to you for christ’s sake!!!!

    and finally, somebody above seems to have brought about the issue of race. i am incredibley BORED of people harping on about “oh you didnt represent my race in that! im offended”- get a life; why should you be? nobody gives a crap, your trying to pick a fight over nothing with this racism malarky as a cover up. hardly anyones intrested anymore so SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

    quit ripping a good film. id like to see the kind of movies you people find decent- they’re probably quite abismal.

  23. I personally loved the third movie. I thought it was great but I also think that a fourth should come out because I would like to know what happens to Will and Elizibeath Swan. I think I spellet that right? Who knows?

  24. 7th grade student (not lying) says:

    I loved this movie! I thought it was a lot better then the first two movies. The best part of the movie too me was the ending. I really enjoyed the battle! I’m kinda glad the ending was left open for a fourth movie. I would really like to see what would happen to Elizabeth and Will. I’m only in seventh grade and thought this was an awesome movie. Please continue making such great movies!

  25. maija says:

    Okay, so my expectations were low for this one, so I didn’t rush out to see it until last night. It was definitely overlong and some of the subplots could have been excised, but generally I enjoyed it. As for unresolved endings, I was far more bothered by the plot points that were given heavy emphasis and then abandoned, the most glaring being the two musical lockets and the love/hate between Calypso and Davy Jones, and the wedding. There should have been a better resolution to the arc of Calypso and Davy Jones after so much build-up. Instead we just got a storm that blew itself out, literally. And then the wedding: if it wasn’t included to set up a magical resolution to the problem of the curse (I assumed that since they were bound “til death do us part” that she would be able to sail with him or something) why the hell was it there?! It didn’t affect the curse in the least, not even if we include the lost ending. If it did, there would have been an immediate effect when they cut out his heart and he returned and he would have had to take off before sunset from the beach. So I can only conclude that the ridiculous scene was included for the moral prudes, which is very very lame, not just for the fact that it was done to keep everything Disnified and above-board, but it was a potential plot saviour wasted.

    I thought the Being Jack Sparrow scene in Davy Jones’ Locker was pretty sweet though.

  26. hey yal , i love pirates of the caribbean . it is so cool . i am in love with jack sparrow . he is so cool . people think that will turner is so great . really he is just a prep . that’s just my opinion . i have diff. opinions then others . i have been a fan since the first movie came out .

  27. Kuodo says:

    R. Maheras Says:

    05/29/07 at 11:36 am
    Note to all modern-day blockbuster directors: Less is more! Leave your ego at the door and learn to bloody edit!!!

    King Kong: Too long
    Spider-Man III: Too long
    Pirates of the Caribbean III: Too long

    Notice a pattern here?

    Can’t really agree with the Spiderman 3’s part. Pirates of carribean 2 and 3 can be squeezed into just one if not for the useless ferris wheel scenes, and super long draggy betrayal + rescues scenes. And of course, without scenes like the giant-goddess-turned-crabs scene and CYF and all the meeting with other international pirates scenes(They all die or idle in the end doing nothing!?).

    But Spiderman 3 is just the direct opposite. It would have been a good movie if it’s only about sandman and black suit spidey, or purely, solely on black suit spidy and venom. Man, even the cartoon series of Venom lasts for series. And it’s a potential story that can lead to a trilogy of it’s very own! Carnage too? But since when do Venom ever team up with anyone just to defeat spidey? LAME. Venom’s a crazy loner. And having Eddy n the suit die in the end just makes it abrupt.

    And sick, I missed the ending for POC3 since I couldn’t bear the long drag no more!

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  1. […] Pirates of the Caribbean: At Ordeal’s End.  Which is a shame.  I thought the first one was a gas, but by the end of the second I was ready to wring the director’s neck for the precious minutes of my life he’d so frenetically pissed away. […]

  2. […] Pirates of the Caribbean: At Ordeal’s End. Which is a shame. I thought the first one was a gas, but by the end of the second I was ready to wring the director’s neck for the precious minutes of my life he’d so frenetically pissed away. […]

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