Reviewing the Reviews: 'Pirates: At World's End'

Davy_lIf there’s anything we learned from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, it’s that there’s no modern movie franchise as critic-proof as Johnny Depp’s Rated-Arrgh trilogy. (And also, that I need to register the idea for a nautical-themed workout video called Pilates of the Caribbean. Ha!) Anyhow, with that in mind, I set sail through the entertainment sections of America’s newspapers to see if critics are lubbing the third installment, At World’s End, or if they’re ready for the entire series to walk the plank. (EW’s own Owen Gleiberman gives it a C.) And keeping in mind that everyone’s probably gonna go see this flick no matter what, I decided to extract the most positive sentiment expressed by every critic — no matter how negative his or her review ultimately swayed.

Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times: "The attention to detail is impressive… and the special effects top-notch."

Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun: "There are four or five authentic laughs in the whole 170-minute extravaganza."

Claudia Puig, USA Today: "Visually, the film has some noteworthy moments. The production design is eye-catching, particularly in the opening scenes set in Singapore. The ‘fish people’ aboard Davy Jones’ ship remain captivating with their hammerhead shark heads and barnacled visages."

addCredit(“Davy Jones: Peter Mountain”)

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: "It would be remiss not to mention the great costumes and production design of At World’s End. The movie is always fun to look at, and even after three, the filmmakers manage to capture the feel of the Disneyland ride."

Jim Slotek, Edmonton Sun: "Startling ‘moments’ are still a Pirates trademark and a saving grace…."

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: " The competition is enormous, but with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, a case could be made for Piratesas the worst film series since Thomas Edison got the wacky idea thatpictures could move." (Hey, at least the dood is effusive!)

Christopher Lloyd, Indianapolis Star:"Curiously, [Keith] Richards plays it straight, without his trademarkslurry, wobbly mannerisms that Depp based his character on. It’s likehiring Pee-wee Herman and he goes all King Lear on you."

Lou Lumenick, New York Post:"It’s not a total shipwreck, but abandon hope all ye seeking acoherent, much less satisfying, narrative. Expect instead a reported$300 million worth of eye candy, delivered with enormous technicalskill…. There were scattered amusing moments that I enjoyed, and the overall film was watchable in a soulless, corporate kind of way."

Rob Salem, Toronto Star: "It’s not all bad."

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  • dre

    This movie was utter shite.

  • sarah

    One thing thing I can say about the Pirates sequels: they may be overstuffed and confusing but at least they strive to be more than just slapped-together rehashes, like Shrek 3 . Everyone involved seems to be legitimately trying to progress the original Pirates story and push the limits of special effects to new highs.

  • nightcrawler666

    Every criticism I have seen has been a C/C- rating. Of course I will still go see it, and wonder if critics should just stop reviewing the movies you know are going to rake it in; because no one cares what the rating is.

  • Little Lamb

    I really didn’t like Dead Man’s Chest, and it sounds like At World’s End is more of the same, “only with more explosions and stuff! and FOUR pirate captains!” Dead Man’s Chest was too scattered and the fun of the first film was nowhere to be found. I was very disappointed, and I doubt I’ll waste my money at the theatre for this one. Two tickets and concessions can easily run $35-40, and I’d rather pay $3.99 on DVD and save the moviegoing experience for a movie that’s worth it.

  • Anonymous

    I did not like the first two very much, but this was by far the best of the three, i really liked it

  • Kevin

    Say what you will, but I’ll take the Pirates movies over roughly 3/4 of the junk that is made today. Sure they are escapist fare, but dang are they pretty. Mix in the humor, the top-notch CGI (which makes Spiderman’s effects look downright silly), the great performances of the often badly written material, amazing swashbuckling choreography, and the best motion picture soundtrack since the Indiana Jones films and you’ve got 1 of the 2 truly classic series of the past 20 years. Other than Lord of the Rings, I can think of no other series that generations of fans will love. Spiderman, like the Batman and Superman movies before it, will start to show its age (re-watch the 1st one and you can make the argument that it is already). These films, like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Lord of the Rings, are truly timeless, despite their many flaws. In fact, it tends to be the flaws that endear all of the aforementioned films to their fans–just think of the awful acting in the 1st Star Wars

  • Jessica

    The movie was out and out AMAZING! Funny, tense, clever, action packed and so satifying. I will be seeing it about four MORE times this weekend.

  • Matt

    I just don’t understand the allure of Pirates anymore. Everytime I see a trailer for this, I say “Oh look, more water and ship effects and the octopus is back. neat.” I hardly think you can call it topnotch CGI for something that has been done time and time again. And also to nightcrawler*sigh*666, I say yes critics do matter to some of us. In this case, they reaffirmed what I already thought (the movie is overlong and confusing) but if they all would have loved the film then it would have changed my opinion and I would at least give it a chance. Even after Pirates 2, during which I fell asleep for 1 hour, woke up and nothing had changed. AAA the Krakken! AAA the Krakken again! Positively dreadful.

  • Cassie

    This one was better than the Dead Man’s Chest but it still can’t compare to the original. I wish they would have realized that sometimes less is more. There was way too much going on in this one compared to the first. It wasn’t confusing, it was just overboard. And I have yet to feel any chemistry between Will and Elizabeth. Honestly, who wears the pants in that relationship?

  • uwadi

    this movie is nothing more than what it is purported to be– a movie.I don’t understand all the hype about it.As far as I am concerned the first was just ok, yhe second downright boring and At Worlds End a disaster

  • uwadi

    this movie is nothing more than what it is purported to be– a movie.I don’t understand all the hype about it.As far as I am concerned the first was just ok, yhe second downright boring and At Worlds End a disaster

  • Joe

    Wow…i can’t believe a poster below me actually compared this series to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. That has got to be some kind of crime…doesn’t it?!?!?!?

  • S.C.

    I just saw it and I loved it. Not a huge number of laugh out loud moments but it’s mainly an adventure flick, not a comedy, so so what? And what is with everyone complaining that the plot is hard to follow? I had no problem whatsoever following the story as it zipped along (and I do mean zipped–never have over 2 and a half hours moved so quickly).

  • S.C.

    I just saw it and I loved it. Not a huge number of laugh out loud moments but it’s mainly an adventure flick, not a comedy, so so what? And what is with everyone complaining that the plot is hard to follow? I had no problem whatsoever following the story as it zipped along (and I do mean zipped–never have over 2 and a half hours moved so quickly).

  • Greg Anderson

    That post isn’t fair! The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Variety, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, among many others, had an abundance of fantastic things to say about the movie. You’re not allowed to review American Idol with great enthusiasm, and then pick apart Pirates of the Caribbean with a one-sided and mean bias.

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