PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END
Death Is Not the Worst Thing that Can Happen to You
Release Date: May 25, 2007
Genre: Action Pirate Thriller/Fantasy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 168 minutes
Director: Gore Verbinski
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Writer: Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio
Address Comments To:Robert Iger, President/CEO
The Walt Disney Company
(Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and Buena Vista Distribution)
Dick Cook, Chairman
The Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
Like the second movie, AT WORLD’S END is determined to give audiences their money’s worth. And it does, especially in the gigantic action set-piece at the movie’s end, which ties all the loose ends together in a Christian allegory of sacrifice, redemption and setting the captives free.
The movie’s opening finds Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann allied with Captain Barbossa in a quest to free Captain Jack Sparrow from the limbo underworld of Davy Jones’ locker. They confront the cunning Chinese pirate Sao Feng, who has the map that will lead them through icy waters to Jack.
Meanwhile, the evil Lord Beckett has taken over the East India Trading Company. After having retrieved the heart of Davy Jones in the second movie, Lord Beckett now controls Davy Jones and his ship the Flying Dutchman. Using the Flying Dutchman, Beckett hangs every man, woman and child who refuses to submit to his absolute control over the high seas.
After perilously retrieving Jack from Davy Jones’ locker, each character must ultimately choose a side in a final, titanic battle with Lord Beckett’s armada, led by Davy Jones and his ship and crew. Will is torn between saving his father or saving his love, Elizabeth. Jack is torn between honor and saving his own skin. And, Elizabeth no longer knows who she can trust.
AT WORLD’S END comes perilously close to becoming a cinematic experience rather than an actual movie with a story. The biggest problem, however, is that some of the dialogue is lost in the sound mixing and muffled accents. The exhilarating climactic resolution of the third act makes up for all that as the filmmakers bring their visually impressive fantasy spectacle to a proper, satisfying close.
Although the movie’s Christian metaphors are clear, the movie also deals with piracy and some pagan allusions to a “heathen god.” The movie also says that the Flying Dutchman was originally intended to ferry people to the afterlife, but that Davy Jones has corrupted his supernatural office by enslaving men.
On the other hand, the movie’s heathen god is clearly a force for chaos, not worship. And, there is a Day of Judgment quality about the Flying Dutchman that plays into the movie’s symbolic Christian resolution. Finally, while there be pirates here, both the pirates and the good guys, i.e., Elizabeth, Will and Will’s father, are seen as a metaphor for the common man who works and fights for freedom in this life by “the sweat of his brow” and the strength of his hands. Thus, the filmmakers deftly handle the negative items by subjecting them to the movie’s more positive qualities.
The movie’s positive qualities could have been helped, however, by more direct allusions to God, Jesus Cross and/or Christianity. Because of that lack, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for AT WORLD’S END, even though, in the end, Walt Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski have given moviegoers a very entertaining thrill ride with some characters you can feel good about rooting for as well as have fun with and some uplifting themes that may lead some people to the redemptive power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can save you from both death and damnation.
Like the second movie, AT WORLD’S END is determined to give audiences their money’s worth. And it does, especially in the gigantic action piece at the end, which ties the loose ends together in a Christian allegory of sacrifice and redemption. Although the movie’s Christian metaphors are clear, the movie also includes references to paganism and piracy, but these negative elements are ultimately handled delicately.