Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

As the Summer of 2007 continued to devour audiences with it’s sequels and “Part 3’s” we got yet another look at Johnny Depp as our favorite buccaneer. In case you’ve been hiding in a cave the last few years, you’ll realize that Johnny Depp plays the enigmatic Jack Sparrow and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is the final installment in the trilogy. Granted, these movies have pretty much re-defined how to market and profit on a film and I wouldn’t be too terribly surprised to see Depp don the Keith Richards’ paraphernalia again. It’s not that Depp needs the money, I’m sure he’s got more than enough for the rest of his life. The movies are fun and entertaining and both adults and kids alike seem to get plenty of enjoyment out of all the films. However, this latest installment seems to say what so many “Part III’s” say “it’s time to end it.” All critiquing aside, there was nothing too terribly wrong with any of the “Pirates” movies and for a movie franchise to be based off a carnival ride (at Disney world) I’d say they did quite well, no?

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” pretty much opens up where the last one left off. You didn’t really think they’d “kill” Jack Sparrow now, did you? The intrinsic problem in this movie, though, was that I was so caught up in the shots and the special effects, it was hard to really focus on what the plot was all about. I mean really, I nearly had to go back and watch the movie again just to figure out what was going on. However, I did manage to deduce what the plot was and it’s actually quite articulate. The crew of the Black Pearl containing Will (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and the rest of the crew must literally sail off the map to help rescue Jack (Johnny Depp). Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris) and Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) have been brought back from the dead to help the cause and we learn that Sparrow has been doomed to reside in Davey Jones’ locker for eternity. The plot thickens when Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) now has the heart of Davy Jones, thereby controlling the sea. Gathering help from wherever they can, they enlist the help of the nine pirate lords to make their final stand against Beckett.

There’s nothing too terribly wrong with “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”, it’s a fine movie and delivers on what it promises for sure. Fans of the first two will no doubt like and enjoy this one. My problem with it was the same one I had with “Shrek the Third”, it just feels worn out and stale. The charm and imagination that the first movie had is what made it the most memorable (and, in my opinion, best) of the trilogy, but as the cast of characters seems to get more and more robust, we lose that attention to detail. I’m also a fan of longer than average movies, but at nearly three hours “At World’s End” is quite lengthy. I’m not sure how much interest the younger audience will have by the end of the movie, then again the previous two weren’t exactly short. At the end of the day (pardon the pun), the movie-goer gets what they expect and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I will say that maybe it’s time for Depp to hang up his boots.

Video: How does it look?

One thing I was really looking forward to was to see how good “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” looked in high definition. The previous two installments were conveniently released when this movie hit theaters and both looked stunning. The 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer, thankfully, is nearly flawless. There’s such a wide scope of action that it’s hard to take it all in. Detail is amazing and just by gazing in the background; you can see all sorts of things that aren’t too readily visible on the standard DVD. There’s a long scene in a desert that really shows the contrast in the movie, a stark sky against a very pale ground. It looks amazing. I caught a few instances in which the transfer looked less than perfect and though I hesitate to bring it up, there are some rather dingy scenes that I feel could look better. Then again with the sheer length of the movie (and all of the supplements), there might not have been sufficient space on the disc. Suffice it to say that if you’re looking for a great viewing experience, you’ll have one.

Audio: How does it sound?

Disney has given us a reference-quality PCM uncompressed soundtrack and I personally find it hard to top. It’s a rare occasion when I’m literally blown away by how good a soundtrack is and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is one of those movies that you’ll want to crank up the volume and sit back and enjoy it. I often use the phrase “not demo material” but this is one of those rare movies in which you’ll want to have it as loud as you want. The clinging of the swords and the deep thumps of the cannons all make for an auditory experience that’s off the charts. Dialogue is very clean and free of distortion and ambient surround effects are prevalent during most every scene. This is why surround sound was invented folks, and it doesn’t get any better than this.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Like its predecessors, “Pirates…” comes to us in a two disc Blu-ray set. The first disc only has some outtakes and surprisingly no audio commentary. The second disc is where the remainder of the supplements are found and we’ll cover those. It’s essentially seven distinct featurettes that form the framework of the supplements, starting off with “Anatomy of a Scene: The Malestrom” in which we take a look at the key scene in the movie and dissect how the effects were done and the work it took, digitally, to make the scene a reality. “Masters of Design” is a five part segment that looks at just that, the production and set design of the movie. This is followed by “The Tale of Many Jack” is perhaps the most interesting (and the most interesting in the film as well) as we get to see how Depp played himself in so many different ways. A blend of CGI was used, obviously, and the inept talent of Mr. Depp added to the magic. There’s a brief segment on “The World of Chow Young Fat” who had a lead in the movie, we get takes on him from the cast and producers. More interesting is “Keith and the Captain” in which Keith Richards has finally made an appearance in the movie. Depp made no secret that it was Richard’s that inspired most of Jack Sparrow and now the two get to share a scene. “The Pirate Maestro, the Music of Hans Zimmer” pays homage to the composer for all three “Pirates” movies and he also discusses the opening theme in “Hoist the Colors”. Also included are some deleted scenes and a trailer in HD. Lastly, we get some Blu-ray exclusives with “Inside the Malestrom” as Bruckheimer guides us through the key scene in the movie.

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