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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (DVD Review)

25 Nov, 2007 By: John Latchem

Street 12/4/07

Box Office $309.4 million

$29.99 DVD, $34.99 two-DVD set, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13' for intense sequences of adventure violence, including frightening images.
Stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Lee Arenberg, Chow Yun-Fat.

If the end of the second “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie was eerily similar to the cliffhanger of The Empire Strikes Back, the beginning of the third film, set in a mysterious den of thieves, is reminiscent of the opening of Return of the Jedi. With all the “Star Wars” parallels, this trilogy could easily have been dubbed “Pirate Wars” if not for the tie-in with the Disneyland ride.

But now the circle is complete, and with eight hours of story spread over three movies, “Pirates of the Caribbean” takes its place among the great film sagas. Where it fits on that list will be open to debate.

Nevermind that the movies are mostly eye candy with overly convoluted plotting and story elements that run together. These are rousing adventure tales with a grand visual style, some great special effects, beautiful photography and stunning landscapes.

The At World's End DVD set is loaded with behind-the-scenes footage, informing the audience of everything from the production design to the Brethren Court to the awe of Keith Richards playing guitar on set.

At more than two-and-a-half hours, however, the third film is simply too long. Depp's Jack Sparrow shtick starts to wear thin, and the rest of the characters seem just along for the ride, closing out their various storylines. A post-credits coda is a bit obvious and seems out of place.

Home video will let fans further dissect every last detail of the films and give casual viewers a better understanding of the proceedings. Even so, the series has its fair share of setpieces to relive. Highlights of At World's End include the voyage to and from Davy Jones' locker, including a manic attempt to capsize the Black Pearl, and the final maelstrom battle (the subject of one of the featurettes).

This third installment also features the best musical score of the trilogy. In one featurette, composer Hans Zimmer offers his insights on scoring the movie. While most scores are written after the film is edited together, he began writing music at the beginning of filming, hoping his themes would inspire the editors and he could, in turn, hear what worked.

Between the featurettes and deleted scenes, the DVD is pretty thorough, but sadly the main feature lacks a commentary track.

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