Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

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Pirates of the Caribbean:
At World's End
Pirates AWE Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Written by Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
Based on Walt Disney's
Pirates of the Caribbean
Characters:
Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
Stuart Beattie
Jay Wolpert
Starring Johnny Depp
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley
Stellan Skarsgård
Bill Nighy
Chow Yun-fat
Geoffrey Rush
Jack Davenport
Kevin R. McNally
Jonathan Pryce
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Dariusz Wolski
Edited by Stephen E. Rivkin
Craig Wood
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • May 19, 2007 (2007-05-19) (Anaheim premiere)
  • May 25, 2007 (2007-05-25)
Running time 168 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $335 million[1]
Box office $963.4 million[1]

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is a 2007 American fantasy swashbuckler film and the third film in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The plot follows Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), and the crew of the Black Pearl rescuing Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones' Locker, and then preparing to fight the East India Trading Company, led by Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), who plan to extinguish piracy forever. Gore Verbinski directed the film, as he did with the previous two. It was shot in two shoots during 2005 and 2006, the former simultaneously with the preceding film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

The film was released in English-speaking countries on May 25, 2007, after Walt Disney Pictures decided to move the release date a day earlier than originally planned. Critical reviews were mixed, but At World's End was a box office hit, becoming the most successful film of 2007, with over $960 million worldwide.

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Makeup and the Academy Award for Visual Effects, which it lost to La Vie en Rose and The Golden Compass, respectively. A fourth installment, On Stranger Tides, the first to neither be directed by Verbinski nor star Bloom and Knightley, was released in cinemas on May 20, 2011.

With a production budget of $300 million, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is the most expensive film ever made to date, even after adjusting for inflation.

Plot[edit]

To control the oceans, Lord Cutler Beckett kills anyone associated with piracy and uses Davy Jones to destroy all pirate ships on the seas. Condemned prisoners sing "Hoist the Colours" to compel the nine pirate lords to convene at Shipwreck Cove; however, the late Captain Jack Sparrow, pirate lord of the Caribbean, never appointed a successor. Captain Barbossa leads Will, Elizabeth, Tia Dalma and the crew of the Black Pearl to rescue Jack from Davy Jones's Locker. Sao Feng, pirate lord of the South China Sea, possesses a map to the Locker called "The Navigation Charts". Will bargains with Feng for the Pearl in exchange for Sparrow, so Will can rescue his father from Davy Jones' ship, The Flying Dutchman. The crew journeys into the Locker and retrieves Sparrow. As the Pearl seeks an escape route, dead souls float past, including Elizabeth's father Weatherby Swann. Tia Dalma reveals that Davy Jones was appointed by Calypso, his lover and goddess of the Sea, to ferry the dead to the next world; in return, Jones could step upon land for one day every ten years. When she failed to meet him, he abandoned his duty and transformed into a monster.

After returning to the living world, the Pearl is ambushed by Sao Feng. Feng betrays Will, handing over the crew to Beckett in exchange for the Pearl. Beckett takes Sparrow aboard his vessel, the Endeavour. Feng bargains with Barbossa to release the Pearl in exchange for Elizabeth, who he believes is Calypso. Feng's ship attacks the Endeavour, allowing Jack to escape. Feng tells Elizabeth that the first Brethren Court trapped Calypso in human form so men could rule the seas. When Davy Jones attacks Feng's ship, the mortally wounded Feng appoints Elizabeth as his successor, and she and the crew are imprisoned in the Flying Dutchman's brig. Bootstrap Bill Turner reveals to Elizabeth that the person who stabs Davy Jones' heart becomes the next captain of the Dutchman. Admiral Norrington is killed while freeing Elizabeth and her crew.

Jack catches Will, and they discuss Davy Jones' heart. Jack suggests he stab the heart to solve Will's conflicting obligations, then tosses Will overboard after giving him his compass so Beckett can find Shipwreck Cove. Meanwhile on the Pearl, Davy Jones appears to Calypso, now revealed to be Tia Dalma, and asks why she left him. Calypso reveals that she will only let the Brethren Court free her so she can show them just how cruel she can be.

Back at Shipwreck Cove, Barbossa calls upon Captain Teague, Jack's father and Keeper of the Pirate's Code, to confirm that only a Pirate King can declare war. Jack calls for a vote, the first eight Lords vote for themselves, and Jack breaks the stalemate by voting for Elizabeth, who favors war, wanting revenge on Beckett for her father's death. During a parley with Beckett and Jones, Elizabeth swaps Sparrow for Will after realizing Jack and Will plan to have Jack stab the heart.

Barbossa steals Jack's "piece of eight" and uses it and its counterparts to free Calypso. Will discloses that Davy Jones betrayed her to the Brethren Court, and Calypso's fury unleashes a maelstrom, in which the Dutchman and the Pearl battle. Sparrow escapes the Dutchman's brig and steals the Dead Man's Chest, which leads to a sword battle with Jones. Will proposes to Elizabeth in the middle of a swordfight, who accepts his proposal, and Captain Barbossa marries them. Will boards the Dutchman to retrieve the chest, but is mortally wounded by Jones. Sparrow places his sword in Will's hand and helps Will stab Jones's heart before Will dies. Sparrow and Elizabeth escape the Dutchman as it sinks in the maelstrom. Beckett moves to attack the Pearl but the Dutchman resurfaces with Will as the captain and the crew returned to their human forms. The Dutchman and the Pearl destroy the Endeavour, killing Beckett. The East India Trading Company armada, leaderless, retreats.

Will is bound to sail the sea as the Dutchman's captain. Elizabeth bids Jack, Barbossa and the crew farewell before Will and Elizabeth have one day together. He departs after giving Elizabeth the Dead Man's Chest. Barbossa commandeers the Pearl, stranding Jack and Gibbs in Tortuga, in order to find the Fountain of Youth, only to discover Jack cut out the middle of the map. Jack sails from Tortuga in a small boat to find the Fountain of Youth.

In a post-credits scene set ten years later, Elizabeth and her son watch from a seacliff, as the Dutchman appears with Will Turner aboard, prompting Will's "one day on land" to spend with Elizabeth.

Cast[edit]

  • Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow: Sparrow and the Black Pearl have been dragged to Davy Jones' Locker by the Kraken and is trapped there until his former crew mounts a rescue party.
  • Orlando Bloom as William "Will" Turner Jr.: A young blacksmith-turned-pirate, the son of "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, and the later husband of Elizabeth Swann.
  • Keira Knightley as Captain Elizabeth Swann: Governor Swann’s daughter and Will Turner's fiancée. Having tricked Jack Sparrow into being swallowed by the Kraken to save herself and the Black Pearl crew, she subsequently goes to his rescue.
  • Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa: Once first mate of the Black Pearl under Jack's command before leading a mutiny, Barbossa has been resurrected by Tia Dalma to captain the rescue of Jack Sparrow. He was also needed for his "piece of eight" to free Calypso. Rush said that in the film, Barbossa becomes more of a cunning politician.[2] Depp said he was pleased he got more screentime with Rush than in the first film: "We're like a couple of old ladies fighting over their knitting needles".[3]
  • Bill Nighy as Davy Jones: Malevolent ruler of the ocean realm, captain of The Flying Dutchman. With his heart captured by James Norrington, he is now enslaved to Cutler Beckett who commanded him to kill the Kraken ("your pet"), and now serves the East India Trading Company, though he remains volatile and makes life difficult for the marines policing him.
  • Jack Davenport as James Norrington: Promoted to the rank of Admiral in return for giving Beckett Jones' heart, he has allied himself with Beckett and the Company, although he still cares for Elizabeth, his former fiancée, and finds himself torn between his duty and his growing dislike for Beckett.
  • Tom Hollander as Cutler Beckett: A powerful agent of the East India Trading Co. and now armed with a mandate from the King and in possession of Davy Jones' heart, Beckett attempts to control the world's oceans for the sake of sustainable business - and with it, the end of piracy.
  • Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs: Jack's loyal, if superstitious, first mate.
  • Stellan Skarsgård as William "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, Sr.: Will's father, cursed to serve an eternity aboard Davy Jones' ship The Flying Dutchman. As he slowly loses hope, he also loses his humanity to the ship, and becomes mentally confused, barely recognizing his own son in the second half of the film.
  • Chow Yun-fat as Sao Feng: Pirate Lord of the South China Sea, he captains the Chinese ship The Empress and has a poor history with Sparrow. He is reluctant to aid in his rescue from Davy Jones' Locker. "Sao Feng" (嘯風) means "Howling Wind" in Chinese. Chow was confirmed to be playing Feng in July 2005 while production of the second film was on hiatus.[4] Chow relished playing the role, even helping out crew members with props.[5]
  • Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma/Calypso: An obeah witch who travels with the Black Pearl crew to rescue Jack, she also raised Hector Barbossa from the dead at the conclusion of Dead Man's Chest and has a mysterious past connection to Davy Jones.
  • Keith Richards as Captain Teague: Keeper of the Pirata Codex for the Brethren Court and Jack Sparrow's father. The other pirate lords are visibly terrified of him. Richards, who partially inspired Johnny Depp's portrayal of Sparrow,[6][7] was meant to appear in Dead Man's Chest, but there was no room for him in the story,[8] as well as his being tied up with a Rolling Stones tour.[7] He almost missed filming a scene in At World's End, following injuries sustained by falling out of a tree.[9] In June 2006, Verbinski finally managed to make room in Richards' schedule to shoot that September.[10]
  • Greg Ellis as Lieutenant Theodore Groves: As second-in-command to Lord Beckett.
  • Jonathan Pryce as Weatherby Swann: Governor of Port Royal and father to Elizabeth Swann, he is now trapped in Beckett's service.
  • Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook as Pintel and Ragetti: A mischievous and eccentric duo, part of Jack's crew.
  • David Bailie as Cotton: Jack's loyal mute crewman who returns again to join the quest to bring back Sparrow.
  • Martin Klebba as Marty: Jack's dwarf crewman who also joins the quest to bring back Sparrow.
  • Christopher S. Capp voices Cotton's parrot: A blue and yellow macaw that Cotton has inexplicably trained to speak for him.
  • "Pablo" and "Chiquita" act as Jack the Monkey: Hector Barbossa's pet Capuchin monkey.[11]

Production[edit]

"I felt it important that the third film was the end of an era — like in a postmodern western where the railroad comes and the gunfighter is extinct. It seemed that we had an opportunity to take a look at a world where the legitimate has become corrupt and there is no place for honest thieves in that society, so you have darker issues and a little melancholy. The myths are dying. That seemed a great theme with which to complete the trilogy."

Gore Verbinski[12]

Following Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl's success in 2003, the cast and crew signed on for two sequels to be shot back-to-back.[13] For the third film, director Gore Verbinski wanted to return the tone to that of a character piece after using the second film to keep the plot moving.[5] Inspired by the real-life confederation of pirates, Elliott and Rossio looked at historical figures and created fictional characters from them to expand the scope beyond the main cast.[14] Finally embellishing their mythology, Calypso was introduced, going full circle to Barbossa's mention of "heathen gods" that created the curse in the first film.[15]

Parts of the third film were shot during location filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, a long shoot which finished on March 1, 2006.[16] During August 2005, the Singapore sequence was shot. The set was built on Stage 12 of the Universal backlot, and comprised 40 structures within an 80 by 130-foot (24 by 40-m) tank that was 3 12 feet (1.1 m) deep. As 18th century Singapore is not a well-documented era, the filmmakers chose to use an Expressionist style based on Chinese and Malaysian cities of the same period. The design of the city was also intended by Verbinski to parody spa culture, with fungi growing throughout the set. Continuing this natural feel, the floorboards of Sao Feng's bathhouse had to be cut by hand, and real humidity was created by the combination of gallons of water and the lighting equipment on the set.[17]

Filming resumed on August 3, 2006 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah[18] and continued until early 2007 for 70 days off the California coast, as all the shooting required in the Caribbean had been conducted in 2005.[19] Davy Jones' Locker was shot at Utah, and it was shot in a monochromatic way to represent its different feeling from the usual colorful environment of a pirate.[20] The climactic battle was shot in a former air hangar at Palmdale, California,[21] where the cast had to wear wetsuits underneath their costumes on angle-tipped ships. The water-drenched set was kept in freezing temperatures, to make sure bacteria did not come inside and infect the crew.[22] A second unit shot at Niagara Falls.[23] Industrial Light & Magic did 750 effects shots, while Digital Domain also took on 300. They spent just five months finishing the special effects. The film posed numerous challenges in creating water-based effects.[24]

Filming finished on December 12, 2006 in Molokai,[25] and the first assembly cut was three hours.[26] Twenty minutes were removed, not including end credits, though producer Jerry Bruckheimer maintained that the long running time was needed to make the final battle work in terms of build-up.[27] Hans Zimmer composed the score as he did for the previous film, composing eight new motifs including a new love theme for the At World's End soundtrack.[25] He scored scenes as the editors began work, so as to influence their choice of cutting to the music. Gore Verbinski helped on the score. He played the Ennio Morricone-influenced guitar music in the parley scene between Barbossa, Sparrow, Elizabeth and Will, Davy Jones, and Cutler Beckett.[28] He also co-wrote the song "Hoist the Colours" with Zimmer.[29]

Release[edit]

Keith Richards, who plays Jack's father Captain Teague, at the premiere.

The world premiere of At World's End was held on May 19, 2007, at Disneyland, home of the ride that inspired the film and where the first two films in the trilogy debuted. Disneyland offered the general public a chance to attend the premiere through the sale of tickets, priced at $1,500 per ticket, with proceeds going to the Make-a-Wish Foundation charity.[30] Just a few weeks before the film's release, Walt Disney Pictures decided to move the United States opening of At World's End from screenings Friday, May 25, 2007 to Thursday at 8 PM, May 24, 2007.[31] The film opened in 4,362 theaters domestically, beating Spider-Man 3's theater opening record by 110 (this record was surpassed by The Dark Knight the following year).[32][33]

Marketing[edit]

After a muted publicity campaign, the trailer finally debuted at ShoWest 2007.[34] It was shown on March 18, 2007 at a special screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl named "Pirates Ultimate Fan Event", and was then shown on March 19 during Dancing with the Stars, before it debuted online.[35] Action figures by NECA were released in late April.[36] Board games such as a Collector’s Edition Chess Set, a Monopoly Game, and a Pirates Dice Game (Liar's dice) were also released. Master Replicas have made sculptures of characters and replicas of jewellery and the Dead Man's Chest.[37] A video game with the same title as the film was released on May 22, 2007 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, PlayStation 2, PC, and Nintendo DS formats.[38] The soundtrack and its remix were also released on May 22.

Censorship[edit]

At least one nation's official censors have ordered scenes cut from the film. According to Xinhua, the state news agency of the People's Republic of China, ten minutes of footage containing Chow Yun-fat's portrayal of Singaporean pirate Sao Feng have been trimmed from versions of the film which may be shown in China. Chow is onscreen for twenty minutes in the uncensored theatrical release of the film. No official reason for the censorship was given, but unofficial sources within China have indicated that the character gave a negative and stereotypical portrayal of the Chinese people.[39]

Home media[edit]

The one-disc and two-disc re-edited versions of the Region 2 DVD were released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment in the UK on November 19, 2007, on both standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats.[40] The film was released on DVD in Australia on November 21, 2007, and released on December 4, 2007 in the United States and Canada. The 2-Disc Limited Edition DVD was in continuous circulation until it stopped on September 30, 2008. In contrast, the Blu-ray Disc release, containing all of the features from the 2-Disc DVD version (including some original scenes from the theatrical release, but excluding the writer's commentary) is still widely available. The initial Blu-ray Disc release was misprinted on the back of the box as 1080i, although Disney confirmed it to be 1080p. Disney has decided not to recall the misprinted units, but will fix the error on subsequent printings.[41] DVD sales brought in $296,043,871 in revenue marking the best-selling DVD of 2007, although it ranks second in terms of units sold (14,505,271) behind Transformers (16,234,195).[42]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

As with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, At World's End received mixed reviews. The most common criticism of the film from reviewers was that the plot was too convoluted for them to follow. In review aggregate websites, At World's End has a "Rotten" rating of 44% on Rotten Tomatoes[43] and 50% at Metacritic.[44] Favorable reviewer Alex Billington noted, "This is just how the film industry works nowadays; critics give bad opinions, the public usually has a differing opinion, and all is well in the world of Hollywood since the studios made their millions anyway."[45]

Drew McWeeny was an exception, praising its complexity as giving it repeat-viewing value, and its conclusion as "perhaps the most canny move it makes."[46] Todd Gilchrist found the story too similar to other cinematic trilogies such as Star Wars but praised the production values.[47] Brian Lowry felt that "unlike last year's bloated sequel, it at least possesses some semblance of a destination, making it slightly more coherent - if no less numbing during the protracted finale."[48] Total Film praised the performances but complained that the twists and exposition made it hard to care for the characters.[49] Edward Douglas liked the film but had issues with its pacing,[50] while Blake Wright criticized the Davy Jones' Locker and Calypso segments.[51] James Berardinelli found it the weakest of the trilogy as "the last hour offers adventure as rousing as anything provided in either of the previous installments... which doesn't account for the other 108 minutes of this gorged, self-indulgent, and uneven production."[52] Peter Travers praised Richards and Rush but felt "there can indeed be too much of a good thing," regarding Depp's character.[53] Travers later declared the movie to be one of the worst films of the year.[54] Colm Andrew of the Manx Independent said the film was overall a disappointment and that "the final showdown ... is a non-event and the repetitive swordplay and inane plot contrivances simply become boring by the end".[55]

Chow Yun-fat's character stirred a great deal of controversy with the Chinese press. Perry Lam, of Hong Kong cultural magazine, Muse, found the striking resemblance between Chow's character and Fu Manchu offensive: "Now Fu Manchu has returned after an absence of 27 years in the Hollywood cinema; except that, in a nod to political correctness and marketing realities, he is no longer called Fu Manchu."[56]

Box office[edit]

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End earned $309,420,425 in North America and $654,000,000 in other countries for a worldwide total of $963,420,425.[1] Worldwide, it is the twenty-third highest-grossing film,[57] the highest-grossing film of 2007[58] and the third highest-grossing film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.[59] Compared to its predecessor, it grossed far less at the North American box office, but more outside North America. Still, its worldwide earnings are more than $100 million below Dead Man's Chest's.[60] On its worldwide opening weekend it grossed $344.0 million, making it the seventh-largest opening.[61]

North America

At World's End was released in a then-record 4,362 theaters in North America[62] and was shown on around 11,500 screens which is still an all-time record.[63] On its first three-day weekend, it earned $114,732,820. It set a Memorial Day 4-day weekend record ($139,802,190), which it still retains. This record was previously held by X-Men: The Last Stand.[64] Including Thursday night previews, as well, At World's End earned $153,042,234 in 5 days.[65] It is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2007.[66] Among May's Big Three (Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3 and Pirates 3),[67][68] Pirates 3 grossed the least both during its opening weekend[69] and in total earnings.[70] However, this was mainly attributed to the fact that it was released third, after the other two films, so there was already too much competition.[71] It is also the second highest-grossing film in the Pirates series.[59]

Outside North America

It is the eighteenth highest-grossing film, the sixth-largest film distributed by Disney[72] and the second highest-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean film.[59] During its opening weekend, it grossed an estimated $216.0 million, which stands as the sixth biggest opening outside North America.[73] It set opening-weekend records in South Korea with $16.7 million (surpassed by Transformers: Dark of the Moon),[74] Russia and the CIS with $14.0 million (first surpassed by Samy luchshiy film)[75] and Spain with $11.9 million[76] (surpassed by The Impossible).[77] It dominated for three consecutive weekends at the box office outside North America.[78] By June 12, 2007 -its 20th day of release- the film had grossed $500 million, breaking Spider-Man 3's record for reaching that amount the fastest.[79] This record was first overtaken by Avatar (15 days to $500 million).[80] Its highest-grossing countries after North America are Japan, where it earned $91.1 million and became the last Hollywood film to earn more than 10 billion yen before Avatar,[81] the UK, Ireland and Malta ($81.4 million) and Germany ($59.4 million).[82]

Accolades[edit]

At the 80th Academy Awards, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was nominated for two awards, Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects. However, it didn't win either of the two, losing the former to La Vie en Rose and the latter to The Golden Compass.[83]

At the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, the film was nominated for three awards, including one win: the Best Comedic Performance (Johnny Depp). At the 34th People's Choice Awards, it was nominated for five awards, including four wins: Favorite Movie, Favorite Threequel, Favorite Male Movie Star (Johnny Depp) and Favorite Female Action Star (Keira Knightley).[84] Also, at the Teen Choice Awards it won five awards, out of six nominations. Finally, at the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards, it achieved three nominations but won only the Favorite Movie Actor award (Johnny Depp).

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