Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
|Pirates of the Caribbean:
At World's End
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gore Verbinski|
|Produced by||Jerry Bruckheimer|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$963.4 million|
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is a 2007 American epic fantasy swashbuckler film and the third installment of 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's Locker, and then preparing to fight the East India Trading Company, led by Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), who controls Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and plans to extinguish piracy forever. It is the last film in the series to be directed by Gore Verbinski. It was filmed in two shoots during 2005 and 2006, the former simultaneously with the preceding film, Dead Man's Chest.
The film was released in English-speaking countries on May 25, 2007, by Walt Disney Pictures. Critical reviews were mixed. The film was praised for its performances, musical score, action scenes, and special effects, but was criticized for its plot and running time. 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 Best Makeup and Hairstyling and the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, which it lost to La Vie en Rose and The Golden Compass, respectively. A fourth installment, On Stranger Tides, the first in the series 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 was the most expensive film ever made at the time of its release, even after adjusting for inflation.
To control the oceans, Lord Cutler Beckett executes anyone associated with piracy by ordering Davy Jones to destroy all pirate ships in the seas. Condemned prisoners sing "Hoist the Colours" to compel the nine Pirate Lords to convene at Shipwreck Cove to hold the Brethren Court. Because Captain Jack Sparrow, one of the Pirate Lords, never named a successor before being killed, Captain Barbossa, along with Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Tia Dalma, and the crew of the Black Pearl, plot to rescue Jack from Davy Jones's Locker. Traveling to Singapore, the crew meet Captain Sao Feng, who owns navigational charts to the Locker and quickly gains an unpredictable interest in Elizabeth. Beckett's soldiers invade, but the crew escape. Feng and Turner make a deal to give Jack to Feng, so he in turn can use the Pearl to rescue his father Bootstrap Bill from the Flying Dutchman. The crew travels to the locker and rescues the marooned Jack. They find themselves trapped, encountering dead souls, including Elizabeth's father Governor Swann. They learn the Dutchman must always have a captain.
Returning to the living world, the Pearl is attacked by Sao Feng and Beckett's men. Through a complex series of deals, Elizabeth is handed over to Feng, who believes she is the goddess Calypso, while the rest of the crew make for Shipwreck Cove aboard the Pearl, though Jack later throws Will off the ship as part of the plan to seize control of the Dutchman. Sao Feng tells Elizabeth that the first Brethren Court bound Calypso in human form after she betrayed her lover, Davy Jones. He plans to release her to defeat Beckett. Davy Jones attacks Feng's ship, but Feng appoints Elizabeth his successor as Pirate Lord before dying. Admiral Norrington frees Elizabeth and her new crew from the Dutchman, but is killed by a crazed Bootstrap Bill.
The Black Pearl arrives at Shipwreck Cove where Barbossa attempts to persuade the Brethren Court to release Calypso. Davy Jones visits Tia Dalma in the Pearl's brig, revealing she is Calypso, and they promise to be together again. Jack's father Captain Teague and Keeper of the Pirate Code, informs the Court that only an elected Pirate King can decide. A vote is taken. To avoid a stalemate, Jack casts his vote for Elizabeth, making her King.
The Brethren Court and Beckett's fleets emerge for war. On a sandbank, Elizabeth, Jack, Barbossa, Beckett, Jones, and Will parley, trading Will for Jack, and Barbossa steals Jack's piece of eight, all of which are owned by the Pirate Lords and required to free Calypso. Barbossa frees Calypso, but when Will reveals it was Jones who made it possible for the first Court to imprison her, Calypso vanishes and summons an enormous maelstrom.
The Pearl and the Dutchman battle in the maelstrom. Elizabeth and Will are wed by Barbossa before swinging over to the Dutchman to aid Jack. On board the Dutchman, Jones and Jack engage in a duel, with Jones gaining the upper hand. Jones stabs Will with a sword, causing Bootstrap to fly into a rage and attack Jones. Jones begins to gain the upper hand, but Jack and Elizabeth help Will stab Jones' heart. Jones dies and falls into the maelstrom, while Will succumbs to his injuries. Jack and Elizabeth escape the Dutchman as it is sucked into the maelstrom, while the crew of the Dutchman converge on Will, led by Bootstrap.
As Beckett's ship, the Endeavour, approaches to destroy the Pearl, the Dutchman rises, now captained by Will, and the crew free of Jones' curse. Together, the two pirate ships destroy the Endeavour, with a stunned Beckett going down with the ship while his navy retreats, demoralized by the loss of both the Endeavor and their commander in Beckett. With Will now bound to escort souls lost at sea to the next world for ten years, he and Elizabeth consummate their marriage before he departs on the Dutchman.
Jack and Joshamee Gibbs discover Barbossa has stolen the Black Pearl again, but Jack planned ahead and cut out Sao Feng's navigational charts, departing from Tortuga alone to track down the mythical Fountain of Youth to become immortal.
In a post-credits scene, set ten years later, Elizabeth and her son watch from a sea cliff as Will returns aboard the Dutchman.
- Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow: Sparrow and the Black Pearl have been dragged to Davy Jones's Locker by the Kraken; he 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 later the husband of Elizabeth Swann. Turner becomes Captain of The Flying Dutchman after the ritual is performed to save his life.
- 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. Swann becomes Captain of The Empress and Pirate Lord of the South China Seas as successor to Feng, and becomes the Pirate King by default as a result of the Bretheren Court vote.
- 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. 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".
- Bill Nighy as Captain 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.
- Stellan Skarsgård as William "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, Sr.: Will's father, cursed to serve an eternity aboard Davy Jones's 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 Captain 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's 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. Chow relished playing the role, even helping out crew members with props.
- Tom Hollander as Cutler Beckett: A powerful chairman of the East India Trading Co. and now armed with a mandate from the King and in possession of Davy Jones's heart, Beckett attempts to control the world's oceans for the sake of sustainable business - and with it, the end of piracy.
- Jack Davenport as James Norrington: Promoted to the rank of admiral in return for giving Beckett Jones's 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.
- Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs: Jack's loyal, if superstitious, first mate.
- Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma / Calypso: An obeah witch who travels with the Black Pearl crew to rescue Jack; she also raised Barbossa from the dead at the conclusion of Dead Man's Chest and has a mysterious past connection to Davy Jones.
- Jonathan Pryce as Weatherby Swann: Governor of Port Royal and father to Elizabeth Swann, he is now trapped in Beckett's service.
- Keith Richards as Captain Edward 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 Depp's portrayal of Sparrow, was meant to appear in Dead Man's Chest, but there was no room for him in the story, as well as his being tied up with a Rolling Stones tour. He almost missed filming a scene in At World's End, following injuries sustained by falling out of a tree. In June 2006, Verbinski finally managed to make room in Richards' schedule to shoot that September.
- Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook as Pintel and Ragetti: A mischievous and eccentric duo, part of Jack's crew.
- Greg Ellis as Lieutenant Theodore Groves: second-in-command to Lord Beckett.
- 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.
- David Schofield as Mr. Mercer: Lord Beckett's henchman, assigned to hold Davy Jones's leash aboard the Dutchman.
- Lauren Maher and Vanessa Branch as Scarlett and Giselle
- Angus Barnett and Giles New as Mullroy and Murtogg
- Reggie Lee as Tai Huang
- Dominic Scott Kay as Young Will Turner: the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.
Following 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. During August 2005, the Singapore sequence was shot. The set was built on Stage 12 of the Universal Studios backlot, and comprised 40 structures within an 80 by 130-foot (24 by 40-m) tank that was 3 1⁄2 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.
Filming resumed on August 3, 2006 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah for 70 days off the California coast, as all the shooting required in the Caribbean had been conducted in 2005. Davy Jones's 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. The climactic battle was shot in a former air hangar at Palmdale, California, 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. A second unit shot at Niagara Falls. 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.
Filming finished on December 12, 2006 in Molokai, and the first assembly cut was three hours. 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.
Hans Zimmer composed the score, as he did for the previous films, composing eight new motifs, including a new love theme for the At World's End soundtrack. 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. He also co-wrote the song "Hoist the Colours" with Zimmer.
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. 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. 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).
After a muted publicity campaign, the trailer finally debuted at ShoWest 2007. 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. Action figures by NECA were released in late April. 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 made sculptures of characters and replicas of jewellery and the Dead Man's Chest. 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. The soundtrack and its remix were also released on May 22.
At least one nation's official censors 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 were 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 Chinese people.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 19, 2007 in the UK and 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 decided not to recall the misprinted units, but to fix the error on subsequent printings. 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). At World's End had its television premiere in the UK on Boxing Day 2009 on BBC One at 19:30, and was watched by 6.06 million viewers.
As with 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. At World's End has a "Rotten" rating of 45% on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with the site's consensus saying that the film "provides the thrilling action scenes, but mixes in too many characters with too many incomprehensible plot threads." It also has a score of 50 at Metacritic. 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."
Drew McWeeny praised the film's complexity as giving it repeat-viewing value, and its conclusion as "perhaps the most canny move it makes." Todd Gilchrist found the story too similar to other cinematic trilogies such as Star Wars, but praised the production values. 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." Total Film praised the performances but complained that the twists and exposition made it hard to care for the characters. Edward Douglas liked the film but had issues with its pacing, while Blake Wright criticized the Davy Jones's Locker and Calypso segments. 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." Peter Travers praised Richards and Rush but felt "there can indeed be too much of a good thing," regarding Depp's character. Travers later declared the movie to be one of the worst films of the year. 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". Richard Roeper gave a positive review, saying "Gore Verbinski and the stunt and special effects crews have created one of the most impressive blends of live-action work and CGI wizardry ever put on film," and believing it "rarely drags and is almost always entertaining." He praised the performances of the actors as one of the best things about the film.
Chow Yun-fat's character stirred a great deal of controversy with the Chinese press. Perry Lam, of Hong Kong cultural magazine, Muse, found an offensive resemblance between Chow's character and Fu Manchu: "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."
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. Worldwide, it is the thirtieth-highest-grossing film, the highest-grossing film of 2007, and the third-highest-grossing film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. 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. During its worldwide opening weekend, it grossed $344.0 million, making it the seventh-largest opening.
- North America
At World's End was released in a then-record 4,362 theaters in North America, and was shown on around 11,500 screens, which is still an all-time record. 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. Including Thursday night previews, as well, At World's End earned $153,042,234 in 5 days, and is the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2007. Among May's Big Three (Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3 and Pirates 3), Pirates 3 grossed the least both during its opening weekend and in total earnings. 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. It is also the second-highest-grossing film in the Pirates series.
- Outside North America
It is the eighteenth-highest-grossing film, the sixth-largest film distributed by Disney, and the second-highest-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean film. During its opening weekend, it grossed an estimated $216.0 million, which stands as the sixth biggest opening outside North America. It set opening-weekend records in South Korea with $16.7 million (surpassed by Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Russia, and the CIS with $14.0 million (first surpassed by Samy luchshiy film), and Spain with $11.9 million (surpassed by The Impossible). It dominated for three consecutive weekends at the box office outside North America. 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. This record was first overtaken by Avatar (15 days to $500 million). 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, and the UK, Ireland, Malta ($81.4 million), and Germany ($59.4 million).
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 did not win either of the two, losing the former to La Vie en Rose and the latter to The Golden Compass.
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). 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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