© 2023 WYPR
20th Anniversary Background
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'

Haven't had your swash sufficiently buckled? Well, Cap'n Jack's back, and there's nearly three hours of him this time. Also back from the previous two Pirates movies are Will, Elizabeth, ol' Tentacle-Face, and that hyperactive monkey, not to mention more Chinese, African and French pirates than you can shake a yard-arm at. Nah, the result isn't light and entertaining any more, but director Gore Verbinski and his three gazillion digital helpmates have come up with some decently interesting new stuff nonetheless. There's politics (terrorism, hangings and a suspension of the right of habeas corpus), capitalism (much talk of profit motive and what's good for the East India Trading Company), absurdism (a Godot-lite salt-flats interlude), and visual quotes out of everything from The Buccaneer to Zabriskie Point. If you thought there wasn't enough Johnny Depp last time, you're in clover, 'cause there are a good two dozen of him in just one scene here. And if the resulting movie is more about bigness than fun, well, just count that as a bow to market forces that the auditors for the East India Trading Company would understand. The first film had clever dialogue and made $600 million, about half of it overseas; the second traded the cleverness for special effects and made a billion dollars, about two-thirds of it overseas. Lesson learned: This time the effects are so big and noisy, there's hardly even a point in translating the words. Can't hear 'em anyway.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.