Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) - 2-Disc Limited Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy
Disney || PG13 - 169 minutes - $34.99 || December 4, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-12-02


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer(s): Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio (written by); Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Stuart Bettie & Jay Wolpert (characters)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Stellan Skarsgard, Bill Nighy, Chow Yun-Fat, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport, Kevin R. McNally, Jonathan Pryce


Theatrical Release Date: May 25, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Bloopers of the Caribbean
  • Keith & The Captain
  • Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom
  • The Tale of the Many Jacks
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The World of Chow Yun-Fat
  • The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer
  • Masters of Design
  • Hoist the Colours
  • Inside the Brethren Court


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot (from DVD back cover): Trapped on a sea of sand in Davy Jones’ Locker, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is the last of the nine Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court who must unite in one last stand to preserve the freedom-loving pirates’ way of life. But first he has to be found and rescued.

Four years and over 2.5 BILLION dollars later, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise comes to a close. As much as I never understood the hype for this series, it did provide some entertainment value, no thanks to each one’s overlong runtimes, however.

Curse of the Black Pearl was good for Johnny Depp’s unique and Oscar nominated performance but even that wore off when Dead Man’s Chest came out in ’06, and what were left with was nearly 3 hours of an overly complicated plot that never was interesting to begin with. But something interesting happened when At World’s End was released in 2007; it was actually and simply entertaining. This is not to say I liked the 169-minute running time but at least this time each minute went quickly and was used effectively.

This is my second viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and it was just as entertaining as the first time. Gone is the convoluted plotline, though there are the double or triple crosses, yet I never was confused. The only drawback I found, and I think this was an issue before as well, was the character of Calypso. All the buildup for her and it was really unsatisfying. However, it did lead into the climatic “Maelstrom” sequence which made up for it.

Gore Verbinski provides some good visuals while also not letting the CGI become too overwhelming as sometimes happens with a movie that is 75%+ VFX (a la Star Wars Prequels). At home, I noticed many interesting style choices during various scenes: using a greenish tint during some while others a bit more normal (most scenes, though, very dark).

When Dead Man’s Chest ended, I feared some sort of “Dawson’s Creek” like plotline for the third outing when Elizabeth (Knightley) seemed to have strong feelings for Captain Jack (Depp) while also in love with Will (Bloom). Thankfully, this byline was left basically alone so that for one makes AWE an A+ in my book...

In the end, Pirates 3 is a fun adventure entertainment that made Dead Man’s Chest somewhat worth watching just for some payoffs. I still don’t know why for a pirate movie each one needed to be as long as they did but at least it a solid conclusion.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Disney once again joins the party releasing 1-disc and 2-disc versions of their movies but unlike Dead Man’s Chest, this one doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the material that should be out there. No commentary this time around for some odd reason. I can only surmise/hope that Gore Verbinski is planning on releasing an extended cut of all three films (a la Lord of the Rings).

The first disc houses only the feature film and the Bloopers of the Caribbean (5:22). Like the previous releases, line flubs and prop mishaps abound. Disc 2 has the rest of the features, none of which really has any meat to them.

Keith & The Captain (4:35) – Featurette focusing on the guest appearance of Keith Richards as Captain Teague, holder of the Pirate Code book and father to Jack Sparrow. Most interesting aspect is seeing how awe struck Depp was on the set with him.

Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom (19:26) - The most extensive of the bunch, this gives an inside look at the making of the climactic scene from building the ships to the actors working against the green screen.

The Tale of the Many Jacks (4:47) – Another inside glimpse at how Jack Sparrow’s entrance was done as he is stuck in Davy Jones’ locker, commanding the Black Pearl with multiples of… himself. Quite interesting to see how exactly it was done using doubles for wider shots while also having Depp doing some of it.

Deleted Scenes (2:20) – An astounding two, yes two, scenes are provided with commentary from Verbinski. Neither would’ve been missed in the final cut but still both are worth watching.

The World of Chow Yun-Fat (4:14) – The famous Chinese actor gets his due describing his enthusiasm working on this Pirates installment and also seeing him do some stunt work with his own stuntman.

The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer (10:30) – Zimmer, as you can tell, is featured this time around providing some sound bites about his process and the evolution of the score from DMC to AWE. You also get to see the amount of input Verbinski puts in, plus his great guitar skills.

Masters of Design – Five members of the crew get individual featurettes covering their areas of expertise. First is James Byrkit: Sao Feng’s Map (6:19) describes creating the map that propels the entire story; Crash McCreery: The Cursed Crew (5:17) goes through creating new and interesting looks for the Barbosa crew and Barbosa himself; Rick Heinrichs: Singapore (5:12) has the production designer take the viewers on tour of the Singapore set; Penny Rose: Teague’s Costume (3:36) gives a detail look at Keith Richard’s wardrobe; and last is Kris Peck: The Code Book (4:40) gives account on how the massive book was made and the work they had to do to lighten its weight.

Hoist the Colours (4:40) – The amazing song in the film’s opening is examined with Zimmer, while working in London and Batman Begins, and Verbinski coming up with the tune and even using Zimmer’s wife’s vocals for the little boy.

Inside the Brethren Court – Semi-interactive featurette where you can study each of the pirates’ pieces of 8.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

At World’s End is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35 aspect ratio and everything looks just as it should. The transfer looks very nice diverting from rich textures to a darker palette during some swashbuckling scenes. No complaints here.

As with Dead Man’s Chest, here we only get the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix which does sound fantastic, though I wish a DTS would’ve also been included but what’s there should be easily suitable for most. A Spanish language track is also included.



.::OVERALL::.

Why Disney is calling this set “Limited” I have no idea. I will give them credit, however, for spreading the edition titles around in this franchise. First time around it was a 2-Disc Collector’s Edition (and this one is the best of them all), then 2-Disc Special Edition and now 2-Disc Limited Edition. This set here reminds me a lot of The Lord of the Rings initial releases which provided some decent features but left the rest for the extravagant 4-Disc sets. It would not surprise me if Disney does the same and releases a mammoth 6 or 8-disc edition with all-new features. As for the movie itself, if you’re a fan of the franchise I would hesitate getting this one for the amount extra it is. For less you can get the 1-disc version to hold you over and still enjoy the movie.