Our last chance to dress up like pirates in public (like we need an excuse) came by last night, as we swashbuckled in to see the third and final Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
I’m sure there was a lot of hype and expectation for this movie, but I seem to have missed it. I remember thinking "damn" when the second movie ended on a cliffhanger, but the anticipation didn’t make me count the days. Don’t get me wrong, these are great movies – the lack of anticipation in this case was a good thing. It meant that the next movie rolled around relatively painlessly, and when it did so, there were no huge, unrealistic expectations.
It’s always a bold move to end a film on a cliffhanger. These days, perhaps, not quite so bold a move as in bygone millennia (does anybody remember the cliffhanger ending of the Super Mario Brothers movie?), since movie trilogies are basically guaranteed to get made if the first one was popular enough, and they did the clever thing by not making the first Pirates movie end on a cliffhanger. But still, a bold move. There will always be considerable pressure to give a decent payoff for the waiting – the movie has to be worth it.
At World’s End was definitely worth it. We ended the previous movie with multiple unresolved plot threads – the evil good guys (in this world of antiheroes, this was the logical step) of the Royal Navy and/or East India Company set to take over the high seas; the menace of Old Squidhead still at large and more squiddy than ever; the star-crossed and somewhat annoying lovers Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann seemingly both convinced it’s the other’s turn to say his or her line; the comparatively endearing Barbossa returned from the dead (with little in the way of explanation, which is in itself a plot thread); and, last but not least, Jack Sparrow dead and relegated to some sort of Pirate’s Purgatory in Davey Jones’s Locker … where was I? Oh yes. We ended the previous movie with multiple unresolved plot threads – as I just listed – and a few rumours about Jack Sparrow’s father turning up. And Chow Yun Fat.
So anyway, At World’s End delivers. And adds in a few more twists and turns to boot. Throw in some unexpected deaths, an entertainingly non-Hollywood ending, and a whole lot of BSTs in nautical form, and you end up with a worthy finale to this highly enjoyable epic. Of course, there were some questions that just never got answered.
1. Were Davey Jones and Calypso ever reunited? Or was She so super-pissed at him that She just drowned his sorry ass?
2. Was the heart-removal always part of the Captaincy of the Flying Dutchman? Sometimes I got the impression that it was just something Davey Jones did when he lost Calypso. He was heartbroken, and so he cut it out and put it in a box, and that meant whoever had the heart could kill him (and therefore control him), but nothing else could kill him. But then, it seemed like the heart was part of the whole deal all along: the Captain of the Flying Dutchman is immortal, and ferries the dead into the other world, ten-year shifts with one day of shore-leave in between, and the Captain is replaced by killing the heart and replacing it with one’s own, if one is that way inclined. So was the heart thing always part of the procedure, or was it something Davey Jones just did because of Calypso and his heartbreak?
3. Related to #2, was Davey Jones the first Captain of the Flying Dutchman? He must have been, right? Unless he performed the rite and took over from the previous Captain, which seems unlikely.
4. In what order did all this happen? As near as I can tell, it was something like: Davey Jones became Captain of the Flying Dutchman. He served for ten years, while Calypso reigned supreme over the seas. Then he got his shore-leave and She wasn’t there to meet him (because She’s a fucking Sea Goddess). He got pissed off and showed the pirates how to capture Her – he did this presumably either during his next shore-leave, or on-board ship sometime. Then the original pirate lords captured her, probably during their first meeting when they each used their pieces of eight for the first time. Then an unspecified number of years later, there are new pirate lords, including Jack and Barbossa.
5. When did Barbossa become a pirate lord? My theory is, he killed a pirate lord and stole his/her piece of eight back when he was undead, and that made him a pirate lord.
6. What was the deal with the song and the coins? Just a pirate coin the kid happened to have, and the song was a spell or something, the coin absorbed it? Because the coins weren’t in fact the pieces of eight, were they? They were just, like, decoys. Seems funny that the song would have that sort of power, if it’s just a song. Maybe being sung by so many pirates, in that situation, made it powerful?
7. Was Elizabeth immortal too, or was this new job of Will’s really, really shit for everybody concerned? I imagine his first shore-leave was fun, but subsequent shore-leaves would become increasingly boring for him. That is, if he’s totally shallow and interested only in physical interaction. God knows, it’s Orlando Bloom so he could in fact be a girl. Then again, if Elizabeth isn’t aging, it’s going to be pretty crappy for their kid(s), isn’t it?
8. What’s stopping Will from taking shore-leave in a bucket and/or bathtub full of seawater? Or Elizabeth taking ship-leave? Kinky. Maybe that’s not allowed because it would lead the Captain of the Flying Dutchman to be neglecting his duties, and therefore Will would turn into a tentacle monster? Kinky.
Anyway, it was great.
Oh, and a word of advice. When we went to see the movie, the cinema was packed. But almost everybody left when the credits rolled, instead of sitting through them to see the final scene. People, it seems, didn’t learn from the first two movies that there’s always a brief appendix-scene afterwards. Anyway, there is one, and it’s … meh, it’s alright. I guess it was nice to confirm that the Turners survived the long-distance relationship thing, although I think it would have been cooler to have a scene on the Flying Dutchman with Will escorting Lord Cutler across the threshold.
You know, a thousand ethereal voices crying, "Arr! There he be, the slimy sea-goat!" and Cutler going, "oh, I say, ruddy fuck."