Coming soon...

Friday, June 22, 2007

The man with the hat is back!

Here is the first photo of the greatest hero of all time back for one more crack of the whip! Shooting on Indiana Jones 4 has begun, and thanks to, we have been given the first image of Harrison Ford as Indy. I, for one, am pretty relieved. He's not looking as bad as Harrison has been looking over the last few years. Hell, he may even be able to kick some old school ass, as in, no wires needed. Remember, it's not the years, it's the mileage!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

ELIZABETH (1998) - Shekhar Kapur

England's longest serving monarch, Elizabeth I certainly is a character worthy of the screen treatment. And in 1998, Shekhar Kapur brought Elizabeth to the screen in the movie, imaginatively titled... Elizabeth. The movie opens with an ailing Queen Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, ruling a decaying England. She, being devoutly Catholic, is determined to make England once again Catholic and is destroying anybody who is found to be Protestant. Her half-sister, Princess Elizabeth is in league with Protestant dissidents within the kingdom. Mary has her half-sister locked in the Tower of London. But Mary soon dies and Elizabeth succeeds to the throne.
Now a Protestant Queen, Elizabeth finds that her own Bishops have no faith in her and wish her to fall. She is advised by her loyal subjects that the only way to secure her throne is to marry and produce an heir. She is given the choice of suitors from France and Spain, while her own true love, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester is regarded with suspicion by the Queen's court. Plots are hatched to bring about the demise of Elizabeth from as far as the Vatican in Rome, and after a few misguided blunders in her early years as Queen, Elizabeth learns that the only counsel she can keep is her own.

I am the first to admit, I know very little about English history. It was never a subject we covered in school, so what scant knowledge I have, I've picked up from the movies. So I am in no position what so ever to comment on the historical accuracy of the film. However, as a movie, Elizabeth refrains from being a weighty biopic and retains enough intrigue and drama to stay quite entertaining. The heart of the film is in Cate Blanchett's performance as Elizabeth. When we first meet the soon-to-be-queen, she is naive of the politics of state and has a very innocent view of the world. She spends her days in entertaining pursuits, and when she is presented to Queen Mary, she is very timid. But over the course of the film, she gains confidence and authority, and it is a testament to Blanchett's performance that this is fascinating to watch. In fact, the performance is so good that it overshadows everyone else's, which includes heavy-weights like Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston and Richard Attenborough. However, since this is a film ABOUT Elizabeth, this is to be expected!
The film's photography and production design is beautiful. The period is captured very accurately (as far as I can tell!) in terms of costuming and set design, while the cinematography captures the vibrant colors in rich detail. While some historic epics can be a little daunting, Elizabeth is intriguing enough to hold your attention, and Blanchett's Oscar-nominated performance is worth checking out.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

THE FOUNTAIN (2006) - Darren Aronofsky

Director Darren Aronofsky set about making The Fountain after he completed Requiem For A Dream in 2000. The film went into production in Australia with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the central roles of Tom and Izzi, but soon shut down after Pitt left over creative differences with Aronofsky, and the studio pulled out of backing the film. Finally, in 2004, Aronofsky began filming The Fountain once again, with a stripped-down script and actors Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in the main roles.

The Fountain takes place in three time periods. The three stories weave together and deal with death and eternal life. In 16th-Century Spain, we find Queen Isabel who is close to being executed by the Inquisition for crimes of heresy. She is obsessed with finding the Tree of Life, the tree from Eden which is believed to be located in South America. She sends her faithful conquistador, Tomas to find the tree, and to bring back to her the sap, which will give her eternal life. In modern day America, Dr. Tom Creo is a neurologist who is searching for a cure for brain tumors. He is obsessed with finding the cure, as his wife, Izzi is dying from a brain tumor. The cure may be found from the sap of a tree recently discovered in South America. And in the year 2500, we find Tom again, travelling through space towards a dying star, with only a tree for company. He is escorting the tree to the dying star where it is believed, Izzy's spirit may be reborn.

When written down like that, The Fountain sounds like it wont work as a film at all. Certainly, interweaving three distinctly different styles that would suit each story could become a major problem. Yet in the hands of Darren Aronofsky, this isn't so. Aronofsky has created one of the most unique and fascinating films of recent times. On the face of it, The Fountain is about the need to accept death as a part of life. Izzi knows full well she isn't likely to survive her tumor. She has accepted it, and is quite upbeat, yet her husband is completely unwilling to let go of the chance of saving her life. To the point where he actually misses out on spending time with her. On another level, the film is also about the nature of humanity. If we lived forever, would we lose a sense of who we are? And in this respect, The Fountain is kind of like a modern day 2001: A Space Odyssey. Certainly, the sci-fi element, as well as the jumps in time could be compared to Kubrick's masterpiece.

That isn't to say The Fountain isn't without it's flaws. There are moments where Aronofsky loses focus on the message of the film in favour of the visual side. However, Aronofsky is one of the best technical directors in the industry, and the imagery is incredible. The space scenes, while certainly very very far out, are absolutely stunning, the approach quite unlike anything you'll have seen before. And the cinematography, from long-time Aronofsky collaborator, Matthew Libatique is as good if not better than Requiem For A Dream.
Hugh Jackman delivers a career-best performance as the three versions of Tom Creo. He captures the obsession of both his work, and the love for his wife and queen perfectly, in a role that was criminally overlooked at awards time. Rachel Weisz is also brilliant as both Queen Isabel and Izzi Creo. Refined and elegant as the Queen, and wonderfully upbeat as Izzi. Ellen Burstyn also appears as Tom's boss, and is, as always, brilliant.

The Fountain divided critics and audiences alike. And it's not surprising it did so. In these days of pirates and superheroes, a film like The Fountain is going to seriously test the average Joe Multiplex. However, thank christ for Aronofsky, who has taken a helluva chance making this film. It is without a doubt one of the most individual and unique works of the last while. It's more of a painting or a poem then a movie. What's for sure is, for better or worse, this is a film that stays in the mind long after you've seen it.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the finest writer/directors working in the industry. This December sees the release of his fifth feature film, There Will Be Blood. The film, an adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel stars the ever reclusive, but brilliant Daniel Day Lewis and has a real Terrence Malick, Days Of Heaven feel to it. Check out the trailer!

Friday, June 15, 2007

No Country For Old Men

The Coen brothers are back this year with No Country For Old Men. After a three year hiatus, and a few misfires in The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty, it looks like the boys are back on form with this dark thriller set in the Rio Grande. Look for this in November (US) and February next year (UK).... yeah, it is a helluva long time to wait.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Comedy comes in many forms. Farce, parody, screwball, black, satire, it is an extremely difficult genre to get right. But when delivered well, comedy can be the greatest of cinema experiences. After all, who doesn't love to laugh?

So here, in chronological order, are the Critical Mass Top 5 Comedy Films.

1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Stanley Kubrick.

Set in three locations, the Presidential War Room, the cramped interior of a B-52 Bomber, and the office of US Air Force Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, Strangelove opens with Ripper, a commie fearing lunatic, ordering an all out nuclear strike on the Soviet Union. Arriving too late to stop Ripper is Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, a British officer who must witness first hand, Ripper's lunacy and mad theories.
Meanwhile, in the US Government War Room, President Merkin Muffley must try to diffuse the situation with the Russians, gain control of his own military, fend off gung-ho General Turgidson and deal with mad-cap ex Nazi Dr. Strangelove. And on a sole B-52 bomber, Major T.J. 'King' Kong is determined to deliver his payload to the 'Ruskies' at any cost.

Kubrick's comedy is first and foremost a satire, a comedic warning of the folly of attacking an enemy without provocation and the consequences of such drastic decisions. The film is such a well written and precise piece of work that it still holds up today as an anti-war film. But along with the message comes some of the finest performances from the ensemble cast, led by Peter Sellers is at his career best. Sellers largely improvises three distinct roles- Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Muffley and the mad-cap Dr. Strangelove. Dr. Strangelove comes as close as a film comes to being a perfect comedy. The script, written by Kubrick and Terry Southern is laugh out loud hilarious while still retaining a caustic edge as a response to the nuclear fears of the sixties.

2. Young Frankenstein (1974) - Mel Brooks.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is the grandson of the famous scientist Victor Von Frankenstein. He tries to distance himself from the legacy of his famous relative, to the point of changing the pronunciation of his surname (now pronounced Fronk-en-shteen). When a solicitor finds Dr. Frankenstein, he informs the doctor that he has inherited his family's estate. Frankenstein travels to the estate and finds his grandfather's journal. He then sets about completing his grandfather's great experiment.

Mel Brooks has created some fantastic spoof films. After the brilliant Blazing Saddles, he teamed up once again with Gene Wilder for Young Frankenstein. The film faithfully parodies the classic Frankenstein movies while injecting the script (written largely by Wilder) with the usual Brooks zany humour. The ensemble cast are all fantastic, particularly Marty Feldman as Frankenstein's freaky-looking hunch-backed assistant, Igor and Peter Boyle's Monster, who is hilarious in the 'Puttin' On The Ritz' routine. Add to that one of cinema's great cameos from Gene Hackman, and you've a film that still remains hilarous 33 years after it's initial release.

3. Annie Hall (1977) - Woody Allen.

Alvy Singer is a neurotic, death-obsessed New York stand-up comedian. The film opens with Alvy telling the viewer he has broken up with his girlfriend, Annie and then chronicles the various relationships Alvy has been a part of, including his relationship with Annie. After she leaves New York for a singing career in Hollywood, Alvy resigns himself to the fact that Annie is the love of his life and tries to get her back.

Woody Allen is possibly the only true auteur working in the film industry. In his forty-two years writing and directing movies, Allen has created some classics. But Annie Hall stands out as his greatest work. The film employs a variety of techniques. Alvy often breaks the forth wall and addresses the audience directly, Allen employs split-screen technique and uses subtitles to express characters' real thoughts while in conversation. But it is Allen's script that is the real star of the film. It is immensely autobiographical and honest. And as such, it is full of moments of awkwardness and calamity, but for every awkward moment, there are ten brilliantly-phrased and impeccably timed one-liners. Woody Allen is an institution himself; this is his quintessential work. And the greatest, and most unconventional romantic comedy every made.

4. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) - Rob Reiner.

Marti DiBurghi, a documentarian, chronicles the career of the world's loudest rock band, Spinal Tap. The band, which is led by Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins on guitars and vocals, and Derek Smalls on bass guitar, embark on the US leg of their 'Smell the Glove' tour. Along the way, the band experiences disasters both internal and external, but soldier on, proving the lasting power of heavy metal music.

There's not much that can be said about This Is Spinal Tap that hasn't been said before. But the fact remains, This Is Spinal Tap is the funniest film ever made. Director Rob Reiner and stars, Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel), Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins) and Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls) got a hold of band footage and, taking inspiration, improvised most of the scenes in the film. And the resulting film hit pretty close to the bone, with many professional musicians failing to see the humour. But then, that just proves the genius of the film. The ineptitude and stupidity of all the characters make for some of the funniest moments and most quotable lines in any film ever. After This Is Spinal Tap, Christopher Guest went on to write and direct some fantastic mockumentaries himself (Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, etc). 'It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever,' David St. Hubbins once said. This Is Spinal Tap resides safely on the clever side of the line!

5. The Big Lebowski (1998) - Joel Coen.

Jeffery 'The Dude' Lebowski, a bowling-loving stoner, arrives home to find two goons waiting for him. One of them pees on his rug. The Dude soon finds out the goons were looking for another Jeffrey Lebowski and he sets out to get a replacement for the rug from his millionaire namesake. After stealing one of Lebowski's rugs for himself, The Dude becomes embroiled in a plot involving Lebowski's kidnapped trophy wife, Bunny, Lebowski's artist daughter, and a bunch of German ex-musician nihilists.

The Coen brothers created in The Big Lebowski, a film that is much more than a comedy. It is a homage to the Raymond Chandler style noirs of the forties. The Dude is faced with a plot involving all manner of shady characters and must put the pieces of a puzzle together in order to get what he wants. However, The Dude, and almost every character he is surrounded by are in fact, morons. And it's in this that the film finds it's comedy. Performed by a brilliant cast, including Jeff Bridges as the Dude, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro, every character is both quirky and unique. But it's John Goodman's gun-toting, Vietnam-vet loon, Walter Sobchak who steals the show. The second most quotable film of all time (see entry #4 for the most quotable film), The Big Lebowski isn't perfect. But it is hilarious, and that's all that really matters.

Monday, June 11, 2007

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN (2007) - Steven Soderbergh

Stephen Soderbergh occasionally takes a break from the ultra-serious in order to bring a film of pure entertainment to the cinema. Ocean's Thirteen, the third outing for Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his pals (Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, etc), sees the gang try to bring down the casino belonging to Willie Bank (Al Pacino). One of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff, has been royally screwed over by Bank, and it's up to the gang to hit him where it hurts- his pocket and his pride. Bank's latest casino is having it's gala opening. The new casino showcases the latest in technology, boasting a security system so sophisticated, it is deemed impenetrable. But as we've come to expect, challenges like that have never put off this gang of thieves, and they employ the usual array of gadgetry and cons in order to pull off their latest heist. However, this heist is going to cost them a pretty penny, so they employ the talents (and my talents, I mean cheque-book) of the old enemy, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) who has a vested interest in seeing Bank fail.

Well, there's not much that can be said about this film that isn't going to sound familiar. I must admit, I've never been a fan of this series. After a mediocre first film came a bloated, smug, self-important travesty of a sequel, so I went into this film not expecting very much. Which is probably the best way of approaching it. Just like the casino featured in the film, everything on screen is slick and glossy. Screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien have learned from the mistakes made in Ocean's Twelve, and deliver a much tighter script, doing away with all the extraneous plot lines, and focusing immediately on the task at hand. Soderbergh's direction is perfectly fine. He delivers a film that oozes cool and glamour. Everyone from the previous films is back except for Julia Roberts. This is a film about the boys. And they all slot back into the roles they've become accustomed to with ease.

There's not much else that can be said for Ocean's Thirteen. It's pretty basic stuff, and not particularly groundbreaking. But I guess it's not supposed to be that way! Perfectly acceptable but nothing special.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

*UPDATED* 30 Days of Night...

So here's the poster for the big screen adaptation of Steve Nile's comic book 30 Days Of Night. The story is about a town called Barrow in Alaska which experiences an entire month of darkness. A group of vampires descend on the town for a veritable feast of the townsfolk. But the town's sheriff has different ideas.

I like the way Sony are sticking to the comic-book feel with this poster. With the success of recent comic book movies, it seems that the studios are more in tune with the core audience of these adaptations.
The movie is directed by David Slade, who did a fine job with 2005's Hard Candy, and stars.... Josh Hartnett... okay, so they don't get EVERYTHING right. But it's a pretty good story and should make for a cool little film if it stays faithful to the core material. We'll be seeing this in October (US) and November (UK & Europe) of this year.


Here, courtesy of, is the teaser for 30 Days Of Night.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

JINDABYNE (2006) - Ray Lawrence

Raymond Carver's short story 'So Much Water. So Close To Home' had previously been made into the film Short Cuts by Robert Altman. Now, Australian director, Ray Lawrence has taken the story and transplanted it to Australia in the film Jindabyne.

Jindabyne is a small town in New South Wales in Australia. It's the kind of town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Stewart Kane (Gabriel Byrne), an Irishman, lives in the town with his wife Claire (Laura Linney) and their young son, Tom. While on a fishing trip with three friends, Stewart discovers the body of a young girl, murdered and dumped in the isolated mountain river. Instead of immediately reporting the discovery, the four men continue their fishing trip and report the body to the authorities later. The townspeople are horrified at the actions of the four men. Claire is especially affected by her husband's actions and, against the will of her family and friends, tries to heal the rift between the town of Jindabyne and the aboriginal family the dead girl belonged to.

Jindabyne is a fascinating, morally complex film about what people do to make themselves feel alive and console themselves with actions they have taken in the past. The story focuses mostly on Claire, who, having abandoned Stewart to look after their son in the boy's first eighteen months, is struggling to come to terms not only with her husband's actions, but also the guilt she feels. Laura Linney is brilliant as Claire and plays her with intensity that builds almost to a frenzy as she searches for a way to connect to the dead girl's family. Gabriel Byrne is on top form. It's a difficult part to play. Stewart is clearly affected at the discovery of the body, yet the idyllic setting of the river makes him feel alive when he continues his trip. Then he must deal with the horror and repulsion his wife goes through when the truth of their discovery is revealed.

The script, by Beatrix Christian, for the most part is quite good. There are a few subplots that seem unnecessary, including one about Tom, and his friend Caylin-Calandria, which seemed to me to be the focus of the film in the opening scenes. However, the film is very strong when concentrating on the relationship between Stewart and Claire. Ray Lawrence's direction is excellent, creating a feeling of intimacy between the characters, yet capturing the stunning Australian countryside at the same time. While the film is unsettling, it is a powerful character study and worth investigating.


Monday, June 4, 2007

SERENITY (2005) - Joss Whedon

In 2002, Joss Whedon created Firefly, a television series that crossed sci-fi with a western sensibility. After 14 episodes, Fox dropped the show and left legions of it's fans wanting more. After overwhelming demand, a film was put into production and in 2005, Whedon gave us Serenity.

Serenity takes place 500 years in the future. Folks packed up and left Earth and set up shop in another solar system. After a civil war, the facistic government, the Alliance emerges victorious. The Alliance conducts experiments on psychic humans and one such subject is a seventeen year old girl by the name of River. After breaking her out of the Alliance facility, River's brother, Simon seeks refuge on a ship named Serenity, captained by Malcolm Reynolds. It soon emerges River is carrying a secret the Alliance wants nobody to know. A secret so dangerous, the Alliance sends a cold-blooded assassin known simply as The Operative to track down and retrieve or kill River. Mal and his crew seek refuge while protecting River and her secret, but trouble is thrown at them from all directions.

Serenity is a great, sci-fi adventure movie. Joss Whedon's universe is fully realised and quite detailed as you'd expect from a writer/director who has had an entire television series to create a canvas for the story. I do think that there is something to be said for viewing the series before watching the movie. I myself have done this, so I was quite familiar with the characters when it came to Serenity. That's not to say it's essential. Whedon has been careful enough to create a stand-alone story that wont leave the uninitiated scratching their heads. And the movie delivers exactly what you'd expect from a sci-fi adventure movie. The crew of Serenity are a lovable bunch of rogues.
Mal Reynolds is essentially Han Solo, with the mannerisms and quick wit of the iconic hero. Nathan Fillion is great as Reynolds, and is clearly the heir to Harrison Ford's throne. Veterans from the series, including Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres and Alan Tudyk are completely at ease with their characters and provide a great ensemble. The only major newcomer is Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative. Ejiofor is a great character actor and plays The Operative, a cold and calm murderer excellently.

After three pretty poor Star Wars prequels, Whedon shows George Lucas exactly how to craft a space-adventure film worth a damn. The essential ingredient are characters the audience cares about. Whedon provides plenty of humour in the script, and the action scenes are exciting and never get repetitive. While some have lauded Serenity as the new Star Wars, I think this may be a little premature. It's a far better film than the prequel trilogy, but still doesn't come close to the original movies. However, it's by far one of the better science fiction films of recent times, and when seen with the Firefly television series, makes for one thrilling ride.


Sunday, June 3, 2007


There are a lot of mysteries in this world. Who shot JFK... Did Atlantis exist... and how the hell has the Pirates of the Caribbean garnered so much praise from so many people. I remember walking into a cinema in Brisbane while on holiday way back in 2003 and watching the first movie of this franchise. While mildly entertained by Depp and Rush, I found the whole experience rather tedious. The sequel, Dead Man's Chest was one of the most infuriating film experiences I've ever had to sit through. It was a deplorable mess of a film with characters I despised and a story line that was as logical as Paris Hilton's 'celebrity' status. And now I have witnessed the final film in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End starts of with a sub-Return of the Jedi opening where the 'heroes' have to infiltrate a villain's HQ and get something from him. We have Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) go see Captain Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) about a map to Davy Jones' Locker so they can go retrieve Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Meanwhile, the East Indian Trading Company have teamed up with Davy Jones himself (Bill Nighy) in order to eradicate pirate kind from the world. The heroes go get Jack, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) ends up with Davy Jones and his ilk, the heroes go to Shipwreck Cove for an assembly of the Pirate 'brethren' and everyone meets up for the obligatory final battle. That is the story boiled down to it's very basic elements.

Firstly, writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio must be congratulated. They have managed to create the most absurdly overrated trilogy of all time. The first movie was bad. But it was just bad. It was just a basic story with some impressive special effects. Then they wrote Dead Man's Chest, which introduced a whole slew of storylines and a load of new characters, each with their own plot. It was a terrible, terrible film, but as with most trilogies, the second films almost always tend to be the most difficult to pull off, and thus end up being the weakest (The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II being the exceptions). So it was up to At World's End to tie up loose ends. And here in lies a huge problem. There are so many storylines going on in this film that the majority of the film is spent in exposition. For almost 2 hours, everybody stands around explaining the plot to each other. And for an audience, this is incredibly boring. Adventure films of this kind rely on set-pieces. And yet, the writers have stripped this film of ANY set pieces. There is so much story going on that there is no room for anything exciting to happen and by the time the final confrontation comes along, I found myself not caring what was going to happen and just glad the end was in sight.

And now for the characters. Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack. How this character has become so popular is beyond me. Depp is probably the greatest actor of his generation, yet when playing the dreadlocked drunken coward, he is producing the single worst performance of his illustrious career. And yes, I'm including A Nightmare on Elm Street in that list. Here, he continues his limp-wristed, stumbling, slurring Keith Richards imitation to infuriating lengths, still being a character who exalts cowardice and treachery. For the first forty minutes of this boring epic, Depp is nowhere to be seen, yet once he arrives on screen (with about 20 other Depps at the same time), he immediately becomes annoying. There is no depth to Depp in this film. Yet this may be his last turn as Captain Jack, and this is a great thing. Maybe now Depp can return to doing proper performances in decent films.

And then we have Keira Knightly. For the first two movies, she played the damsel in distress. The first movie saw her scream her way through the whole affair while gushing over her pretty-boy blue collar boyfriend, Will Turner. In the second movie, she became a back-stabbing wench, unable to decide between a drunken letch or a girly RADA graduate. In this movie, they try to pass her off as a pirate. In fact, at one point, she becomes the Pirate King, which I guess would make Will Turner the Pirate Queen. Which is quite fitting as Orlando Bloom is so much of a girl in these movies. Knightly tries to pull off being tough, to the point where she has to deliver a rabble-rousing Braveheart style 'they can take our lives, but not our freedom' speech. Yet she cannot drop the lah-de-dah accent. It is yet another plot contrivance that the crowd listening to her isn't reduced to a giggling mess at this appalling attempt at leadership.

And yet Knightly is not the worst actor in the movie. Oh no. Let us not forget Orlando Bloom. Bloom is, without a doubt, the single worst A-List actor working today. In fact, he is so bad, that I am no longer going to waste any time going on about how utterly devoid of acting talent he is.

Geoffrey Rush and Bill Nighy return as Captain Barbossa and Davy Jones, respectively. To be honest, while I was watching Dead Man's Chest, I noted that the film was really missing something in the absence of Captain Barbossa. When the character did return, I lost patience at how utter stupid a plot contrivance it was. Rush is the only actor in the trilogy who is somewhat believable at being a pirate. But when he's surrounded by such shitty characters, he just gets lost in the mess. Bill Nighy, as Davy Jones, is actually the only interesting thing about these movies. For an actor who is lost under a face full of CGI, he pulls off the film's only notable performance. While Davy Jones' character history and motivations are still a complete mess, Nighy manages to bring enough menace and pain to a character who is essentially a man with an octopus for a head.
The rest of the cast are just the usual mix of cliched adventure stereotypes. You have the grizzled first mate; the idiotic comic relief characters; a stereotypical animal side-kick and a couple of stiff British villains. Truly uninspired writing there, Elliott and Rossio.

Something must be said for the special effects. If there's one thing you cannot fault this film for, it's the visual impact it has.The folks at ILM really are top of their game, and here they prove that. The technical side of the special effects is faultless, and Davy Jones' crew are quite marvelous to look at. Yet, at the same time, there is nothing new about them. In fact, other than more and more plot lines, there is nothing new about this movie at all. The special effects, while technically perfect, have all been seen before. Director Gore Verbinski sure seems to be able to show us shiny CGI, but when it comes to drama and spectacle, he falls flat. The big final battle between the pirates and the East Indian Trading Company builds to the point where you think there's going to be a massive, massive sea battle, but in the end, it's just down to two ships. Every other ship is reduced to being onlookers. It's a build-up that never delivers.

At this point, I've lost interest in saying much more about this series of films. I had a very sneaky suspicion that Gore Verbinski might pull it out of the bag for this movie. Dead Man's Chest was a mess, but it had the difficult task of bridging two movies. This was the chance the director had to pull off quite a coup. Instead, we're left with yet another incoherent, sloppy mess of a film. A film bogged down by an unnecessarily weighty script, characters whose motivations make no sense, performances that are for the most part appalling and a final battle that is absolutely anti-climactic. I really hoped that this would be the end of this rubbish saga. Yet the closing moments leave the film open for another piece of shit sequel. And that, is a sorry state of affairs. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (or At Wit's End) is one of the worst films of the year.