Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Old Hat

"I don't get it." Johnny Depp's Capt. Jack Sparrow about the tradition of throwing hats in celebration

I don't get it either, the hysteria about the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy?it's old hat by now. The computer graphics have always been eye-catching, the makeup charmingly realistic, and the actors about as good as you get in film. I just tire of Johnny Depp imitating Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow, a gender bending hero for our summers.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, everyone, including Elizabeth (Kira Knightly) is headed for Pirate Brethren Court in Singapore, where they must prepare for a great battle with the evil British Empire or become extinct, not a possibility as long as a lucrative film empire can continue to steal admissions from a willing audience.

Although I think of the franchise as child's fare, the opening sequence of a child being hanged with a bunch of greasy street characters singing a dirge on an elaborate gallows makes me realize this film is not easy to categorize. It can be creative, albeit macabre. But that is the opening sequence; thereafter the film stretches for freshness.

That lack of definition carries for me right from Dead Man's Chest, where the only consistency is Depp's Sparrow. His erratically fey swishbuckler is old hat by now, his speech so eccentric that subtitles might not be a bad idea, exceeded only by Naomie Harris as a garbling, black-toothed oracle, who might as well be talking to the wind for all she can be understood. The cameo by Keith Richard as Jack's dissolute dad (it doesn't fall far from the tree) just isn't the kick I had hoped, and not just because he can't be understood.

Kira Knightly's Elizabeth remains the only character with good teeth, and Orlando Bloom's Will Turner, her main man, is more mature and more likeably able than ever. Bill Nighy's Davy Jones, still breathing through his spore and badly in need of a facial, has nothing new to add to the fun except as the jailer of Sparrow and ruler of a most chaotic kingdom under the sea.

Jack Sparrow may next travel to the fountain of youth, where I hope he'll pick up some aqua vitae for the franchise.