Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
Great action films need great covers, and I really think that while this delivers. It has the crew above a nice shot of two ships fighting to avoid going over the falls. Looks good, and it works. The menus are the tried and true navigation theme that was present in the first two films, so there can be no complaint here. This is the third installment, so why start getting crazy now?
The special edition is a two-disk set, and the second disk is full of extras. Some highlights include a short piece about Keith Richards, and his involvement in the film. It was interesting to see Richards in the film, as Johnny Depp based his portrayal of Jack Sparrow in part on the guitar legend. There are also other shorts that deal with everything from the composer of the music for the film to the new cast member chow Yun-Fat. There are also shorts about the design of the film, as well as various other extras. All in all I found them quite entertaining, and the fact that they were really “shorts” (with about a five minute average) made them easy to watch. I did find it a bit strange that there was no commentary track for the film, but since this is the third installment, perhaps there just wasn’t enough to say without rehashing the old. I can’t finish a review of the extras without mentioning the bloopers reel, which seems to be a regular on the Pirates’ releases. The bloopers short is always put together in such a great way for these films that for some reason I actually like watching them over and over. You have to love it when someone screws up and can laugh about it.
The Blu-Ray version comes with all the extras that the standard DVD contains only in beautiful HD, and a exclusive Java-BD feature “Enter The Maelstrom” this feature takes you into the production of the amazing end sequence of the film. Through a variety of interactive cues you learn about the entire production of the breathtaking scene. Its not as cool as the games that were included on the first two HD releases, but its a nice feature to have.
So this last Jack Sparrow film clocks in at almost 3 hours. It is chock full of action and plot twists, as well as a great deal of Johnny Depp and the gang giving inspired performances as the group of scallywags that you love to love. This is, after all, the third film in the series, so it is much of the same. Much of the same is good.
The story involves our beloved crew trying to rescue the dead Captain Jack from Davey Jones’ locker. Captain Jack is needed as one of the nine pirate kings, who are to meet and hopefully form an alliance against Lord Beckett and “the Company” who are hell bent on ridding the seas of the pirates for good. The nine pirate kings must be rounded up from the four corners of the world, in order to take on the corrupt Beckett, who has control over Davey Jones and his ship the Flying Dutchman.
There are a lot of subplots flying around, and the final battle between the two sides is epic. Overall this was a fun ride, and a nice ending to the trilogy. I couldn’t help but feel like this was a bit slapped together at the last minute, but it actually worked. It absolutely did not feel like the film was close to 3 hours long.
Again the acting was good, and seeing Johnny Depp drunkenly dance through this last film was great, if not somewhat sad, just for the fact that this is one of Depp’s most memorable characters, and he won’t return. For Depp never seems to be too much of a fan of sequels, so it has been interesting seeing him turn into the type of recurring character that has his own action figure (wonder what the old Johnny Depp would say about that?!) Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom are both smart and solid, as are the rest of the crew.
Overall this was a fun journey, and it is obvious why this was such a blockbuster film. Who doesn’t love pirates?
Video & Audio: (By Squiddy & Ascully): 9/10
The video on this non-HD release was incredible. I often times find myself wondering if we really need HD at all, but then snap to my senses and move on. That being said, this film looked amazing, and is a great visual ride. The effects are sharp and while this would (of course) look even better in HD, the regular DVD is amazing.
As for the sound, I have to say that while it sounded great, they only included 5.1 surround, and not DTS or Dolby Digital ES or ES. For most people this is not an issue, but I would have thought more choices would have been available. Having said that, it sounded amazing on my 5.1 system.
The Blu-Ray release of the movie fits in nicely alongside the previous two movies released in the summer, the transfer utilizing the VC1 codec to the max is superb, with a nice contrast between dark and light. The battle near the end which is completely covered in digital rain and mighty waves looks incredible, we all know how hard watery scenes are on digital compression but the VC1 codec handles it all flawlessly at a very high bit rate. Chalk this one down to another showcase disc from the Disney camp, here’s to many more me heartys.
This film is a fun finish to the trilogy, and it is hard not to say that this one should be added to your collection, especially if you own the others. I would imagine at some point there will be a box set that will no doubt have extra goodies not included in the original disks, but there is enough here to recommend buying this for your DVD collection.
Overall Score 8/10