Ansen: 'Pirates' Stinks Then Sinks

I knew I was in for a long night when Johnny Depp finally makes his appearance in the third—and let us pray final—installment of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." Depp, as Jack Sparrow, is residing in Davy Jones's locker—i.e., he's dead—where he is the solitary captain of a landlocked Black Pearl, and subject to hallucinations. In his visions, every crew member looks like Johnny Depp, and in fact is Johnny Depp, but if you think that 10 versions of the scene-stealing star will increase your enjoyment tenfold, think again. Sparrow, I am sorry to say, does not get one explosive laugh in the entire 168 minutes of this loud, cluttered and confusing sequel. More is not merrier.

The plot is not only hard to follow, there seems to be nothing real at stake. Half the characters are already dead, and half the movie seems to involve swordfights with dead people who can't be killed with swords. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley expended their chemistry in the first, and best, "Pirates"; by now their love story is running on dead batteries. One gets a brief flicker of hope when Keith Richards shows up as Jack's well-weathered dad, but he's given almost nothing to do. The longest, grimmest and least funny of the trilogy, "At World's End" is best rationalized by the odiously corporate Lord Beckett, whose East India Trading company threatens to end the colorful world of piracy. His villainy, he insists, "isn't personal. It's just business." Indeed.