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Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End

8/10

Stars: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Naomie Harris. Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport, Chow-Yun Fat, Tom Hollander, Joanthan Pryce, Mackenzie Crook, Kevin McNally, Lee Arenberg, Stellan Skarsgard

Director: Gore Verbinski

Jerry Bruckheimer’s mighty moneymaking machine makes its third assault on the box-office and it's a guaranteed record breaking blockbuster. All the ingredients that made the previous two swashbucklers hits are back in place, bigger and better than before, topped by Depp’s delightfully fey and foppish buccaneer, here teamed, Stan and Ollie style, to terrific entertaining effect, with Rush’s hilarious take on Robert Newton’s legendarily hammy version of Long John Silver in Treasure Island.

The plot, should you care (you shouldn’t since it’s simply a device on which to hang any number of rousing fights, explosions and splendiferous special effects) has Depp raised from the dead to join the fight against the evil East India Company which, helped by the ghostly Flying Dutchman, is mercilessly killing every corsair in sight. Verbinski drives the incident-filled screenplay from one rousing set piece to the next, Depp delights battling Rush for the acting honours and Knightley matches her lightweight frame with an uncomfortably lightweight performance: hearing her urging pirates to battle is like listening to a third form prefect giving her embarrassing all in the school play.

No matter. What counts are the stunning visuals (the climactic maelstrom makes The Perfect Storm resemble the eddy of an emptying washbasin) and the even more stunning action, topped by Depp and Rush's delicious double act.

Alan Frank

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Buena Vista International. Technicolor.
168 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 22 May 2007