Pirates of the Caribbean: At Wit's End

I find it very thoughtful of the people at Disney to ask film critics not to reveal the plot of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Thoughtful because I doubt if a single critic, myself included, has any idea what the plot is, not just of this installment but the previous two, and their request gives us an excuse not to have to try to explain it. In fact, I suspect that not even the people at Disney or the filmmakers themselves could summarize the story. Instead of a narrative in the classical sense it is an arbitrary series of crises, of tension and release, of inconsequential entanglement and resolution that is ultimately static, circular and repetitive, a vastly elaborated variation on the basic structure it is derived from, the amusement park ride. The film’s genius is not so much in the narrative, but  in the individual episodes, the baroque sight gags, the effects and the visual tropes along the way, worthy of silent comedy classics or surrealist reveries, but if word leaked out about that, “Pirates of the Caribbean” might reach the franchise’s end.

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