Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though a few minor concerns emerged, this largely became a strong presentation.
For the most part, sharpness satisfied. Some low-light shots could seem a little soft, but the majority of the flick looked accurate and well-defined.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and edge haloes were minimal. Happily, print flaws appeared totally absent, as I noticed no specks, grit or other defects.
Like the second film, End opted for a heavy teal orientation, with some amber/orange tossed in as well. These choices became goofy due to their intensity, but the Blu-ray replicated them as intended.
Given the atmosphere of the movie, blacks became more important, and the disc presented nicely rich and dense dark tones. Shadows were good. They caused some distractions in the prior flicks, but here they looked clean and smooth. I felt pleased with this largely positive presentation.
No complaints accompanied the excellent Uncompressed 5.1 soundtrack of End, as the soundfield was wonderfully dynamic and involving. The various channels presented a surfeit of information that blended together with great clarity and smoothness.
All elements seemed placed accurately within the environment, and these components moved neatly across and between the speakers. This helped create a good sense of place and made the action all the more engrossing.
Lots of action sequences brought out the strengths in the soundfield. The battles at sea added the best moments, but plenty of other elements stood out as strong. These used the surrounds well and created a lively, immersive piece.
I also found the audio quality to live up to high standards. Speech came across as firm and natural, and I noticed no edginess.
Music occasionally risked getting submerged beneath all the action, but the score remained bright and dynamic nonetheless, as the mix depicted these components vividly. Of course, the effects remained the stars of the show, and they appeared well displayed.
The different elements sounded distinctive and clean, with no distortion or other issues. Dynamic range was excellent, and low-end seemed superb. Overall, I felt quite pleased with the audio.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio seemed a bit warmer and fuller, while visuals looked tighter and more dynamic. Though the DVD worked fine for the format, the Blu-ray improved on it.
The first Pirates included two audio commentaries. The Chest disc presented one. In this downward spiral, we get none for End.
That means we find little on Disc One. Bloopers of the Caribbean is a five-minute, 21-second compilation of antics from the set. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here, as we get lots of goofs and guffaws.
Disc One opens with ads for National Treasure: Book of Secrets, The Game Plan and Cars.
Moving to Disc Two, we open with some featurettes. Keith and the Captain: On Set with Johnny and the Rock Legend goes for four minutes, 41 seconds as it offers shots from the set, movie clips, and interviews.
We hear from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, guitar maker Danny Ferrington and actors Johnny Depp and Keith Richards. They tell us how they got Keith to play Jack’s father and reveal a few tidbits from the shoot.
The level of information seems insubstantial, as most of it falls into the “Keith rules!” category. However, it’s fun to see him on the set, especially when he – inevitably – botches his lines.
Another featurette follows with the 19-minute and 30-second Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom. It presents remarks from Bruckheimer, Depp, director Gore Verbinski, executive producers Bruce Hendricks, Mike Stenson and Chad Oman, writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott, special effects supervisor John Frazier, director of photography Dariusz Wolski, production assistant Nicole Matteson, unit production manager Douglas Merrifield, visual effects supervisors Roger Guyett and John Knoll, special effects gimbal foreman Jim Thomas, chief lighting technician Rafael E. Sanchez, stunt coordinator George Marshall Ruge, ILM animation supervisor Hal Hickel, compositing supervisor Eddie Pasquarello, Maelstrom water effects supervisor Joakim Arnesson, digital production supervisor David Meny, and actors Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Bill Nighy.
“Anatomy” looks at all of the challenges that went into the creation of the film’s climactic scene. We learn about the sets, the effects, the action, and other concerns.
While we get some good details along the way, too much of the show focuses on impressing us with the enormity of the project. Despite those elements, there’s enough worthwhile content to make this one worth a look.
Next comes the four-minute, 48-second The Tale of the Many Jacks. This piece discusses the creation of the scenes with multiple Depps. We hear from Elliott, Rossio, Depp, Wolski, Bruckheimer, first AD David Venghaus, editors Stephen Rivkin and Craig Wood, costume designer Penny Rose, and production designer Rick Heinrichs.
They go over the effects and other issues that came with the shots that included duplicate Captain Jacks. Short but sweet, this piece gets into the topics well and proves both interesting and informative.
Two Deleted Scenes go for a total of two minutes, 26 seconds. These include “I Like Riddles” (0:56) and “Two Captains, One Ship” (1:30).
The first one features Pintel and Ragetti and acts to set up the later scene when he solves a riddle. The second shows the rivalry between Barbossa and Sparrow.
Neither is necessary, though “Riddles” probably would’ve added more to the film. We don’t need “Ship” since the various films long ago set up the conflicts between those guys.
We can watch these with or without commentary from Verbinski. He gives us a little background for the sequences and lets us know why he cut them. Verbinski’s short remarks add value.
With that we return to the featurettes. The World of Chow Yun-Fat fills four minutes, 14 seconds with comments from Bruckheimer, Bloom, Ruge, and actors Chow Yun-Fat and Reggie Lee.
We learn a little about Chow’s working methods, but mostly the piece discusses his greatness. It doesn’t bring much to the table.
The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer lasts 10 minutes, 31 seconds, and includes Bruckheimer, Wood, Rivkin and composer Zimmer.
We find info about the musical themes found in the movie. Zimmer dominates as he gives us a nice glimpse of his work for End.
We get a collection of featurettes under the banner of Masters of Design. This area features “James Byrkit: Sao Feng’s Map” (6:18), “Crash McCreery: The Cursed Crew” (5:23), “Rick Heinrichs: Singapore” (5:13), “Penny Rose: Teague’s Costume” (3:37) and “Kris Peck: The Code Book” (5:20).
We hear from Heinrichs, Rose, property master Kris Peck, conceptual consultant James Byrkit, creature designer Crash McCreery, and standby painter AJ Leonardi, Jr. Each looks at various production specifics.
The shows cover the design and implementation of Sao Feng’s map, the creation of Davy Jones and his freaky shipmates, the Singapore set, Captain Teague’s costume, and the making of the Pirates Code book.
The different featurettes approach their topics in a limited way, by which I mean that they focus on subjects more specific than “visual effects” or “set design”.
I like that micro approach to the material, as the tightness of the focus allows the programs to dig into their subjects in a dynamic manner. These turn into a series of good pieces.
Next we find the four-minute, 41-second Hoist the Colours. It presents notes from Zimmer as it looks at the opening sequence and its song. The show offers a decent look at this subject, especially as it examines the tune’s development.
Finally, we locate an interactive feature called Inside the Brethren Court. After a 55-second video introduction, we can select the various Pieces of Eight and learn about the different Pirate Lords. It’s a fun way to get a little more information about these personalities since the movie doesn’t tell us much about them.
The original Pirates of the Caribbean remains the best, but that doesn’t mean At World’s End doesn’t do well for itself. Despite some weak storytelling and an excessive running time, it manages to entertain. The Blu-ray offers solid picture and audio as well as a pretty good collection of supplements. This becomes a nice release for an enjoyable flick.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of AT WORLD'S END