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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) by Gore Verbinski (Dir.)
Review by Charles Mohapel
Walt Disney Pictures DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B00005JPFX
Date: 03 January 2008 List Price $34.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies At World's End is now out on DVD. Charles Mohapel reviews the Two-Disc Collector's Edition.

Keith & the Captain: On Set with Johnny Depp and the Rock Legend:
Johnny Depp relates how when Keith Richards showed up to play Captain Teague, people who hadn't been on any Pirates set in years showed up for a glimpse of the rock legend. During this featurette you can see the quick rapport between the two superstars as they are deferential to each other in their respective fields.

Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom:
Described as the "Biggest Action Sequence Ever Attempted", the Maelstrom was filmed on a set inside a warehouse in Palmdale, California, one so gigantic it had horizontal drop-off. Funny but when you watch the featurette, it looks a lot like an aircraft hangar, possibly one that formerly belonged to Boeing (they still have a plant in Palmdale). When I saw the set on screen, it was so incredibly huge that I had to catch my breath and replay the feature.

In the featurette they say that the two gimbals used to rock "The Black Pearl" and "The Flying Dutchman" are the biggest ever built for the film industry and that each ship weighs as much as a Boeing 747. The hydraulics used to make both ships pitch and roll as if they were in rough seas require an incredible 1,000 US gallons (3,785.4 liters) per minute, 10 times normal for the industry.

This scene required the services of 150 welders working around the clock and used over 2,000 feet of hydraulic hoses as well as over 1 million pounds of steel. It is said that they used the most lights ever for a 700 foot by 700 foot square: 1,400 space lights.

Taking eight weeks to shoot this scene alone, director Gore Verbinski likes to get as much as possible in camera and only then using SF/X to finish the scene. The torrential rain they created was sometimes so heavy that it obscured the bluescreen they were using as a background.

Verbinski's background as an SF/X supervisor means that he is a stickler when it comes to work that he doesn't consider up to his standards, but the advantage he has is that when he speaks to the SF/X supervisor at Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic, they speak a common language and their ease of communication makes their jobs that much easier. The ILM SF/X supervisor said that with over 2,000 SF/X shots in POTC 3, virtually everyone at ILM was working on this film, the first time this had happened since "The Return Of The Jedi" (and ILM was much smaller back then).

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer says, "The success of a picture is because of the enormous amount of people who work very hard on it. It's not easy to do -- when it's done well, it looks easy."

What exceeds "mind boggling"? I don't know, but this featurette literally gave me goosebumps of excitement!

Tale Of The Many Jacks:
Here we see that Johnny Depp had the challenging task of keeping the different Jacks separate in his mind. You can see how Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp had so much fun coming up with vignettes for this scene. They even built a giant dreadlock set for the scene where a tiny Good Jack is on the right shoulder of Captain Jack while a tiny Bad Jack is on his left shoulder, each one advising the man-sized Captain Jack on what they think he should do.

Deleted Scenes:
When it comes to Deleted Scenes, my two favorites were "Riddles" and "Two Captains, One Ship".

In "Riddles" Gore Verbinski uses Pintel and Rigetti as a Greek chorus, providing clarity, but it was cut because it slowed down the story.

"Two Captains, One Ship" showcases both Captain Jack and Captain Barbossa trying to determine which of them is the Alpha Male, but portrayed with an Odd Couple dynamic where they try to outdo each other with oversized telescopes. The hilarious scene where they are seen fighting over the wheel is the seafaring equivalent of two brothers fighting over the TV remote.

The World of Chow Yun-Fat:
This segment informs us that Chow Yun-Fat brought his own personal stunt double from Hong Kong and we see that they have their own unique style of working, one that has led to Chow Yun-Fat being the biggest star in all of China, and by extension in the entire world. Chow Yun-Fat is a consummate professional with a fantastic work ethic paired with a great sense of humor. While I was not surprised to see that he has a great personality, I was surprised to learn that he is a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer:
We hear Hans Zimmer tell the camera that he wrote over an hour of new music for Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End. I was surprised when he said he worries until the orchestra has played his music for the first time, dreading that it is unplayable until he gets positive feedback from the musicians.

Zimmer likes the Avid electronic equipment because it allows him to begin working before the end of filming, and permits a much smoother work flow with Gore Verbinski and the music editors. Here we learn that Zimmer has previously worked with Verbinski on Mouse Hunt, Weatherman, and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and they have styles that mesh well.

When Verbinski is shown playing a pretty good guitar solo for Zimmer, their roles are reversed and it is now Zimmer who is the director.

This featurette has several still photos taken by Verbinski and I'm tempted to call him a Renaissance man of many talents.

Masters Of Design:
Highlighting the fantastic talents of James Byrkit (Conceptual Consultant), Crash McCreery (Creature Designer), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer for POTC 2 and POTC 3), Penny Rose (Costume Designer), and Kris Peck (Property Manager), this is one of my favourite segments. Leave this screen on for a few seconds before clicking onto one of the five options and watch the amusing little trick the DVD's creators included.

James Byrkit guides us through the design and construction of Sao Feng's Map, also known as the Chinese Allegory Map. Since paper would curl very quickly due to high humidity, the map was made of brass. It has a center section surrounded by five concentric rings that move independently of each other, but due to superb design, any two adjacent rings can move and create an image integral to the story. "Do Not Try This At Home".

Crash McCreery's segment on "The Cursed Crew" is a fascinating look into the creation of so many unique sailors on board "The Flying Dutchman".

Rick Heinrichs guides us through his amazing vision of Singapore in the late 17th – early 18th century when it was the crossroads of Asia and featured Indonesian, Chinese, and Malaysian influences.

In "Teague's Costume", Penny Rose talks about how she visualized Captain Jack as a working pirate while Captain Teague was an aristocratic, stay-at-home pirate. Keith Richards chose a navy blue silk Damask coat with lots of embroidery, but when the director didn't like the color, Penny Rose got a friend at the Paris Flea Market to send a box of old silk Damask curtains. Three sets of red curtains were transformed into three identical costumes, but another problem reared its ugly head. The costumes were too orangy red and had to be dyed to a cooler bluish red. The original embroidery pattern was then scanned and used to digitally embroider it onto the new red uniforms.

Kris Peck tells how he created the Pirate Codex (the Pirate Code Book) using an actual wooden book covered in leather, bound with leather straps, and secured with a solid-looking period lock. When the initial version was not big enough, Peck enlarged it to the point where the massive tome now had 1,000 pages and weighed about 80 pounds (36.3 kg.). When it proved too heavy for Keith Richards to manipulate by Take 2, the book was hollowed out to save a lot of weight.

Hoist The Colours:
This short features Hans Zimmer and Gore Verbinski. Zimmer relates how he was in London working on Batman Begins and Verbinski was at home in LA. Verbinski called Zimmer and they used iChat to collaborate on this piece of music, Verbinski with his guitar and Zimmer with a small piano.

Inside The Brethren Court:
Here we learn the history of "The Brethren Court", the governing body of the pirate world, as well as the stories of the nine pieces of eight, which are actually not coins but rather distinctive tokens, each with a fascinating and funny story. Finding these stories is the challenge the viewer faces.

We also learn that Jack Sparrow has the Desiderata tattooed on his arms, chest, and back.

Finally, there are some Easter Eggs for the finding, but to discover how many there are and where they're located, you'll just have to buy the DVD set and look for them yourself.

You don't have to have watched Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, but if you don't, you won't get the full effect of Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and you'll miss a lot of the references and running gags.

While the single-disc version is good, the Two-Disc Limited Edition is vastly better, and the third, bonus disc is the best of all.

If you haven't already bought your copy and you don't want to run out to buy it now, online shopping is the way to go.

I plan on watching all three discs again, but this time I won't be taking copious notes. Enjoy.

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