Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

Bored and Confused

For my money Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End represents everything wrong in contemporary blockbuster cinema and anyone who paid money to go and see is contributing to the decline of western civilization; unfortunately that also includes me resulting in the single most boring, confusing and frustrating movie I ever had the misfortune of viewing and in a movie theatre no less! For beginners, the movie’s opening scene which shows people including children being hanged should act as a metaphor for the next 168 minutes of terror.

A $300 million dollar budget, and for what? Huge CGI battle sequences with characters I couldn’t give a monkeys about fighting each other, well actually I take that back because I don’t even know what they’re fighting about. This movie is like the First World War, nobody knows what it’s all about. I enjoyed the first installment of this franchise was disappointed with the sequel due to its incomprehensible plot but At World’s End goes beyond that. I literally don’t have a clue what is going on. Whose side anyone is on? Who’s that guy? Why are they going to this place? What’s that thing? Even reading the movie’s plot on Wikipedia I can’t get my read around it but then again they did start shooting the film before a script was completed.

While I enjoyed Johnny Depp’s performance in the first two movies here he is, no apologies, annoying; very, very annoying. When we are first introduced to Jack Sparrow in this film it isn’t just one Jack Sparrow, there are dozens of Jack Sparrows and they won’t shut up. Too much a good thing, way too much! One scene which particular aggravated me is when a bunch of characters are sitting around a table debating who knows what and it goes on for an eternity. It’s like 12 Angry Men, except it’s not and there’s only one angry man, me, watching the dam thing. I tend to avoid using the word hate unless I really mean it but few other movies have enraged me as much as this “movie”. I know every movie on the IMDB boards has a topic in which some proclaims it as the worst film they’ve ever seen but Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End really is one of the absolute worst films I’ve ever seen.

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Hot Fuzz (2007)

Proper Action and Sh*t

***This Review Contains Spoilers***

Hot Fuzz is my favourite comedy of the new millennium as well as in my top 5 favourite films of said era. I already thought Shaun of the Dead itself was a perfect film yet Hot Fuzz is even better. There are so many film and pop culture references, inside jokes and foreshadowing ranging from the subtle to the more obvious. Just how long does it take to write a movie this layered? It’s like Bad Boys meets The Vicar of Dibley meets The Wicker Man. British comedy has long been about quality over quantity, just look at the small episode count of British sitcoms or films by Aardman Animations which employee a similar style of humour to Hot Fuzz; there is more comedy in this one film than several Hollywood comedies combined. The pacing and consistency of the jokes in Hot Fuzz are perfect, never is there more than 10 seconds that I’m not laughing. For me, the best laugh was saved until the end when the swan attacks the police officer in the car.

Those moments when Danny (Nick Frost) asks Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) about films he has seen; just how many times have I been in this situation in real life when someone names films one by one (usually junk food films) and when you say you haven’t seen one they keep going onto you about it. Angel himself manages to be a likable character despite his overt political correctness but for me, Timothy Dalton steals the show. He really is one of the last of his kind as a Shakespearean trained actor who can play these types of debonair villains; here he just has the smuggest look on his face.

It’s easy for a film to mock bureaucracy but this seems to be one film which speaks in its favour, then again how many films can make the act of filling out paperwork look exciting. The film’s use of fascism and the concept of “The Greater Good” (the greater good!) as a theme surprisingly is highly thought-provoking.

Hot Fuzz satirizes action movies by being grounded in reality and with Danny’s misconceptions between fantasy and reality yet at the same time also celebrates them. Having an action movie with British police officers, set in a small English town and full of Hollywood action movie tropes; the concept works on so many levels – likely because there doesn’t exist a tradition of cop movies in the UK. Plus having the bad guy’s hideout being an outlet for an actual British supermarket chain is another stroke of brilliance. There’s just something refreshing and satisfying watching these Hollywood clichés spoofed in a British manner. Action movies have never been a favourite genre of mine, especially this brand of shaky cam, fast cut action, but the action scenes here are legitimately edge of your seat thrilling. The film’s use of CGI blood is my only complaint but when a film is this amazing I can look past this one flaw. Thank you, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg for improving the greater good of British cinema (the greater good!).