If you were to tell me three years ago that the second sequel to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was going to be one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, I’d have told you that you were crazy. Pirates barely sounded like it had enough draw for one movie, let alone an entire franchise with three existing chapters and talk of more on the horizon.

Adapting the famous Disney Parks ride “Pirates of the Caribbean” into a movie was one of the brainy movements of previous Disney CEO Michael Eisner. For many, it was the latest in a long string of bad decisions. Direct to video sequels to classic movies started the list and adaptations of Pirates, The Haunted Mansion, and Country Bear Jamboree was towards the bottom. Two of those adaptations proved fans right (you don’t exactly see people clamoring for more Bears or another Eddie Murphy jaunte through Gracey Manor). The third blew us out of the water for one main reason: Captain Jack Sparrow.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jack Sparrow never should have worked. Every time I watch that first film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl I’m reminded of how far fetched Johnny Depp’s Glam-Pirate character is. Prancing around with mascara and a definitely feminine side, the character broke the mold for pirates. This wasn’t the rough and tumble type everyone expected. It was, however, exactly what Disney needed for success.

Let’s face it – without Sparrow there wouldn’t be much of a franchise. We’ve all seen Orlando Bloom swing a sword to varying levels of success. Keira Knightly had long since proven she was anything but the damsel in distress prior to the role of Elizabeth Swan. There was nothing original about either of the other leads, but Captain Jack Sparrow – the worst pirate anyone had ever heard of (but at least we had heard of) was what we wanted more of. Disney, of course, was more than happy to acquiesce to our request – that means yes – more movies were forthcoming.

Dead Man’s Chest, the second film in the franchise, let some fans down. Instead of continuing the swashbuckling adventures of the first film, the movie expanded on the mythos of Disney’s pirate world, but with a warning: the time for pirates is coming to an end, dooming characters like Jack Sparrow. Of course, nobody seems to have told Jack, leading to another grand adventure. Personally, I found the sequel as exhilarating as the first movie, albeit a tad bit slower, although I know I wasn’t in the majority.

Already word is coming that, while Sparrow is still the draw for the franchise, he isn’t completely the character to see in the newly arrived At World’s End - that’s relatively understandable since the character was meeting a grisly and untimely death the last time we saw him (no matter how heroic it looked on screen, being eaten by a giant beasty should qualify as a grisly death). Much like the character’s beloved ship, the Black Pearl, it would appear Jack’s screen time might be stolen out from him by his own former first mate.

Adventure on the high seas awaits and, assuming At World’s End performs admirably, this may not be the last we see of Disney’s pirates or Captain Jack Sparrow. The film does have a new record to take on however: the previous weekend record held by Dead Man’s Chest was just broken a few weeks ago by that pesky web slinger. Does Jack and the rest of his crew have what it takes to regain the upper hand? Let’s just say they’ll use every tool at their disposal, including an earlier “sneak preview” slot on Thursday and a holiday weekend to try. Unfair? Pirate!

Grab your sword and liar’s dice and climb aboard for another adventure with Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan, and Captain Jack Sparrow. Here’s our complete guide to everything you’ll need to set your course for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End:

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Reviewed
"Big personalities rule these seven seas, and the biggest of those personalities is of course Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. But At World’s End proves that while his place in piracy may be the biggest, it’s not necessarily the most important. Pirates 3 is better than Pirates 2 for one, very good reason: Forget Captain Jack, Captain Barbossa is back!"

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Discuss It! - See the movie and then discuss it with other moviegoers here.

Bowling for Box Office - At World's End Edition! - Give your predictions of how well the third Pirates flick will fare at the box office.

At World's End Image Gallery - Check out our gallery of charismatic pirates from the film.

At World's End Videos - See Pirates plunder, swashbuckle, and tease the film in our gallery of moving images from the film.

Captain Jack Sparrow pops into our Top 5 Johnny Depp Characters list - Is the worst pirate we've ever heard of the best role Johnny Depp has ever played?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
"The centerpiece of a successful Pirates movie must be Johnny Depp, and he’s back doing his drunken, rock and roll pirate thing. Jack is actually less interesting this time around. He’s not doing anything new, simply repeating the performance we’ve seen already. Well not exactly. He’s less of a scoundrel, probably because he’s too busy flailing his arms around and running to get down to good old-fashioned skullduggery. That’s the story for most of the movie, beloved characters from Curse of the Black Pearl running around being chased, trampled, and rolled down hills. Where the last movie had piracy, fencing, gun battles, and drunken singing; Dead Man’s Chest has CGI beasties and lots of screaming."

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
"None of it would be worth a damn without the freakishly mad performance of Johnny Depp. Orlando Bloom is a nice actor, and bears an almost uncanny resemblance to the late Errol Flynn. His Will Turner, who I assume is supposed to be the main character, is interesting, and Bloom is particularly fun to watch when he's swashbuckling. He really has a flair for it, and once Lord of the Rings is done, I'd love to see him try and pick up where the great Errol Flynn left off. But his character is limited, he isn't given a lot to do, and next to Depp's Sparrow he's almost a straight man. Keira Knightly is stunningly beautiful and just devestatingly hard to watch without instantly falling in love. She has a particularly giddy scene with Jack Sparrow on a beach involving several bottles of rum which made the little freakazoid inside me fall completely in love. But it is Depp who drives this thing and it is HIS character who commands the screen, even in the face of a particularly intimidating performance from Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbosa of the Black Pearl."

Johnny Depp

Secret Window
"Rainey is not the first character brought to life beyond anything we could expect on a page by Johnny Depp. In the past Depp has created a creature with scissors as hands, a man in the pursuit of the most elusive serial killer of all time, and the worst pirate anyone has ever seen. Rainey is not as over the top or outgoing as any of those other characters (although his out of control hair is close at times). He is simply a man, a writer, trying to struggle through life. "

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
"Depp's take on [Willy Wonka] leaves Wonka as something of a statue who stands around looking sick. When he speaks, it's as if he's a robot being run by remote at the hands of an Oompa Loompa with Down's syndrome. He's not just creepy, he's stupid, and none of the genius of the character we've known and loved in book and on film is to be found."

Finding Neverland
"Johnny Depp is always brilliant, even in a bunch of bad films. Yet it is only when he’s great in a great movie that he gets some notoriety from it. That’ll no doubt be the case this November when Finding Neverland opens. Depp dons a Scottish brogue, (which really sounds more Irish) in this endeavor and there isn’t one moment when you doubt his character. He loses himself in every role and shakes off the “movie star” moniker that other actors like Tom Cruise can never seem get around."

"Luckily, Depp deftly (depply?) holds things together. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I can watch this boy pick his nose for 90 minutes and be fascinated. It doesn't matter how poorly his part is written, or how bad his surrounding are, Johnny Depp will always be the glue of a film. I can't think of a single film that doesn't benefit from his presence."

Keira Knightley

Bend it Like Beckham
"Both Nagra and star-in-the-making Knightley are also stunningly beautiful which means your eyes will never leave the screen even in the few duller moments."

Pride & Prejudice
"Knightley copes well in the part, bringing life to the only interesting one of the Bennet siblings. While that wacky grin that she can’t seem to keep from her face for much of the movie occasionally gets a little grating, she centers what is going on around her, which could otherwise have teetered between too stuffy (the verbose talky scenes) or too silly (Whenever Mrs. Bennet is on-screen)"

"I’ll claw off my ears if I have to sit through another second of Keira’s droning, endless narration. "

The Jacket
"Brody and Knightley strike an interesting chemistry, the best I’ve seen between Keira and any other actor. "

Orlando Bloom

"Bloom isn’t just good as Drew Baylor, he is at times fantastic, and frankly it’s a surprise how much this young, heavily marketed actor’s skills have taken a big step forward. He doesn’t talk much, except through narration. Instead Crowe uses Bloom’s rather expressive face to make Drew the kind of guy who walks through a world of other, more dynamic characters and finds himself reacting to and changed by them."

"Orlando Bloom is perfect as the silly boy who watches his country as it's destroyed because he couldn’t keep it in his pants-er, under his skirt."

Kingdom of Heaven
"Bloom’s Balian barely says a dozen words in the first fifteen to twenty minutes of the film, so it’s hard to get in his head."

"Orlando Bloom redeems himself for Elizabethtown with the jilted character Shy"

Tell us what you think about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End when you see it.

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