Arrgh, this is one, long, pirate movie, me laddies.

At 2 hours and 35 minutes, plus another 10 if you stay for the credits, and you should, me matey, because there is a coda, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is a long keelhaul for ordinary mortals and children with overactive bladders.

Arrgh, this is one, long, pirate movie, me laddies.

At 2 hours and 35 minutes, plus another 10 if you stay for the credits, and you should, me matey, because there is a coda, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is a long keelhaul for ordinary mortals and children with overactive bladders. If some of the zing has gone out of pirating, I’d still rather hoist the colors with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) than with the denizens of Spidey’s New York City or Shrek’s Far Far Away.


    Why? Because when you get down to it, it’s not the special effects, the explosions-per-minute or the hype that matters.


It’s the actors, and when you get past the tattoos, scars, skin rashes, blooming noses, crustaceous eruptions and rotted flesh, this scurvy-looking crew is pound-for-pound the best in any modern franchise. Even Keith Richards takes to acting like an old salt (and I mean old). On this outing, pirates and their friends are dancing the hempen jig, thanks to the hissable Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), Captain of the Endeavor.


Will and Elizabeth are in Asia securing a crew and a ship from Singapore pirate Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat with shaved head, fu manchu facial hair and crosshatching scars) in order to seek Jack Sparrow. Jack was swallowed by the Kraken at the end of the previous installment and has been trapped in Davy Jones’ Locker, a place suggesting a piratical version of “Being John Malkovich.” Will and Elizabeth need Jack and the Black Pearl to thwart Becket and his otherwordly ally, the “tentaclely” Davy Jones, Captain of the ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman.


Jones’ marvelous, metamorphosing crew is back, too, including Will’s ensorcelled father “Bootstrap” Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgard), Hammerhead and a guy whose head has a tail.


Among the film several pleasures is Jack’s vocabulary, the most colorful and evocative in mainstream moviedom. I dare you not to be tickled when he refers to a crew of Sparrow doppelgangers as “feculent maggots” or to his enemies as “traitorous codpieces.” As this adventure’s “distressing damsel,” Knightley has a face that launched a thousand sighs and an absolute knockout wardrobe of Asian pirate outfits.


I prefer the second “Pirates” to this one slightly, in part because Davy Jones and his crew were a genuine inspiration and the action more inspired and comedic, although a new scene in which Jack asks his dad about his mum is amusingly ghastly.


Why almost 3 hours? “At World’s End” has plot, plot and more plot, much of it about people plotting. At times, it’s more like “At Wit’s End.” But as far as CGI spectacles go, no one does a better maelstrom than series’ director Gore Verbinski.


In the supporting cast, Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Cook continue to provide first-rate comic relief; Naomie Harris has a great “Attack of the 50 Ft. Voodoo Priestess” moment, and don’t forget the animals, especially, the monkey.


“Is it planned or does he make it up as he goes along?” someone asks of Jack Sparrow. The same might be said about these pirate movies. But shiver me timbers, I like ‘em.


 

(Rated PG-13. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” contains strong violence


and gory imagery)