First, here are some numbers. "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" opens in a record number of theaters: 4,362. The first "Pirates" did $660 million around the world and the second more than $1 billion. The franchise is there. The movie's going to be a hit.
Even though every 15 minutes or so, throughout the film, two characters you'll probably recognize will step out of one of the most stunning visuals you've ever seen and try to explain to each other what's going on.
Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush): What are you doing?
Capt. Sparrow (Johnny Depp): What are you doing?
That's actual dialogue from "Pirates 3" and it completely sums up my reaction to the film's first two hours.
The visuals are stunning, amazing, but there are so many story lines and secret vows and hidden agendas, I had no idea what anybody was doing. And, yes, that's the first two hours (the three in the title might stand for the running time).
"We're good and lost now," Rush's character tells his crew, among them Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom. "For certain you have to be lost to find the places that can't be found."
You won't believe this but in context, in this movie, that actually makes sense.
Rush and his crew are on their way to free Depp from Davey Jones locker so he can take his rightful place as one of the nine Pirate Lords. But we're an hour into the movie before Depp even shows up. And, yep, it's great to see him when he does.
Finally, there's a reason to smile.
Chow Yun Fat plays the pirate king of Singapore. He's a huge martial arts star -- maybe the biggest movie star in the world -- yet, they don't give him a fight scene in "At World's End."
Keith Richards plays Depp's Pop, but he's an absent dad, on-camera for less than two minutes. The studio didn't send a clip, they didn't send a still of Richards in make-up. Mick Jagger gets almost as much screen time as Richards and he's not in the movie at all.
Finally, "X" marks the spot two hours into the movie when they take us smack into the middle of what may be the grandest sea battle ever filmed with a cast of thousands, mile-high waves, sword play, cannons roaring and undersea monsters.
Along with this grand sea battle, the movie also has a wedding between Knightly and Bloom.
Of course, even with the confusing story lines and the time commitment, there's still only one reason to travel to the ends of the earth to see "Pirates 3."
Hint: He wears mascara and he still gets to me.