As the pirate-king father of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), he says almost nothing and is on screen mere minutes. Yet his presence amongst a gathering of sea thieves smacks of the real thing and supplies a much-needed anchor to the out-of-control sea-sawing plotlines. While no moss grows on Stone Richards (other than in his ornamented hair), there's plenty in the story, which is far too confusing for a movie based on a Disneyland theme park ride.
Multiple subplots about false alliances, ghosts, lost love and a dead man's chest are setups for the colorful cast, ultimately stolen by the Rolling Stone. We have Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), searching for his undead dad and a romantic consummation with pretty tomboy Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley); Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), a seafaring Lazarus wanting a ship to command: Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), who briefly loses his tentacled countenance when the source of his heartbreak is revealed; and Chinese pirate crazy Sao Feng ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's" Chow Yun-Fat), smitten with Swann enough to appoint her to his leadership position on his dying day. Throughout it all, Captain Sparrow wrestles with his conscience, so the versatile Depp can act with alter egos, i.e., himself.
The muddled expositions lead to a spectacular effects feast, where a raging battle between two ships is staged as the vessels descend down a maelstrom. Somewhere in all this, Captain Barbossa performs marital rites on Turner and Swann during a swashbuckling swordfight.
"At the World's End" is worth checking out, unless the rocking and rolling of "Pirates of the Caribbean" plotlines are making you seasick.