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Friday April 12th 2024

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End | 2007

Pirates Of The Caribbean, At World's End location: Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
Pirates Of The Caribbean, At World's End location: a shipful of Jack Sparrows stranded in ‘Davy Jones’s Locker’: Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah | Photograph: wikimedia / Promking

Cannily, many scenes for ...At World’s End were shot during the filming of ...Dead Man’s Chest, so the two films share a few locations.

Interiors were filmed at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, where the port of ‘Singapore’ – including the harbour, stilt houses and the bathhouse – was constructed atop a vast water tank on Stage 12.

And, as before, seagoing scenes with the Black Pearl were shared between the tank on Grand Bahama, and the waters off of San Pedro and Redondo Beach, California.

The film also returns to the main ‘Tortuga’ set in Wallilabou Bay, on the island of St Vincent in the West Indies, though only for a short scene toward the end of the film.

It’s back to Dominica for the ominous approach to ‘Shipwreck Island’, which was filmed at Capucin Point, on the northwesterly tip of the island.

Over on the northeastern coast of Dominica, Londonderry Bay provided the black sand beach where Jack's crew lands, and finds the remains of the dead Kraken.

When the pirates and the forces of the East India company meet up for a ‘parlay’ – and the film briefly pays homage to Sergio Leone – the tiny sand spit is south of White Cay in The Exumas, where the ...Dead Man’s Chest was buried in the previous film.

A decidedly water-free location is ‘Davy Jones’s Locker’, the bleached-out desert where a whole shipload of jack Sparrows are stranded in an arid limbo.

This spot is ten miles into the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, famous as the site of rocket-powered land vehicles setting all kinds of speed records.

Covering over 30,000 acres or 45 square miles, the Salt Flats were formed when the ancient Lake Bonneville receded and evaporation left large concentrations of dissolved minerals deposited in surrounding soils.

Although the layers that form the salt flats are almost five feet thick near the center, the crust can be only an inch or two at the edges. Take care when visiting – these outer edges become brown mud flats which can be hazardous. Once on the salt flats themselves, you’re very much on your own – remember there are no facilities or signs.

The Salt Flats, across which Will Smith dragged the unconscious alien in Independence Day, are 120 miles west of Salt Lake City. There’s a 3.5 mile access road north from I-80 before you reach the state border of town of Wendover.

The sand dunes, over which the army of crabs carries the stranded Black Pearl to the shore, are the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes, on the Central Coast of California, in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

In 1923, the Dunes were the location for Cecil B DeMille's silent version of The Ten Commandments. This was long before the strict environmental rules that now govern filming, and the sets were not entirely removed but buried in the sand. They’re starting to peek through the dunes and, amazingly, the 90-year-old remains have now become an archaeological site in their own right.

For the climactic Maelstrom – the apocalyptic battle between the pirate and the East India Company armadas that takes place in a supernaturally-induced storm – the filmmakers needed to find a space large enough to contain full-sized replicas (from the decks up) of both the Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman.

They ended up at Building #703 of a facility called Site 9, 2825 East Avenue P in Palmdale, California. A 600-foot-long, 300-foot-wide and 70-foot-tall hangar built in 1983 by Rockwell International for the assembly of 100 B-1 bombers, it had previously housed the vast airport set for Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal.

A couple of second unit images include the ‘Frozen Ocean’, filled with icebergs and glaciers that the crew sails through to find ‘Davy Jones' Locker’, which was filmed in Greenland; and, if you needed a waterfall to provide a basis for the digitally rendered edge of the world, where could be better than Niagara Falls?

There’s a coda in Hawaii, as Elizabeth and Will take their leave of each other for ten years at Pohaku Mauliuli Beach off Liu Place in Maunaloa, on the northwest tip of Molokai, one of the smaller islands in the center of the Hawaiian chain. The beach is overlooked by the large cinder cone of Pohaku Mauliuli – ‘black rock’ in the Hawaiian language – which is quite crumbly and loose in places, so it’s probably best to avoid the base of the hill.

See also:
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides