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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) – Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Poster

Written by: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, based on a story by Stuart Beattie, Elliott, Rossio & Jay Wolpert, which was based in turn on the Walt Disney theme park ride
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Pryce

My Advice: Matinee.

Will Turner (Bloom) has had an interesting life. As a young boy, he was spared from the ocean by Governor Swann (Pryce) and his daughter after the ship he was travelling on had been kagged by pirates. He’s grown up to become the apprentice who actually knows more about smithy than the actual smith, and also to have a tremendous thing for the girl who spotted him and had him pulled from the sea–who has grown up to be Natalie Portman clone Keira Knightley. Trouble is, he is seen as an apprentice smith and beneath the governor’s daughter. Instead, the new commodore (Jack Davenport) is seen as a better suitor. Ah, but there’s a snag you see: Knightley, whose character name is actually Elizabeth, took a gold amulet from around Will’s neck after his rescue. She’s kept it all these years and through circumstances beyond her control, it sends out a call…one that will bring a cadre of cursed pirates out of legend and after her hide.

[ad#longpost]Finally, Disney does something smart, although maybe I’m giving them too much credit. They were responsible for this fun trip, but hey, they did Country Bears as well, so who knows? Whether it was Diz or Bruckheimer, I cannot say at this point. However, knowing that a movie based on a theme park ride was going to be scoffed at, they went for legitimacy quickly. They did this in the form of Johnny Depp (whose mannerisms as Captain Jack Sparrow were only second fiddle to Bloom’s parody of them), Academy Award Winner and Needcoffee fave Geoffrey Rush, and hunk of the moment Orlando Bloom. Depp and Rush try to outchew scenery together and Bloom can actually act without a bow in his hand, so there’s good news all around.

Because the point of the matter is this: it’s a freaking pirate movie, okay? And to simplify things, it’s a Bruckheimer pirate movie, so brain is not required–although it won’t be offended at what’s presented. The story makes sense, and sure, there’s a couple of questions at the very end–but they don’t nag. Bonus: there are actually some nice twists to be had, but it meets the prerequisites of what you want to see: high sails, cannonfire, and a further bonus: zombie pirates. It doesn’t take itself seriously for a moment, so there’s no need for you to either. On the screen or in the park, it’s just a ride–so relax.

Granted, it has a ways to go before it breaks even, but it’s something we’ve been lacking at the cinema for a while now: pure fun. So a franchise wouldn’t be terribly disruptive to our collective karma. Matinee is perfectly acceptable, but see it on the big screen for the full buckling of the swash.

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