Sunday, May 21, 2017

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

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Movie"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"
Director: Gore Verbinski
Year: 2003
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 23 minutes

Elizabeth Swann, daughter of the governor of Port Royal, is taken captive by a crew of cursed pirates who have mistaken her for the child of a former crew mate. Now, Will Turner, the young blacksmith who is in love with Elizabeth, sets out to rescue her with the help of an unscrupulous pirate named Captain Jack Sparrow.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is directed by Gore Verbinski and is inspired by the very popular Disney theme park ride called Pirates of the Caribbean. It stars Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, a drunkard pirate who lost his ship, The Black Pearl, to a mutanist crew. Joining him are Orlando Bloom, who plays Will Tuner, a blacksmith and son of a former crew member of Sparrow's, and Keira Knightley, the love interest of Will Turner and the daughter of Weatherby Swann, governor of Port Royal, played by Jonathan Pryce. It is when Elizabeth is abducted by Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush, the current captain of The Black Pearl, that Will and Jack reluctantly team up to rescue her, though Jack's reasons are less than noble.

When this movie first came out 14 years ago, we thought, "there's no way Disney can make a good movie based on a theme park ride." It sounded absolutely bonkers! Luckily, Disney and director Gore Verbinski certainly proved us and many, many people wrong by making a fun, exciting, borderline thrilling action adventure ghost story that blends nostalgic elements from the ride with an engaging, swashbuckling story. Johnny Depp puts on a good performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, and was even nominated for an Oscar for his efforts. Over the years, however, the line between Depp himself and Sparrow has become increasingly blurry to the point where they are basically one in the same. The rest of the cast is decent enough, though they are all greatly overshadowed by Depp and have more dramatic moments to rely on, whereas Sparrow is all about adding comedy to an adventure with lots of drama. Another notable standout includes Geoffrey Rush as the boil-infested Barbossa, who boasts a truly stellar makeup job on his person and a nasty disposition in his character.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is by no means a perfect movie. It's very long in the tooth in terms of its pacing and run time. A lot of the dialogue is rather cheesy. Johnny Depp's accent is grating after about 20 minutes. There are some plot holes and other contrived moments, but not so many that they get in the way of the fun to be had. This is a surprising visual treat with numerous fantastic action sequences that look amazing (and still hold up for being nearly 15 years old) and are endlessly entertaining. The characters are mostly likable, even the villains, and it's got some marvelous camera shots and set pieces to make up for Jack Sparrow's overabundance of booze, eyeliner, dopey phrases, and bangles. We have seen this movie numerous and still find it a highly enjoyable blockbuster.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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