Prepare to be blown out of the water.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Gore Verbinski, written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. The film is based on the Pirates of the Caribbean roller coaster ride at Walt Disney World. It stars Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush. It was nominated for Best Actor (Depp), Best Makeup, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects, winning none of those. This is the first film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. It was followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
"This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow." -Captain Jack Sparrow
After Captain Jack Sparrow appears at Port Royale and is immediately arrested, the legendary Black Pearl appears and captures the daughter of the governor, who possesses a coin that links to an ancient curse that keeps the pirates of the Black Pearl not completely alive and not completely dead. Sparrow joins forces with young blacksmith Will Turner to stop the pirates of the Black Pearl from terrorizing anymore towns.
The first thing I have is Johnny Depp. Jack Sparrow is truly one of the greatest characters of all time, and, in this movie at least, Johnny Depp plays him to perfection. He got nominated for Best Actor, and rightfully so. He is absolutely fabulous and it is so fun to watch him just take the spotlight. He is such a charming and likable character and Depp makes sure that that is amplified by one hundred with his performance.
The story is very fun. They make a fun fantasy plot that works very well. There aren't many movies about pirates, and Disney has a pretty good track record with all of the Peter Pan stuff. They make a very adventurous and enjoyable film. It feels like an exciting version of all of these pirate legends and obviously pulls together all of the stuff that's in the roller coaster. It's a movie that shouldn't work, but it does.
The characters are all fun and likable. Obviously, the lead of the characters is Sparrow, who I've already touched on a little bit. He is so much fun to watch and the screen always lights up when he is on the screen. Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner have the usual love story that is found in Disney movies, but it is so interesting with the setting of the sea and the pirates. Hector Barbossa is a good villain. He has a great backstory and it makes sense that Jack Sparrow would want to get revenge. He is gross and they make sure that you hate him. Geoffrey Rush is very exciting and energetic, and he nails this role.
I think that the directors and actors and producers all just wanted to make sure that the audience had fun. They knew that this wasn't going to be an Oscar-nominated film and it wasn't going to even be a huge film, like Jurassic Park or Titanic had been around that time. It's the lowest-grossing film in the series, but it is probably still considered the best. The cast & crew just had fun with the movie. It's a relaxed, fun, funny movie that is great for everybody. That is really the main reason that it works.
Lastly, Hans Zimmer's score is fantastic. It captures the tone and enjoyment of the film perfectly. The Pirates theme is a classic, and it is used in great fashion here.
The first thing that I've got here is the rest of the acting. I think that Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom were not very good. They clearly felt like actors playing characters. I would look at Will Turner and see Orlando Bloom. I would look at Elizabeth Swann and see Keira Knightley. That isn't how it is with Jack Sparrow or Hector Barbossa. Bloom and Knightley just feel like they weren't giving it their all, and that was disappointing.
The effects in this film are very dated. They may have been good for 2003, but that was seventeen years ago. They don't look good at all, and they appear a lot. It is mainly the crew of the Black Pearl as skeletons that looked bad, especially in that final sequence.
The final thing is that this movie does feel a little bit overstuffed. They had the main plot line about the Black Pearl capturing Elizabeth, but they had a lot of subplots. There was the romance between Will and Elizabeth, the government trying to find her, Jack trying to get revenge, the Black Pearl trying to lift the curse. This is a very fun film, but there's a lot to take in and a lot to fit into a Disney movie about pirates.
Despite some bad acting and a lot of extra storylines, this movie has a good main plot, an Oscar-nominated actor, and great characters.
I will give it a Savory rating. Age range is 7+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)
Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"
Fun Factor: 9/10
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Released on July 9, 2003
Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, scary images, thematic elements
2 hours and 23 minutes
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush as Hector Barbossa
Orlando Bloom as Will Turner
Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport as James Norrington
Jonathan Pryce as Governor Weatherby Swann