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


Twas once a skeptic to the quality of the film now am a believer that Disney can still trot out quality films. My Mea Culpa was to assume that even with such a cast as Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp aboard that this would be a stinker, but once more I was wrong. Gore Verbinski who did an excellent directing job in the recent thriller “The Ring” conveys the true spirit of swashbuckling films in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, a film that is very reminiscent of the old Errol Flynn Pirate epics that stunned audiences in the early 1900’s in its truest essence; the swashbuckling film genre is dead only recently being brought to the screen with the bland “Cutthroat Island” a film that had style but little substance.

When a young boy washes up on a military ship and taken in, he’s discovered as a pirate by the feisty young Elizabeth Swanna (Keira Knightley) daughter of Commodore Swann; years later Will Hunter is grown and is a local blacksmith, Swann is now an aristocrat, and sleazy mysterious pirate Jack Sparrow is back on land. After attempting to steal a boat he’s jailed and witnesses a group of pirates ravage the village and kidnap Elizabeth; now he and the young Will Hunter must form an uneasy partnership and journey to save Elizabeth while she must stay alive long enough, engaging in a battle of wits with the evil Captain Barbossa who wants her for mysterious reasons. Johnny Depp gives an excellent scene stealing Oscar nominated performance as the rebel pirate Jack Sparrow, and Geoffrey Rush the evil Captain Barbossa, two men who can act circles around any actor in Hollywood.

Along with these two fine actors are Orlando Bloom who plays gallant, fearless, hero Will Turner, and teen heartthrob Keira Knightley who proves why she’s a looker and can act too. There’s this feeling of magic of adventure that doesn’t often resonate to the audience from the screen and I was excited to discover what might awaited me in this adventure that never eases up. It manages to create style while staying true to the old adventure films of yore. Along with the motif there’s stunning visuals with battleships blazing, villages that are so small but look so large and landscapes that will involve the audience all the way to the ending. There’s also a heaping helpful of well choreographed sword fighting scenes for the movie lover to feast on. We get an old fashioned swashbuckling film of the old days, a genre that needs much re-generating and this might be the film to bring it back from the grave.

Also, look for small but great roles from Jack Davenport from “Coupling” as Commodore Norrington and Mackenzie Crook from “The Office” who plays google eyed sailor Ragetti. By the time we’ve seen all the exploits of Jack Sparrow we’ve had enough by the second hour, but “Pirates of the Caribbean” tends to go on way too long. Maybe if they’d cut about fifteen minutes this would have been tolerable, but it continues even after the final plot resolution has been finished. “Pirates of the Caribbean” takes you back the good ol’ days of Errol Flynn, and this brought me way back. Entertaining, exciting, and engrossing with a genuine feel of adventure along with excellent performances, this is truly worth watching.