Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Director: Gore Verbinski
Written by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Threat: Undead pirates
Weapon of Choice: Sword
Based upon: Disneyland ride
Other movies in this series:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Rish Outfield's reviews
Yo ho, yo ho.
There are good surprises and bad surprises. In my life, the bad ones seem to outnumber the good ones by a lot. But hey, at least I can look back on the good surprise that was Pirates of the Caribbean.
And it really had no right being as good as it was. Has there been a good pirate movie during my lifetime? Well, besides Ice Pirates, I mean. Based on a Disneyland ride, produced by dumb popcorn movie guru Jerry Bruckheimer, coming in a summer of mediocre action flicks with little buzz, and seeming as watered down as a 2a.m. tequila, who could ever have guessed that it would be not only a good movie, but a great one?
When fair maiden Elizabeth Swann accidentally draws the attention of the dreaded pirate ship, The Black Pearl, and its crew of the damned, it's up to dashing blacksmith Will Turner and roguish pirate Jack Sparrow to rescue her. The treacherous Pearl's Captain Barbossa and his crew are cursed--living skeletons who cannot be killed, but believe Elizabeth's blood will lift the curse. Oh, and there's a monkey.
This flick was a real blast. It had nice special effects (some of the skeleton stuff was REALLY cool), and creative, lively characters and fight scenes. It was cleverly written, by the blokes who brought you Aladdin and The Mask of Zorro, with nice dialogue and pretty locales.
Johnny Depp steals every scene with his prancing, fey, uniquely nutty Jack Sparrow character. I don't exaggerate when I say that I've never seen a character like him in a film before. The Lord of the Rings's Orlando Bloom (Will Turner), who seems to have stolen the heart of every girl I work with (and likely my own, if I'm not careful), is likable and not-at-all-threatening. I hope to see him around for a while. Keira Knightley, as Elizabeth Swann, was as lovely and unusual as an exotic flower. Plus, there's a great, meaty performance by Geoffrey Rush (as Captain Barbossa), who appears to be having more fun playing Evil than he ever did playing Good.
Apparently drawing notice for being the first PG-13 rated Disney flick, it was still pretty harmless, rarely violent, and never scary. The writers crafted a brilliant way to ensure the pirates never debauched, drank, tortured, or molested the maiden fair. I guess that would irk some audiences (probably any that are reading this), but not me.
The only negatives I could find in the film were its length (a couple of the fight scenes outstayed their welcome, especially once you knew the pirates couldn't be killed), and the occasionally slightly less-than-rousing score (apparently Alan Silvestri's music was scrapped at the last minute), but neither of those were major enough to annoy me.
But is it a horror movie? Well, not really. But it's good enough for government work. It was a fine film, but more importantly, a FUN film. There were a couple of playful shots that imitated/paid tribute to the ride, and that got a good reaction from the Southern California crowd I saw it with (in fact, people cheered and hollered more for this than for any movie I can recall since the Star Wars re-releases. The fact that it was based on a Disneyland attraction caused tyranist to run screaming from the cinema (his pants well-befouled), but I didn't mind. And neither will you.
Of course, later this year we've got The Haunted Mansion movie. Now THAT'S gonna suck.
The tyranist's thoughts
Long after Rish built this movie up for me I got around to seeing it. You see, I dislike Disneyland. Have since I visited there as a 10 year old. Mind you I was a cynical, misanthropic 10 year old, but I maintain still that Disneyland was built for 6 year olds.
Oddly enough the first of many thrills in this movie for me was seeing Jack Davenport. People had gone on and on about Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Kiera Knightley, but no one had told me Jack was in the movie. I might have seen it sooner if I had known. Not that he was the "star" or that he was even in half the movie. Still, they could have said something. And what about Jonathan Pryce. Is he nobody?
The action was constant and often outrageous. The pirates were nicely done both dead and alive. The plot made sense and was actually coherent. That acting was very fine. I really am having a difficult time thinking of anything I didn't like. About the only detraction I can make is to point out that Nate and Hayes is the greatest pirate film of our (Rish's and mine anyway) lifetimes and is likely to remain so. Still they are talking about Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and I think this time I'm likely to make an effort to see it in the theatre. Even if Jack Davenport isn't in it.
Total Skulls: 9
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|