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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

A 2003 movie, based on the the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney theme parks.

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Surprisingly Delightful!

  • Jul 8, 2009
Rating:
+4
In 2003 when Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl first came out, it was hard not to be a little skeptical.  In the first place, it was based off of a themepark ride.  "Is Disney really drawing ideas from a theme park ride?" I wondered.  When I first heard this, my thought was that it must've been a joke.  I told friends and family alike that this couldn't be a good idea for a movie.  It's somewhat cheesy title didn't help much either.  So when I actually went into the theater to see it with a few friends, I was prepared for a relatively bad movie.  But as I sat and watched, I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a fun, well written, hilarious film.  I enjoyed it so much I ended up sitting in a theater to see it three times.  I'm not one to go back to the theater to see a film.  There have only been a few I've done that with.  Those Star Wars Special Editions in 1997, The Lion King and recently The Dark Knight.  I'm not a movie snob per se.  Actually it just comes from how expensive it is to go to the movie theater in this day and age.

But I digress.

Pirates of the Caribbean turned out to be a rather fun movie.  And the perfect movie to go and see during the summer.



The movie begins in a flashback.  A little girl named Elizabeth Swan, sees a boy in the water.  Her father, along with help, decides to pull him on board.  His name is Will Turner, and how he came to be a drift at sea ends up being shortly explained when the party sees a ship that's been burned down and wrecked.  Everyone thinks they know what it is: Pirates.  No one really catches a glimpse of the ship departing, however, except for Elizabeth.  Top this off with that she's found Will holding a medallion.  He must also be a pirate.

Elizabeth then wakes up, eight years later, in her own bed and her father is coming in to give her a dress.  Norrington is about to be promoted to Commodore, and Elizabeth's father is going to to be there to see the festivities.  Downstairs, Will Turner, now a man (and played by Orlando Bloom who is essentially playing Legolas all over again) has crafted a sword for Norrington.  And he's an expert craftsman.  Of course, throughout the years he's come to develop feelings for Elizabeth, but it doesn't appear he'll ever get to realize them.

As Elizabeth heads off to the ceremony, the movie introduces us to real star of the movie.  His name is Jack Sparrow, a rogue pirate who is coming into Port Royal on a boat that is already sinking.  Jack Sparrow provides the most fun of the film by far.  As he arrives his boat has just about sunk.  While he pays the shillings to keep his boat at port, the man who charged him doesn't realize that Jack has taken off with his coin purse. 

During the ceremony, Elizabeth is wearing Will's medal and at the same time, a very tight corset.  As the ceremony commences, Jack is busy getting ready to commondere a ship. 

Shortly after the ceremony, Norrington proposes to Elizabeth, calling her a "fine woman," (not in the "Damn you fine!" sense, mind you).  Except she falls over the balcony and into the waters below.  Luckily for her, Jack Sparrow happens to be there and dives in to save her.  Despite being a hero, however, Norrington is prepare to take Jack in.  It is here where we can see how the screenplay comes alive and breathes.  In the exchange Norrington takes a look at Jack's effects, "No additional shot nor power," he says holding up Jack's gun.  Then he takes a look at the compas.  "A compass that doesn't point north."  Then he takes a look at the dagger, surprised.  "And I half expected it to be made of wood.  You are without doubt the worst pirate I've ever heard of."  It is here when Jack raises his hands to say, "But you have heard of me."  It's such a witty and natural response, and it's quite funny.  It is truly when the movie comes alive.  Jack is then able to escape and go to the blacksmith shop where he duels with Legolas (I mean Will Turner) and is eventually captured through a spot of luck on the actual owner's part.

The plot of the whole film finally comes to fruition shortly after this.  Port Royal is attacked by pirates after that Medallion.  Elizabeth mistakes the pirates to coming after her because she's the Governor's daughter.  So she gives them the name Elizabeth Turner.  This, unfortunately happens to be her mistake as it's a "Turner" they need.  They take her hostage.  Will decides he needs to save her, and because these pirates knew Jack, he enlist the help of the pirate.  They get a crew together to go and save Elizabeth.  

It is what we learn of the pirates that makes the movie slightly more interesting.  They've been cursed.  By moonlight they are the walking undead--skeletons and all.  They want to be real again, and it requires this trinket Elizabeth is carrying.  It is one of 882 identical pieces.  All of which must be returned to the chest and the blood repayed.  It is why they have no sense to be killing Elizabeth... yet, that is.  The curse will be lifted upon the last piece finally being returned to the chest.  What they do not realize is that they have the wrong blood to be repayed.  From here the movie becomes a quest for not just the medallion, but also asking the questions of when piracy is an acceptible course.

There haven't been a lot of good pirate movies to come out of hollywood.  It is part of what makes Pirates of the Caribbean so nice.  It actually is a good pirate movie, that has a lot of clever and witty dialog in there.  Most of the exchanges come off as especially natural.  Particularly from Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp.  And Depp does perhaps the best job of the entire cast.  Orlando Bloom is essentially playing Legolas all over again.  But he hardly makes his character interesting enough.  Depp provides the movie with what have otherwise been some much needed fun, as Orlando's character is so serious... and the movie is about him.  Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Swan is also nice, but like Orlando brings a lot more seriousness than fun.  But let's be clear: There's nothing wrong with that serious nature.  But in a movie like this you expect to have a bit of fun.  Most of it is provided by Depp as Sparrow, but a great deal is also provided by Geoffrey Rush, who does just as a good a job as Depp.  Sometimes better.  He's a charasmatic villain.  A very likable one.  If he weren't the bad guy you'd love to have him on your side (I know I know, there are two more movies).  He brings a lot of life to the movie as well.  It is Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush as their prospective characters that bring the film to life.

That's not to say Pirates of the Caribbean is perfect.  There's a lot to the movie.  It's not a hard movie to follow, but there are a ton of things thrown into the mix.  So yes, it is a little long.  But it's mostly the battles that make it that way.  The ship battle about halfway through is long.  As is the pirates assault on Port Royal.  It's strange to say, but the most fun of the movie are the dialog exchanges between many of the characters.  Particularly when Jack Sparrow is present.  The sword fight near the end is a lot of fun, though, as it is a good exchange between Jack and Barbosa. 

There aren't too many big twists throughout the movie, but what ones you get are fun.  In short, as you watch, it's just a lot of fun.  But it also has a nice, simple story thrown in there.  It's a little long but at least it all comes together.  Also, if you stay after the credits, there's a little extra scene thrown in there. 

Of all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the first one remains the best.  Not just because it was fresh, but because it was the movie which got everything we loved about the franchise so nice and fun to be with.  There were two other films released, but neither one was able to really touch the grandness of the first film.

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August 30, 2010
Oh, yeah...you have the arrgghh BADGE LOL! Nice one, Sean!
 
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More Pirates of the Caribbean: The ... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie changed my mind about pirate action movies.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
this movie is amazing! i loved everything about it. the costumes, the casting, the filming setting it was all great! it makes you really believe that its all real. and the fact that the entire concept is based off of a ride is even cooler.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
this whole series is fantastic i love the first one especially
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Johnny Depp makes this movie set apart from any other pirate action movie.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
this movie has a wonderful ending. i think that the charater of jack was played wonderfuly
review by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I was skeptical when I first heard that Disney was making a movie based on the Pirates of Caribbean ride in Disney. However, this series has exceeded all expectations. It's a funny, swashbuckling adventure. The plot is basically an excuse to give the pirates as much screentime as possible, but it works well enough and has enough suspense to keep viewers entertained. Johnny Depp really carries the movies as Captain Jack Sparrow, the witty, amoral pirate captain. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly are …
Quick Tip by . June 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Hands down one of the best movies of the 21st century. Johnny Depp is unbelievable. The sequels, however....not so much.
Quick Tip by . December 30, 2009
Surprisingly, a very enjoyable film, mainly due to wonderful performances by Johnny Depp & Geoffrey Rush. Keira Knightley's not bad either!
review by . October 22, 2006
Starting in the late 1990's, Disney's theatrical releases gradually lost the popularity and stature they once held. Outside of Pixar, Disney could not come up with the big blockbusters that they used to produce on an annual basis. Then came 2003 and the Pirates of the Caribbean. Coming out around the 4th of July weekend, this movie combines all the essential elements needed for a great movie: good acting, a setting few can ever experience, grand action scenes, unique dialog, hair raising adventure, …
review by . July 18, 2006
This film is a pirate movie in true Monkey Island style. In case you've never played that game it means lot of fun, crazy pirates, a beautiful lady and a bunch of zombie like pirates. I must congratulate the people who did this film. To make a movie based on a theme park ride is pretty risky. And the fact that it is positively excellent amazes me, and credit is due to the filmmakers. I'm impressed.    This film is a thrill ride, an action adventure of the classic formula; a dumb …
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #6
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Loosely inspired by the time-honored Disney theme-park ride, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL is a swashbuckling high-seas tale directed by Gore Verbinski. When Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), an eccentric rogue, arrives at Port Royal, he barely avoids going down with his ship. Soon enough, he's in the market for a new one, but not before he saves the life of Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the beautiful daughter of the governor (Jonathan Pryce). This act of bravery sets into motion a sweeping adventure involving Elizabeth's childhood friend, blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom); a mysterious medallion; and a legendary pirate ship, the Black Pearl. The Pearl's mottled Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) wants Elizabeth's doubloon necklace, and when she's kidnapped by the ol' salty dog and his crew, Sparrow and young Will must rescue her and find out the truth behind the ship's curse.

Verbinski's PIRATES is a welcome throwback to Hollywood offerings of yesteryear, fi...
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Details

Director: Gore Verbinski
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: July 9, 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2003
Runtime: 143 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
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