Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Starring:
Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley
Directed By:
Gore Verbinski
Grade
A-

I won't kid you - when I first heard that Disney was making a pirate movie based off of their theme park ride, I had a few choice words about their apparent lack of good judgment. But, once I heard that Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush were going to be involved and the Gore Verbinski (The Ring) was going to direct, I thought I'd at least give it a chance. And with the movie being a Bruckheimer production, there was sure to be a few explosions thrown in for good measure.

The story revolves around a cursed pirate ship by the name of the Black Pearl. The crew took and spent a cursed fortune of Aztec gold which caused them to become the living dead. To remove the curse, they commence pillaging ports and ships to locate the final pieces of the treasure. The final piece of the fortune is in the hands of Elizabeth Swann (Knightly), who took it from blacksmith Will Turner (Bloom) when he was a boy. When Elizabeth is captured, Will enlists the aid of pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) to aid him in rescuing the maiden.

The greatest strength of the story is that it is just fun to experience. Enough care has been given to make the characters charming, engaging and all-around enjoyable. Yes, there may be more than a few pirate clichés thrown in for good measure, but the bulk of the story and script are written well and deliver a funny, action-packed adventure with more than enough twists and turns to keep you paying attention. Acting is all-around well done, especially with two over-the-top performances by Depp and Rush. Depp's sly Captain Jack Sparrow is just a blast to watch as he seems to be a really bad pirate who just manages to do things right.

The all-around production for the film is superbly done. Everything from the lush cinematics, aided by fine set and costume design, to the sharply executed effects for the pirates gives a grand life to the story. While most of the pirates are grimy, salty and in dire need of hygiene assistance, the cast always keeps a light heart about the story and the way it's delivered.

My only real complaint would be about the pacing of the movie. For the most part, everything goes well, but some of the scenes are just overly long. Most notably is the fight sequence between Jack and Barbossa (Rush), which tends to drag on way too long. About halfway through, it becomes evident that it's a showcase for the special effects rather than an essential part of the story. Also, the ending is a little too squeaky clean and convenient for my tastes. But, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised as this is a Disney movie.

When it's all said and done, Pirates of the Caribbean is a fun adventure that is sure to be one of the best summer flicks to see this year. It has all the components to make a compelling film that's never too overly stressful in it's telling. You can just go, watch and have a great time with this film.

- - Vane

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