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I am nearly fifty years old. A sober grown man. With children. Children
with whom I have now sat through hundreds of movies. Many of which I
have enjoyed. And I am not completely hardened in my sophistication.
The opening music to The Lion King brought tears to my eyes when my
little ones were but wee tots. But still, these are after all just
children's movies. In another life, I would never have seen them. And,
really, one can't take such movies too seriously, can one?
And so, this summer, after the ritual badgering, I dutifully trudged into yet another Disney "adventure" movie. Named after that tired old ride in Anaheim I first went on in 1965. I mean really, how much can you expect?
And then, it happened. The swirling intoxication. The stunned feeling. What? Who? How? Was this a movie? Or a religious experience? Perhaps more like an addictive experience...
I cannot remember ever willingly paying to see any movie not starring a relative of mine more than twice, and I can count those movies on one hand. I have now seen "Pirates" four times. The only thing keeping me from seeing it again is the sense that this whole thing is just getting out of hand. I cannot get enough of it. It's like walking into a painting that you never want to come back out of. My children ask, with a note of concern in their voices, "Dad, you really like Pirates of the Caribbean a lot, don't you?"
And that Depp fellow. My God. I never had any idea who he was, but his name sounded like something created for a pubescent cover-boy for magazines published to hook thirteen year-old girls on make-up and bad music. Wasn't Depp the name of some hair-goo product back in the 60s?
I am a straight male. I have several good friends who are gay, but have never fantasized about any gender but the female. But now I understand how women can experience swooning crushes on male film stars. He is simply extraordinary. So sly, so seductive, so canny! I read an interview in which Depp said he went through a slight depression when he had to stop playing Captain Jack Sparrow. I can see why. His inventiveness and sheer pleasure in inhabiting the character come through in every frame. How can I admit to my children that I now troll through fan websites about a former teen heart-throb?
I often don't even watch the Academy Awards, and I certainly never have any emotional investment in who wins.
Except for this year.
And, in a time when many big-budget movies are little more than a hodge-podge of loosely- connected "money shots" this movie puts all the pieces together, with a sense of fun and light-heartedness in special effects that are simply dazzling. I find myself laughing with dizzy appreciation when Barbossa barks out, "You'd best be believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner, you're in one!" and the grinning skeletons come into view, with Badelt's pounding score keeping time to the beat of their maniacal deck-swabbing. And then there's the scene of the pirate-ghouls slithering up from the darkened sea on the mooring cables of the Dauntless, like infernal cats stalking their prey.
And now to the music. I can just hear the effete aesthetes dismissing this score, as Mr. Zimmerman anticipates with his winking "overproduced by" credit on the cover-liner. "Bombastic." "Overdone." "Absurdly Stupendous."
Well, perhaps it is, for those who spend their lives evaluating such things. To me, it is absolutely transporting. I first listened to it while doing a work-out on a rowing machine and found that I tripled my usual distance. It was like mainlining some hazardous tachycardic amphetamine.
Once again, the children were wondering, "What's up with Daddy? Is he OK?"
Perhaps I am just losing my grip, having an adolescent movie get to me this way. But when those final credits roll, and Captain Jack narrows his eyes and says, "Now, bring me that horizon. Drink up me hearties, yo ho" and the music swells ... it is difficult to put into words the effect it has.
At this point my children have to yank me forcibly from the theater, lest I persist in watching the credits to the bitter end, and bid good-bye to the little monkey once more, wiping tears of exultation from my eyes.
This is not just another "entry" in the summer blockbust sweepstakes. It is an exquisite work of fantasy and inventiveness, a true classic, on the order of "The Wizard of Oz." I do hope Depp's performance garners not just awards, but a place in the pantheon, something we old fogies -- and our gently fogeying children decades hence -- will show to our children and grandchildren like a revealed treasure. I cannot recall any movie having such an effect on me.
A damn good movie. One of the best of 2003 in my view.
This movie made me laugh, and it really pulled me in.
At first I was afraid this would be another bad Pirate movie. I went to see it anyway, as I've always loved the legends of pirates, and I love adventure. I saw it once. Then twice. Then Quadrupul. Then six times. And one more 7. And now I eagerly wait for the DVD in Australia.
What i'm saying is I couldn't get enough of this movie. It was so well done.
Johnny Depp was hilarious a Jack Sparrow, and acted like a true Pirate. His obsessive drinking antics, and his walk really brought out this chaqracter. Plus he made character we could all love and enjoy, that deserves an Oscar in my view.
Geoffrey Rush played Barbosa the bad guy. Who turned out to be quite a good bad guy in my view. He showed real potential, and I loved the way how he manipulated people.
Keira Knightley plays Elizabeth, the governor's daughter. Prisoner of the Pirates. She is quite momorable in this role, and is a great jump for her evergrowing popularity.
Orlando Bloom plays Will Turner. A simple blacksmith, who is also a well trained swordsman. Who is in hot pursuit of saving Elizabeth from the Pirates.
The more memorable thing about this though is the curse. A well thought out curse. That can always lead to sequel or a prequel. You'll see what I mean when you watch it.
The story is based on these Pirates who happen to be cursed, and they want to rid the curse. To do that they need the blood of a pirate, not just any pirate but the son of Bill Turner- William Turner. Mistaken for Bill Turner's child the pirates Capture Elizabeth, and take her hostage, while William teams up with a Rogue pirate, Jack Sparrow, who is on a streak for revenge against Barbosa. While all at the same time are being chased by the british fleet.
A great adventure. Well played swordfighting. Great laughs. Great music. And great story. Pirates are back in my good book.
Although I had expectations ( from watching the trailers ) that this
might be a good movie, I was still surprised that it's as good as it
is. The story is actually more complex than I had expected, involving
cursed pirates and their quest to rid themselves of the curse. I won't
say more than that so as not to spoil it if you haven't seen it.
There aren't as many action scenes as I had thought there would be in a pirate movie, but the ones that are in the movie were very fun and enjoyable. After seeing it, I think it had the right balance of action and drama. There are also, of course, a lot of funny bits interspersed between the action and drama. Some really good special effects also add to the enjoyment of this movie.
I wasn't much of a fan of Johnny Depp until I saw this movie. I think he deserved to win the Academy Award for best actor. It's largely because of his performance, IMO, that the movie was so good. Most of the supporting cast did well, mind you, just that Johnny Depp stood high above the rest. I did find Orlando Bloom's performance a bit wooden, but other than that the acting was good.
Basically, it's a really fun movie and I'd give it about 8 out of 10
Disney seemed to be going down the tubes lately, with Atlantis and Home on the Range, but this movie is a masterpiece. If it wasn't for this movie, Johnny Depp wouldn't be as famous as he is today. Every scene with him or Geoffery Rush is brilliant. The movie is very crisp and the shots of the islands are breathtaking. Definitely a movie worth picking up at Blockbuster or even better, buying ( I don't buy DVDs often but this was one of them). The characters are thought out very well and plot is excellent. The script is one of the main stars of the film itself, every line that seems to come out of Sparrow or Barbossa's mouth or any of the other cast is original. If you like action films you'll love this, if you like comedy you'll love this, actually, this movie is great for everyone (except small kids, who may get frightened by the skeleton scenes). 10/10
You will always remember this as the movie that made Johnny Depp a
superstar and almost got him an Oscar.The fact that he didn't win isn't
a problem,since thanks to him this is the best pirate film ever made.
The opening concept is a clichè:a beautiful woman(Keira Knightley)is kidnapped by a bunch of filthy pirates(led by Geoffrey Rush's Barbossa)and the man(Orlando Bloom)who's desperately in love with her decides to track them down.From now on,things get unexpected,as he asks another pirate for help.And it's no ordinary pirate:it's Captain Jack Sparrow(Johnny Depp),a lying,cheating,but charismatic scumbag,the hardest man on Earth to predict,not to mention quite unlucky and clumsy("You are,with no doubt,the worst pirate I've ever heard of" "But you HAVE heard of me!").
It's got all the elements of a classic pirate movie,elements that would give this flick a 9/10.
So,why am I giving it a 10/10? The answer is simple:Captain Jack.From the moment he makes his entrance,justly included in the Empire Top 10 Entrances of all time,we know he's the reason people will keep watching the movie.He 's Depp's best non-Tim Burton-character ever,and I can't wait 'til he returns.
See you next summer,Captain!
This is a fantastic movie full action, adventure, humor and a hell of a
lot more! The film is 2 hours and 40 minutes long, but that time flies
by as you are transported into an awesome world of swashbuckling and
Johnny Depp's performance is one of his best ever as the slightly camp Captain Jack Sparrow. Even under his tangle of hair and blackened eyes, he will make you swoon and laugh both at the same time with his tonnes of witty lines and mannerisms. Orlando Bloom plays the love struck son of a pirate, Will Turner and play him he does! This roll highlights the diversity and skill shown by some of the greats. We will definitely see big things from him in years to come. In her second roll in big time flick, Kira Knightley plays kidnapped Govener's daughter, Elizabeth Swan. She is also another young, up and coming star with a bright future ahead of her.
The film may not be the most historically accurate pirate film of all times but all that is forgotten as you enjoy the brilliance of this marvelous movie. Did I also catch a subtle omage to the 1953 swashbuckler 'The Crimson Pirate' when Will and Jack walk underwater in an upturned rowing boat? Sneaky!
The only negative thing I have to say, and believe me I don't want to say it, is that fact we are never told the reason why the curse of the black pearl could only be broken by the blood of William Turner (Senior) and in turn by his son. Despite this plot flaw however, Pirates of the Caribbean is a magical journey that will drop the jaws of parents, children and grandparents alike. I'm definitely buying it when it come out on DVD!
"Even I love Johnny Depp, and I'm male," a previous reviewer declares, tongue in cheek. Well, I wouldn't go quite that far, but there's no doubt whatsoever that when I lost my heart to this film, Johnny Depp's outrageous Cap'n Jack Sparrow had almost everything to do with it. I don't normally review 'current' films, so the very fact that I'm writing this highlights an almost unprecedented event - after endless failures, Hollywood has finally rediscovered the spirit of the classic swashbuckler movie.
With hindsight, I think the one brilliant decision that was made at some point - given a modern production environment - was to *separate the roles* of hero and swashbuckler. You can then have your worthy Costner-type juvenile lead, as required, who has to Come To Terms with his Past (although his eventual fate is a trifle unexpected in conventional terms...) - *but* you can also have your essential and irrepressible swaggering rogue (of course, he totally steals the film from the moment he first appears, but *that's* no hardship!)
The moonlight special effects were overdone, in my opinion - not that they aren't believable, but that they would have been more effective if used more sparingly, for occasional flashes of nastiness rather than solid minutes of battle. However, that's a minor niggle. The stunts are energetic, highly satisfactory, *not* computerised, and on occasion even carried out by the stars :-)
The other saving grace of the production is its humour - not that there aren't a few over-arch knowing references, but on the whole it manages to send itself up without suspending disbelief in the process. Jack Sparrow's first arrival on the scene (with total aplomb aboard a steadily-sinking boat) is a prime example, as indeed are the vast majority of subsequent scenes involving this character...
The basic Romance and Rescue structure is satisfactory enough, with the addition of the requisite Feisty Female for the 21st century (though I felt the character would have been a little more historically plausible if she had been a little less liberated - she clearly possesses a stronger character than her young man, she doesn't have to strive to be his physical equal as well...) However, it is the pirates themselves who really make the film, simply by being a pack of unreconstructed and uninhibited villains (from the Jeffrey Farnol School of Historical Dialect) who are far larger than life and totally unselfconscious about it. To quote the opening words of the 'Guardian' review: "we have been waiting [50 years] for a modern pirate film featuring someone who, in all seriousness, actually says the words, or perhaps the two-syllable single word: 'Ah-harrrrr!'"
Jack Sparrow, as swashbuckler extraordinaire and consummate rogue (of course, totally honest in his own way... ahem) is the main attraction of the entire film. Not so much loopy as totally round the bend - outrageous and unpredictable (there is a running gag throughout the first part of the film where he is repeatedly described as "the worst pirate I've ever seen", as in "the worst at it", only for the preposterous tactics in question to prove spectacularly successful).
This character saves the hero in more ways than one - without him, the film would be another "Mask of Zorro", a rather stodgy attempt to update an old favourite for modern-day sensibilities and compensate with more and flashier sword-fighting (swashbuckling is not *about* fighting! It comes into it, yes, but it's not the point.) But together, the pair work off one another beautifully - reliability and inspired lunacy, self-doubt and cocky flamboyance, dogged devotion and shameless self-interest. The only question is which, precisely, is the sidekick...
There are two beginnings to this film, neither of them bearing any relation to the wooden costume-drama-by-numbers prologue that actually opens the movie. The moment when events start to move (it could scarcely be less subtle) is signalled by the swell of the theme music for the first time at Sparrow's initial appearance. But for me the moment when the film really took off was in that instant during his first escape, when he seizes the rope and swings up, up, and out, in a classic swashbuckler move from the past that brought it all flooding back... and my heart flew up after him into my throat, and remained enjoyably in that position until the end of the movie, when the audience began spontaneously to applaud.
The film is far from perfect - characters like Captain Norrington (*please* - 'Commodore', like 'Prime Minister', is a job description, not a form of address!) and the Governor are little more than pantomime stereotypes, with only frustrating hints of humanity to indicate that they do after all have potential denied them by the script. Annoying anachronisms slip in - "it's okay", "I was rooting for you" - most of the nautical jargon comes out with about as much sign of comprehension as a phonetic rendition of a foreign language, and Sparrow's one precious charge of powder gets soaked through often enough in the course of the plot to be utterly useless by the end. Both hero and heroine come across as wooden and thankless roles. Orlando Bloom may be costumed to look increasingly like Errol Flynn during the course of the film (was it my imagination, or does he spend it gradually cultivating a duplicate of that famous moustache?), but, alas, any resemblance ends there.
But then it doesn't really matter. It is Depp, not Bloom, who has inherited the mantle of Flynn and Fairbanks in this film. Jack Sparrow was the character who caught my imagination - and, since I'm extremely impressionable, also had a distinctly peculiar effect on the way I stood and walked for several hours later. And there's not many films can say *that*..! ÿ
When the daughter of the governor of a Caribbean island, Elizabeth
Swann (Keira Knightley), is proposed by Commodore Norrington (Jack
Davenport), she faints, fells into the sea and is rescued and saved by
the pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) but he is arrested and
sentenced to death for piracy. Meanwhile, the town is attacked by the
ship Black Pearl, commanded by the former first mate Barbossa (Geoffrey
Rush), who leaded a mutiny against Captain Jack Sparrow years ago.
Barbossa kidnaps Elizabeth, and the blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando
Bloom), who loves her, releases Jack Sparrow and they steal the fastest
vessel of the navy to follow the Black Pearl, Will trying to save
Elizabeth, and Jack trying to retrieve his ship. Along their journey,
many secrets are disclosed about the course of the Black Pearl and her
The supernatural adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner and Barbossa are so spectacular that really deserves to be included among the best movies (Top 250) in IMDb. This film has action, humor, romance, mystery, special effects and is so delightful that the viewer does not feel the running time of 143 minutes. I saw this movie for the first time on 24 April 2004, and I have just watched again today (10 Feb 2007) enjoying the same way as in the first time. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Piratas do Caribe A Maldição do Pérola Negra" ("Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl")
Despite being rife with technical blunders such as the longest full
moon in history, Disney's first non-PG film is proving to be a
financial boon while at the same time collecting reviews from critics
that run from tepid to red hot. I am in complete agreement with Roger
Ebert on one point: Somewhere in this 143 minute tour de force there
lurks a very good ninety-minute film.
Other than Johnny Depp, who fashioned his character's personality (and eye makeup?) after observations of his good friend Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, the cast of 'Pirates' reads like a Who's Who of English film actors, including Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport and Mackenzie Crook.
When screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio originally pitched the movie to the Disney executives in the early '90s, Disney rejected it. It makes one wonder just who is running the Disney empire. Universal Studios have been combining action/adventure movies with theme park rides for over two decades (E.T., Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Back to the Future to name a few) only in reverse order-first the film, then the ride. This combination has worked well for Universal, and it seems almost absurd that Disney has taken so long to pick up on the obvious.
I liked three things in particular about this film. Just say Johnny Depp three times. His character Jack Sparrow redefines the term swashbuckler. Not since William Hurt's performance in Children of a Lesser God , and to a slightly lesser degree Kevin Costner's in JFK, has an actor so resoundingly stolen the show. If you do not like Johnny Depp, 'Pirates' is not for you. If you do like Mr. Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood), you will enjoy 'Pirates'.
That is not to say that Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush were less than fantastic. Rush made a delightful villain as Capt. Barbossa, and Orlando Bloom's performance brought charisma to a rather limiting role as Will Turner. Expect nothing but good things from this young actor in the future.
Let us examine the plot. This will be a rather short paragraph, for sword fights do not a movie make. The opening scenes show a young Elizabeth Swann on a ship at sea. A young Will Turner floats up on a raft, unconscious, wearing a gold medallion round his neck. Elizabeth hides the medallion so that no one else will know that young Will is a pirate. Years later, the pirates come to Port Royal in quest of the gold piece and kidnap the governor's daughter Elizabeth (Kiera Knightly), now all grown up. The fact that she also has the medallion they are looking for is just one of those lucky things that will happen if you're a good pirate who eats well and stays fit. Captain Jack Sparrow shows up at about the same time and he and Will commandeer a ship from the Royal Navy to chase the pirates, save Elizabeth, and add some adventure to their otherwise bleak lives. Swordfight, swordfight, swordfight, and that's about it. Let us just say that Pirates of the Caribbean has all the plot of an amusement park ride and leave it at that.
A few predictions may be in order, however. Look for an Oscar nomination for Depp's efforts. Look for nominations as well for sound, set design, makeup, and cinematography. As far as best picture? Next to Lord of the Rings (Return of the King)? Not likely.
Director Gore Verbinski, who used to play in a punk rock band and is best known for creating the Budweiser frogs, does an outstanding job keeping track of the myriad details required of a director, given his limited experience. True, 'Pirates' has countless errors in continuity, but those occur in any film of such scope. Mr. Verbinski has only four other films to his name: a short entitled The Ritual (1996), and then three very different but effectively made films, Mouse Hunt (1997), The Mexican (2001), and the very creepy thriller The Ring (2002). Again, it makes one wonder just who is at the helm of the USS Disney to put a $125 million movie in the hands of a neophyte. Well, it worked with Lord of the Rings and a very inexperienced Peter Jackson, and it worked here for Disney as well.
'Pirates of the Caribbean' is a fun movie for most of the family. It may be rather scary for children ten and under and somewhat boring for many over twenty-five. I enjoyed it immensely for exactly what it was... an amusing ride.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a movie to sit back and enjoy. Funny, fast-paced and with sterling
performances from all of the cast, it's not to be missed for good,
old-fashioned entertainment. I'm not a huge fan of Depp, but here he
Knightly and Bloom make an engaging couple and I enjoyed the fact that the
characters of Governor Swann and Norrington were taken in a different
direction from that which might be expected by Hollywood. The former could
have easily become the stereotypical "You'll marry who I say you'll marry,
girl!", while Norrington could have been the standard English navy bully
nasty piece of work. Instead, both were engaging good guys and
graceful dealings with Will and Elizabeth brought a core of humanity to
And to the previous reviewer who thought they'd spotted a plot hole:
[quote]while there`s a serious plot hole at the end where it`s revealed that Jack Sparrow has been suffering from the curse all along so how did he manage to stay out of the moonlight without anyone noticing his skeletal state ? And how did he manage to get drunk on rum ?[/quote]
Actually, you just weren't watching the movie properly. Jack wasn't in a skeletal state all along. Shortly before the swordfight in the caves with Barbossa and being shown to be skeletal, Jack stole one of the cursed coins from the chest. When he was stabbed by Barbossa, he became skeletal because he was cursed from that moment on. This was made clear at the time when Jack's response to finding out he was suddenly skeletal was to declare, "That's interesting!", flip the stolen coin between his fingers and tell Barbossa, "I couldn't resist." Indicating that he was aware that it was his stealing the coin that had turned him skeletal once he was stabbed.
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