Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl

As it’s Boxing Day and I have nothing better to do, I decided to go for a stroll in Pirate country and review the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy over the next few days. So, let’s start at square one, shall we?

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

There are many things that baffle me about the movie business. Questions like “Why do people think Tim Burton is a versatile director?” and “Why doesn’t Brendan Fraser seem to age?” (Jesus, this blog has been pretty Fraser-heavy of late, hasn’t it?) consistently plague me. One of the biggest questions in my mind is “How the living hell did Disney make a multi-million dollar franchise using a theme park ride as its inspiration?” It honestly bewilders me. I mean, I’ve seen fantastic novels adapted for the screen and die on their arse, but making a successful, not to mention good, film from an old (and fairly underwhelming) Disney World ride is beyond me.

“Welcome to the Caribbean, love”

The plot follows blacksmith and swordmaker Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and his love for Governor Swann’s (Jonathan Pryce) daughter, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley). After a while, the crew of the legendary and feared Black Pearl, led by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) pillage Port Royal and kidnap Elizabeth. It’s up to Will and imprisoned, eccentric pirate *Captain* Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to save her. Throw into the mix Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport) and you’ve got yourself a good old-fashioned swashbuckling tale on your hands. As stories go, you can’t get more classic than this. Yes, it’s the whole “damsel in distress” thing, but with a few key differences. Firstly, Elizabeth isn’t the swooning maiden who can’t do anything for herself. She’s pretty tough and resourceful- shockingly still a rarity these days. Secondly, our hero, Will ,is a bit useless. Sure, he can swordfight and the like, but he doesn’t do much else.

I can’t possibly review this film without mentioning Johnny Depp’s outstanding performance as Jack Sparrow. He’s brilliant and steals every single scene he’s in. There’s not much point in carrying on describing him because chances are you know who he is, watched the film a hojillion times and have written slash fiction about him paired with Edward Cullen from “Twilight”. Unless you’re a guy- in which case you’ve been practising your Jack Sparrow impression to get those oddly sexy, geeky girls to like you because you’ve heard they do the weird stuff in the bedroom.I’m guessing here, but I’d be damned surprised if I was completely wrong.

Before I continue about how good this film is, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. Why is Orlando Bloom in this film? The guy really can’t act to save his life. Don’t get me wrong- I like him, but I get the feeling they should have cast someone better. Jesus, even a weasel in a wig could have done better than ol’ Orly. He really is the new Keanu Reeves. He just seems to be in pain everytime he has to deliver a line. Most excruciating moment? Got to be the “Goodbye…Elizabeth” line. I honestly have to look away for that part. It’s embarrassing. I’m sure the Bloom fans among you will retort with “Well, you couldn’t do any better” and you’ll be right. I wouldn’t be able to do better. Then again- I’m not a paid, professional actor. I do realise that by this logic, I’ve said that a weasel in a wig could out-act me. Try not to think about it too much.

Story-wise, I have a problem with Barbossa’s crew. Why are they considered so bad, when all they want to do is lift a curse and become human again? Okay, they kill a bunch of people in Port Royal-but that’s about it. They’re not trying to take over the World or anything-they want to become mortal, eat and drink. Doesn’t seem that bastardly to me, in fact-it seems downright reasonable.

I suppose my only other qualm is with one line. “Just one line?!” I hear you cry. “Why bother mentioning it? Surely that is below even your standard of nit-pickery?” Well, nothing is below my standard of nit-pickery. If something annoys me, no matter how minute, you can bet your last Rolo that I’ll kick up a fuss. Why? Well, be it a clunky line or even a slightly-off musical cue, it all adds up to something that takes me out of the movie experience. Maybe my standards are too high or something (they’re not). Plus, as I said before, I am nit-picking here. So, what’s the offending line? Well, it’s Elizabeth’s line of “You like pain? Try wearing a corset!”. It’s a horrible, horrible line. I’m guessing one of the writers’ girlfriends pitched it and he begrudgingly put it in because if he did, she promised she’d do the weird stuff in the bedroom. Well, I hope you’re happy Mr. Writer…. she’s cheating on you, by the way.

” I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically… grammatically”

Nano nit-pickery aside, the rest of the film is great. The action is brilliant and the special effects are genuinely special. I love the moonlight sequence where the pirates reveal their true forms. Just the right amount of scary to be interesting, but not enough to scar the wee bairns watching. Actually nearly all the scenes are good, be it the huge action sequences (my favourite being the climactic showdown between Jack and Barbossa- superbly done) or the quieter, dialogue driven scenes (the beach scene with Jack and Elizabeth is genius). It’s very funny too, with some endlessly quotable lines, mostly delivered by the Cap’n himself. I could go on, but let me just leave you with this- it’s simply a fantastic family film.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: