Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, and Geoffrey Rush.  It is the first installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series and follows pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) and blacksmith Will Turner (Bloom) as they rescue the kidnapped Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) from the cursed crew of the Black Pearl captained by Hector Barbossa (Rush), who become undead skeletons at night.


Positives:

  • Great performances
  • Great characters
  • Original story
  • Great visuals
  • Great use of special effects
  • Great score
  • Good direction

Negatives:

  • Forced humor

Plot:  The story is pretty original, following pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) and blacksmith Will Turner (Bloom) as they rescue the kidnapped Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) from the cursed crew of the Black Pearl captained by Hector Barbossa (Rush), who become undead skeletons at night.  The is the storyline that focuses on the relationship between Will and Elizabeth which does make their characters likable and relatable.  The most prominent story is the that which surrounds Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbossa, and the crew of the Black Pearl.  The crew are all cursed and the film picks up as they find the remaining pieces of a cursed treasure so that they remove the curse.  Jack is revealed to have been the captain before a mutiny left him stranded on an island. Elizabeth is taken captive by the cursed crew and her capture is a great way of giving exposition on the curse crew. The film does come to an epic climax and it is epic.  There are several battles going on and the music kicks the movie into high gear.  (4 out of 5)

Characters: Great characters are presented especially with Jack Sparrow (Depp) leading the way.  Sparrow is a great character that has that eccentric personality and for as weird as the character appears, he is incredibly smart and manipulative.  He does a great job of playing along the lines of good guy/bad guy.  Barbossa (Rush) is one of those villains that has style and personality and can totally kick ass and proves as a more serious counterpart to the otherwise goofy Sparrow.  Will Turner (Bloom) is the basic “good guy” of the group but as the story unfolds becomes more well rounded.  Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) is the basic damsel in distress but she does have her moments.  She’s strong, rebellious and a likable character. There are also many other great characters including Elizabeth’s father, Governor Weatherby Swann (Pryce), Sparrow’s friend and first mate, Joshamee Gibbs (McNally), James Norrington (Davenport), Pintel (Arenberg), and Ragetti (Crook). (4 out of 5)

Cast:  The casting was extremely well done.  Johnny Depp completely nails the character of Jack Sparrow.  Geoffrey Rush is great, Orlando Bloom is great.   Keira Knightley does a good job but there are moments where she does try a little too hard.  Johnathan Pryce and Jack Davenport do a good job also.  Other members of the supporting cast include Mackenzie Crook, Kevin McNally, Zoe Saldana, Lee Arenberg, Martin Klebba, and Isaac C. Singleton.  (4 out of 5)

Visuals: Visually the movie does look great.  The set pieces look awesome, especially the ships.  Costume design looks realistic, the outfits have a gritty look to them.  The make-up and CGI are just great, especially when it comes to the skeleton.  The transitions of their forms from human to skeleton are done well, and the level of detail is on point.  It’s just an awesome looking movie on nearly every front.  The wide shots of the sea is just beautiful.  The action sequences are well done and the sword fights are well choreographed. (5 out of 5)

Score:  Have to hand it to the film, Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer do a phenomenal job with the soundtrack.  There are moments where the music is dark and dreadful but there are some pretty exciting moments too.  The “He’s a Pirate” theme is just awesome out of this world. (4 out of 5)

Writing:  This movie is just awesome and it is takes to a great script.  It does a great job of handling action as well as drama as well as humor.  The director, Gore Verbinski (can’t pronounce the name for nothing), does a great job of making this film feel adventurous and fun but at the same time really serious.  Even with the pacing and how the scenes transition are done are handled with care. One of the most prominent scenes in the movie that sticks out is the part where the crew of the Black Pearl are marching underwater and the moonlight transforms them into skeletons. The dialogue is not only well written but the execution is to be commended as well.  (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is just an epic movie all around. Aside from some of the poor acting moments by Knightley and Bloom, the features a really good story, good performances by talented cast, a fantastic score, great visuals, and some highly memorable characters.  Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl gets 5 out of 5.

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