Friday, July 11, 2003

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

With T3 last week, Pirates this week, and Bad Boys II next week, it looks like the big, fun summer movies are finally here. Sure, there's been X2, Matrix: Reloaded and The Hulk--but love 'em or hate 'em, those movies are all oh-so-profound-and-serious that they sometimes forget their sense of FUN (in The Hulk's case, it must have left "fun" on the cutting room floor.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is, above all else, fun. It's got a healthy dose of everything for everyone: comedy, drama, action, horror, romance. At the core of the story is William Turner (Orlando Bloom), a pirate-hating apprentice blacksmith who's got a big ol' crush on the governor's daughter, Elizabeth Swann (the next big thing, Keira Knightley). When Elizabeth gets abducted by the evil pirates of the cursed ship The Black Pearl, Will reluctantly joins forces with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a shifty pirate who says he can lead Will to the Black Pearl.

The direction by Gore Verbinski (The Mexican, The Ring) is solid. Nothing fancy or stylish, just a well done job. The special effects are seamless, which is about the biggest compliment I can give.

The actors are great, particularly Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, the captain of the Black Pearl, who resists the urge to go over-the-top in his villainy. Keira Knightly, who gets to do more than be a damsel-in-distress, admirably rises to the occasion. Orlando Bloom is appropriately low key as the solid anchor of this fantastical story. But this film is owned by Johnny Depp. Possessed by Johnny Depp. Is the property of one Johnny Depp. From his character's introduction (one of the best "grand entrances" a film character has ever made. Ever.) to his equally "grand" exit, Depp is a marvel to behold. Every moment Captain Jack Sparrow is on the screen, you feel lucky and grateful to have caught a glimpse of monumental greatness.

Go see it. Take your friends. Take your kids if you got 'em (and they don't mind skeletons, violence and death).