“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” was directed by Gore Verbinski and is the first film in “Pirates” franchise. The film is based on the Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name that first open in 1967 at the original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California that later expanded to Orlando, Tokyo & Shanghai. The film stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Johnathon Pryce, Kevin R. McNally, Zoe Saldana & Geoffrey Rush.
Sometime in the early 1700s, the HMS Dauntless is sailing to Port Royal, carrying Governor Weatherby Swann (Pryce) and his young daughter, Elizabeth. They come across a ship wreck and discover a young boy on a plank in the water. The boy reveals to Elizabeth that his name is Will Turner while the others assume a pirate ship may cause the wreckage. 8 years later, an adult Elizabeth (Knightley) is informed by her father that newly promoted Commodore James Norrington (Davenport) has ask for her hand in marriage. At the ceremony, Elizabeth faints & falls off a cliff and into the ocean. As the Royal Navy scrambles to save her, Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) saves her but is then arrested by Norrington & his men. Jack uses his devilish charm to escape only to run into a blacksmith’s apprentice who also happens to be an adult Will Turner (Bloom), and traps Jack for Norrington. That night, Port Royal is attacked by a pirate ship. Jack recognizes the ship as The Black Pearl, his former ship. The Pearl’s new Captain, Hector Barbossa (Rush) is seeking a sacred medallion that Elizabeth has. After the crew kidnap her, Will frees Jack from jail in order to set on to find Barbossa & Elizabeth. Meanwhile on The Black Pearl, Elizabeth discovers a dark secret about Barbossa, the crew & the sacred medallion that could have a dangerous outcome.
After was having huge success with Pixar in the late 90’s & early 2000’s, Disney took a different approach to their own studio with live action film of one their theme park attractions & they nailed it. This was a great film from beginning to end. Depp was amazing as Captain Jack. Rush as the main villain who was both menacing & charismatic. The visuals were incredible not to mention the practical effects. Knightley performance is a bit much but it does get better. The score has become pretty iconic. Not like Star Wars or Jurassic Park iconic but iconic in its on way. The story is a great & a solid outing for a theme park ride which has clearly no story at all but for this movie? Not too bad at all.
Overall, this was a damn good film with great performances, visuals & a solid adventure story line. Johnny Depp went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for his performance and also star in the next 4 films in the series along with Rush & McNally. Bloom & Knightley would only appear in 3 of the 4 sequels. 2006’s “Dead Man’s Chest”, 2007’s “At World’s End”, 2011’s “On Stranger Tides” & “2017’s “Dead Men Tell No Tales” continue Jack Sparrow’s adventure. Zoe Saldana was the only actress who did not return for the sequels at all due to her starring in films like “The Terminal”, “Vantage Point”, “Guess Who” & “The Losers” before making it big in major franchises like the “Star Trek” trilogy, “Avatar” & the Marvel Cinematic Universe as “Gamora” in “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The pirate films started great but as they went on, they became more of supernatural, fantasy films rather than sticking with their swashbuckling adventures. Nonetheless, the first film is great one for enjoyment and entertainment for everyone.