By now, if you haven’t heard of Pirates of the Caribbean, you desperately need to pay more attention to the world around you. The film series has made billions of dollars at the box office so far, and a fourth film is on the way. That’s pretty impressive considering the fact that it was based on a theme park ride that had been at Disneyland for years.
The first in the series, titled Curse of the Black Pearl, follows the exploits of a seemingly poor pirate named Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). He is unconventional, to say the least. He has a compass that doesn’t point north, he has a pistol with only one shot, and he has an incredibly dull sword. He is also a morally ambiguous character, always toying around which side he is on. Shortly after the film begins, he gets captured by the guards of the town he docks his boat in. Soon, the town is attacked, and a girl named Elizabeth Swan (Kiera Knightly) is taken. The local blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) wishes to free her, and decides to spring Sparrow from jail in order to rescue her.
What follows is an adventure told from the point of view of the three characters, always switching back and forth if they end up becoming separated. The story quickly turns from a simple rescue story to one of betrayal and redemption. It’s told in a humorous way, mostly due to the character of Jack Sparrow, but it never becomes too over the top to not take seriously. It is true that some of the characters are quite silly, but this never makes the film seem like it couldn’t realistically occur.
The fact that it does seem so grounded in reality, despite all of the amazing things that occur, make the film a big shock to the system. You never quite expect many of the things that occur within it, but after they do happen, you realize how silly they actually are. They seem possible in the moment, but moments later you think to yourself about what had just happened, and come to the conclusion that, while this is true, you are still watching something quite marvelous.
The most surprising thing about Curse of the Black Pearl is the fact that it is rather humorous. There are many situations and lines that make it this way, but spoiling them may ruin the initial satisfaction in regarding them. I initially thought that too, but then I thought about how many times I have seen this movie. It still manages to be funny and fresh even multiple watches later. It manages to be entertaining even after seeing it many times, and this is something that is to be commended. It really speaks to a film’s quality to still manage to remain exciting.
Curse of the Black Pearl only seems dated in one area, and that is in the CGI used on the cursed pirates. Whenever the cursed walk into moonlight, you see their flesh deteriorate, and they become walking skeletons. They don’t look all that good now, and instead take you out of the film. Thankfully, the times where they appear are few and far between, meaning you aren’t taken out for long. Still, these times need to be mentioned, as it is the biggest flaw that I can think of.
I’ve already stated that, for an action-comedy, Curse of the Black Pearl doesn’t lack in terms of its humor. It also manages to stay entertaining through its action sequences. They are fun to watch, and are highly creative. The sword-fight choreography especially must be commended. These are the highlights of the film for me. They’re entertaining, and almost manage to make the rest of the film seem dull in comparison.
There is also no problem with the acting. This is especially true in the case of Johnny Depp, whose Jack Sparrow may be the only reason that the series ended up being as good as it is. He’s funny, but also fairly deep. He has real issues and ambitions, and while he doesn’t always act like a real human would, that’s part of the joke. The other characters are fine as well, with big props going to Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa.
I almost feel like any recommendation on this film is going to fall on deaf ears. Chances are that by now you have already seen and made up your mind regarding Curse of the Black Pearl. Either you saw it, and loved it like I did, or saw it and hated it. It is well acted, humorous and exciting, so if you haven’t given it a shot, I’d recommend you give it a look.