This is a retro-post. I put this online 24 December 2005 using the date it was originally sent out.
Bruckheimer is a word that instills fear in every movie-goer because he’s a master of over the top. Mostly that is not good. In fact, since Top Gun it hasn’t good. The bad streak here does end. Although some will say the plot is a bit predictable, I say it is to be expected in a pirate movie. It is also based on a ride which just about everyone knows and loves. Yet, despite this familiarity there is a strong plot albeit one that is clearly going to an unavoidable end.
The pronunciation of the word Caribbean aside, there is a great deal to recommend this Disney movie. Yeah, this movie which I assured everyone would blow chunks when it arrived, does not blow chunks. Avast ye’ scurvy dogs! Run ye’ out and see this film, sez I. Har!
There is the mandatory parrot. I damn all movies with parrots to hell, but they manage to pull it off. But the evil Pirate Monkey from Hell is awesome. There are many scenes from the actual ride (pirates in jail and dog with key; the red head; even some dialogue). It actually works quite well.
We have Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, a drunken, gay pirate. Well, we’re not sure he’s drunk, nor are we sure he’s gay. But he swishes around a great deal. And, I believe, he steals the show (and the gold). Foppish and fantastic all at the same time.
You also have Geoffrey Rush as Barbosa. And although he is a fine actor, I didn’t think he was quite right for the part, being a bit too, um, reserved. Yeah, that’s it.
With Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, he does a fine job, but in the back of your mind, you keep wondering where the damn hobbits are. Sure you do. Don’t lie.
There’s a female lead, but I don’t mention her hear, because she is clearly an afterthought in the film. Apparently, pirate movies are only for and about boys. I am not saying that as a complaint, but an observation.
There are the effects. This is not an effects movie, so when they are used, and you barely notice, that’s a good sign. The moonlight works wonders on a pirate. Happily, the film, although violent, is nearly gore free. Not too many frights, but plenty of fights.
And the biggest surprise in the film is that it is funny. Yeah, it’s got a tongue firmly planted in cheek. And ultimately that is what keeps this movie from failing. So many people thought this film would fail, but it doesn’t.
The sequel. What? Yeah. Well, before the release but after the buzz started, the title of the film changed. Originally called Pirates of the Caribbean, it became Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. So, we’ll see more. And that is good, sez I.