Pirates 1 - Caribbean 0
Having arrived at Port Royal and in the market for a new ship, the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp - Edward Scissorhands) soon finds himself in trouble when he saves the life of the governor's daughter, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley - Love Actually) as she nearly drowns. Thrown into jail for acts of piracy his future looks doomed until a mysterious ship, the Black Pearl, captained by the evil Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush - House on Haunted Hill) and a bunch of equally evil pirates, arrives at the port in search of a lost gold doubloon. After throwing the port into turmoil they kidnap Elizabeth and set sail. Leaving Sparrow and Elizabeth's childhood friend Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) to join forces and set of on an adventure to rescue poor Elizabeth and find out the secret behind the mysterious gold doubloon.
Without a single doubt in my mind no matter how stunning the special effects may be, or engaging the storyline is, or even how spectacular the action sequences are Pirates of the Caribbean would only rank 4 out of 5 stars for me and many others but for two very prominent reasons. Firstly it features one of the most impressive musical scores in recent cinematic history which is powerful yet totally in fitting with the mood of the film. But more importantly it features the talents of Johnny Depp in what is not only an exceptionally brilliant performance but also in creating one of the most memorable characters to hit our screens for many years, that being the humorous and eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow.
Apparently inspired by the Disney theme park ride of the same name, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" has one foot firmly placed in the past, when swashbuckling pirate flicks were all the rage. This modernisation of a classic Hollywood theme is definitely a slick production which features every feasible plot element going from adventure, mystery, romance and being a Disney flick it has a huge dose of family humour. Although not the most complex of plot lines, and at times highly predictable, it is such an amazing production that it grips you right from the outset and takes you on a rollercoaster ride of adventure which makes a change from the majority of so called Hollywood blockbusters which promise much but deliver little.
The main plotline surrounds the mystery gold doubloon which Captain Barbossa needs and will do anything to lay his mucky seadog paws on. Whilst this may look rather boring on paper, the reasoning behind his actions is one of the most enjoyable twists I have seen in a film for a few years. Without divulging this twist all I can say it allows for the special effects team to do their magic in absolutely spectacular style. Tying into this plotline is a marvellous sub plot which features Captain Jack Sparrow who had previously been the captain of the Black Pearl until a mutiny left him shall we say "in the market" for a new ship. Add to this the wonderfully low level subplot surrounding the romance between Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann and you have a varied tale with something for everyone. But the most noticeable element of the film is the sense of humour which is prevalent in even the darkest of scenes. Although some purists may say that this light hearted approach to a Pirate adventure cheapens this classic theme, I personally find the humour much more appealing with an exceptionally good mix of both visual and audible gags.
It would be impossible to do this film justice without mentioning the stunning special effects and action which are huge part of the reason why this rollercoaster ride of a film is so engaging. With everything from swinging from the rigging, too cannon explosions and marvellous swashbuckling sword fights, this film is everything that a modern day pirate film should be. I am sure that no expense was spared in the production of this blockbuster as every action sequence from the one-on-one duals through to the epic battles feels so well choreographed that it really adds to the enjoyment of the film. But it is not just the stunning action which works so well but the brilliant special effects which will make you wonder how they heck did they manage to do that and make it flow so effortlessly. Of course with modern techniques this film is steeped with CGI, but at no time do you feel like it looks fake, and it is partly down to the spooky realism as to why this stands head and shoulders above other modern blockbusters.
But as I mentioned earlier the main factor as to why this film is so great is in the marvellous characters, most notably that of Captain Jack Sparrow, a man who looks like he has been spending far too much time hanging around with Keith Richards. Well for those in the know will realise that Johnny Depp modelled his performance on the Rolling Stone, stating that pirates were the Rock n Roll stars of there era. Well who knows, but his creation is one of the most humorous and well crafted characters to hit our screen in a long time. Depp has got an amazing ability to do visual comedy but he also has the perfect timing when it comes to delivering lines which is evident through out the film whether it is in a humorous scene or in one of the few dramatic moments.
Add to Depp's performance two of the hottest young actors around at the moment in the form of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley and you have the basis of a wonderful cast. Bloom's character as the innocent Will Turner may play second fiddle to that of Depp's, but his performance is spot on playing it mainly straight to Depp's over the top campness. Add Knightley as the beautiful Elizabeth Swann your not so typical damsel in distress as she has a mind of her own and more than capable of her handling herself in battle. In fact right down to the smallest of roles, every single character is interesting and brilliantly played with the likes of Jonathan Pryce, Mackenzie Crook and Jack Davenport putting in great supporting performances. Not to forget Geoffrey Rush who puts in a class turn as the villainous Captain Barbossa.
When you learn that, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is the work of action supremo Jerry Bruckheimer it won't surprise you at the epic scale of the film. Legendary for his entertaining action packed movies, every ounce of his expertise has been poured into this movie and it shows. I cannot honestly find a flaw with any aspect of the movie as it entertained me with humour and drama, whilst thrilled me with action and adventure. To cap the film off is the stunning musical score which not only builds up the atmosphere but raises the level of excitement with a truly triumphant arrangement which without it the film would be severely lacking.
As you can probably guess from the glowing review, I rate, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" very highly, and honestly feel it is one of the most entertaining films to have hit the big screen in the last 5 years. With a great mixture of action, adventure, drama and huge dollop of humour the film has something for just about everyone. What also makes the film such a modern classic is the brilliant array of characters and the equally brilliant performances from all the cast, most notably Johnny Depp for creating one of modern cinemas most memorable characters. But whilst I won't deny the fact that I think the film is great, there are some who will not be so amored with it, most notably the over the topness of the characters and the tilt towards the humour will not appeal to everyone, let alone the fact that at 143 minutes long it is slightly a bum numbing affair.