Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Run-time: 2 hours, 23 minutes
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom & Jack Davenport
When I first heard about the decision to make a film based off the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland, I had just as many reservations as so many others had as well. Adapting a story is one thing, but adapting a ride into a movie is something entirely different. And, like everyone else, I was utterly blown away by just how good the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, turned out to be.
One of the best decisions they made was to take the step into the PG-13 realm, making Pirates the first PG-13 film ever to be released by Disney. In doing so, the filmmakers gave themselves the opportunity to craft a true swashbuckling tale that wasn't held back to the necessity to remain entirely family friendly. And while it's nowhere near the edgiest PG-13 movie I've ever seen, it's definitely a step further than anything Disney had ever done prior.
Obviously, the first thing that anyone remembers about this film is the brilliant, Oscar-nominated performance of Johnny Depp as our lead Captain Jack Sparrow. And though he's definitely the scene-stealer of the bunch, he's not the only actor giving a fantastic performance. While Captain Jack is off doing his stylish version of piracy, we get a pitch-perfect portrayal of the stereotypical pirate from Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush. And how can I forget how good Jack Davenport is as the "villain" from the Royal Navy? For a full breakdown of my opinions on the characters, check out my post about my favorite characters from the entire franchise.
We also get a rather strong screenplay, much stronger than one would imagine could come from a film like this. It offers quite a few twists and turns, and it brings the story full circle (for which I'm a total sucker). We also receive a rousing musical score from the mind of Klaus Badelt. It's so good, in fact, that it made it onto my list of favorite film scores from all of cinematic history.
Overall, the first installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a definite must-see. It's one of my favorite films of all time and ranks at #55 on my list of greatest films ever made. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for the fourth installment (On Stranger Tides), due in theaters on May 20. I'm going to watch the other two Pirates films before the new one hits theaters, so be on the lookout for those issues of my DVD Challenge.