Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
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Overall Rating 79%
Overall Rating
Ranked #53
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This swash-buckling tale follows the quest of Captain Jack Sparrow, a savvy pirate, and Will Turner, a resourceful blacksmith, as they search for Elizabeth Swann. Elizabeth, the daughter of the governor and the love of Will's life, has been kidnapped by the feared Captain Barbossa. Little do they know, but the fierce and clever Barbossa has been cursed. He, along with his large crew, are under an ancient curse, doomed for eternity to neither live, nor die. That is, unless a blood sacrifice is made. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: May 28, 2007
With the recent release of the third movie, I think it's high time we got the one that started it all on here. Now for the three of you who weren't aware, the movie is based off of a ride at Disney World. The first time Disney tried a movie based on a ride, The Country Bears, it flopped on its ass. The first time Disney tried a pirate movie, Cutthroat Island, it flopped on its ass. Well, for once it seems that two wrongs do indeed make a right, as this franchise has proven to be one of the most successful Disney has seen in years.

We start off the only way we should, on a ship at sea. A young girl sees a boy floating amongst the ruins of a ship along with a second ship with black sails disappearing into the distance. The boy is pulled aboard, and she learns his name is Will Turner before he passes out. The girl discovers a golden medallion around his neck, and takes it for herself. Fast forward eight years, and we see that the girl, Elizabeth Swann, has grown up quite nicely. She is the daughter of the governor, and has caught the eye of the commodore of the English Naval fleet, James Norrington. Will is also infatuated with her, however, he has grown up to be a mere blacksmith. On the day of Norrington's promotion ceremony, their town is visited by one Captain Jack Sparrow, a pirate who's reputation contradicts his humble appearance and accessories. While outwitting a pair of guards in order to steal a ship, he saves the life of Elizabeth, who has passed out and fallen in the sea. Despite this, he is ordered to be arrested for his crimes of piracy. His rather unorthodox escape attempt comes to an end when he chances into Will, who uses both his considerable skills with a sword as well as his hatred for pirates to delay Jack long enough to be taken into custody. Meanwhile, a ship has appeared seemingly out of nowhere and opened fire on the town. The pirates from the ship have a great time causing general chaos, however, their primary objective seems to be to getting to Elizabeth. She is taken aboard the ship, and although she is able to convince the pirates to leave, she finds herself a prisoner of the supernaturally cursed Captain Barbossa and his crew. Will, who had been knocked out in the attack, wakes up the next morning and demands Norrington go out and search for Elizabeth. Although he cares for Elizabeth, he's not that rash and opts for a more conservative plan. Will is not satisfied with that and approaches the captive Jack Sparrow, knowing he can help find Elizabeth. After freeing the man, the pair steal a ship and set out to acquire a crew to rescue her from the pirates. Along the way, Will learns a few secrets from his past as well as Jack's.

Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow is what makes these films as great as they are. In my opinion, Jack is one of the greatest characters ever conceived. Most of the time, when a movie tries to consciously make an antihero, they just come off as strangely bipolar. They'll simply alternate between being good and evil, with no rhyme or reason. However, with Sparrow its done perfectly. Jack does whatever he needs to in order to advance his own agenda, former alliances be damned. To put it simply, he's an unapologetic pirate. And a damned entertaining one at that. He has more than his fair share of signature quirks, including odd head tilts and a gift of wordplay that can easily boggle the mind if you're not careful. Even the way he runs defines Captain Jack thanks to the work of Depp.

As great as Depp was, the rest of the cast was not far behind. Geoffrey Rush gave a great performance as Captain Barbossa, opting to go for a more cliché pirate manner, although his best time spent in Barbossa's boots is found in part three. Keira Knightly also gave a good show as Elizabeth Swann. Primarily, she plays the damsel in distress role, however her character is able to bring some fire to an otherwise "helpless" archetype, which serves to provide a great starting point to the growth she goes through in the subsequent movies. And of course, she's quite nice to look at. Even Orlando Bloom was decent as Will Turner, although he was definitely the weakest link. His acting, as per usual, was pretty wooden.

This is truly a great, 'epic' movie. Even the score, which rarely catches my ear, is amazing. The story somehow manages to be simultaneously original and cliché, in all the right ratios. The battle scenes, both the sword play between men and cannon fire between ships, are all entrancing; and the plot between them moves at a great pace, with a few twists and betrayals to keep your attention. The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy are all insanely good movies, and the original is no exception. 9.5/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 05/28/2007, 07:46 PM
This is my third favorite of the entire trilogy. I would rank them: #1 "Dead Man's Chest", #2 "At World's End", #2 "Curse of the Black Pearl". Don't get me wrong -- I still love this one and it started it all. Johnny Depp was most Jack Sparrow-ish in this film and everyone does an outstanding job. 10/10.
Chad #2: Chad - added 05/30/2007, 08:45 PM
I never got around to watching these movies, as they didn't exactly sound like something I'd be interested in. However, I plan on reviewing a parody of this in a couple of days, so I thought that I should check out the source material before writing said review... and I found that I actually enjoyed this one. Not a perfect film, but not bad either. 8/10.
Nirrad #3: Nirrad - added 08/07/2008, 12:47 PM
Wow, finally watched this last night. Simply awesome, I cannot wait to pop in part 2 tonight. 10/10
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added 07/17/2010, 03:16 PM
I wish Zoe Saldana would have been in the next two. 9/10
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