Anthony's Film Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Thrills, humor, and fun revive the swashbuckling pirate adventure...

Many movies are based on books, TV shows, and even existing movies. But who knew a movie based on an amusement park ride at the various Walt Disney theme parks (e.g., Disneyland in Anaheim, California) could be so exciting and breathtaking? Of course, it doesn't mean any movie based on an amusement park ride will always be successful. But what makes Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl an awesome adventure movie is a mixture of three things: thrills, humor, and fun.

Its cast includes Johnny Depp as the silly Captain Jack Sparrow, Orlando Bloom as the heroic Will Turner, Keira Knightley as the lovely Elizabeth Swann, and Geoffrey Rush as the evil ghost pirate Barbossa. The plot revolves around a curse that has struck Barbossa and his crew: existing forever as undead creatures devoid of the feeling of life. Jack Sparrow has a role in this and so do Will and Elizabeth. These basic elements of the story are well written into the script, which is amazing considering that the basis for this movie, an amusement park ride, doesn't really have a story.

On the other hand, the film does have references to the theme park ride itself. I remember scenes that triggered memories of Disneyland. There is the scene with prisoners trying to lure a dog holding a keyring. There is also the one with a man sleeping with pigs. It would be fun to watch the movie and go directly on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride afterwards just to make the comparisons. Of course, most of the references in the movie are very subtle and spotting them requires great memory of details from the ride. I say all of this just because I'm amazed a movie based on a theme park creation could actually be really cool.

But back to the movie itself. The other part besides the script that works very well is the action and special effects. There are really exciting scenes involving swordfights, firing cannons, and port raids. The swordfights can sometimes be long since the undead pirates can't be killed and the living have the only option of defending themselves, but these scenes are great eye candy. The special effects team create convincing ghost pirates who appear human at first but are seen in skeletal form under moonlight. A lot of effort was put into these elements, and the result is outstanding.

This was a movie I saw without reading too many reviews beforehand. Usually I do, but not for this one. A friend had chosen this movie on opening night. I was in for a real surprise. The movie started off nicely and just got better and better. I thought it would just end suddenly, but it didn't. As we left the theater, we all said the same thing: this was a very good movie. And it's a movie like this that I want to see more of. Pirates of the Caribbean is no longer just a ride at Disneyland or Disney World. It is a modern swashbuckling pirate adventure that will blow everyone out of the water.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my review of the following:

The Pirates of the Caribbean Films


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