Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Keira Knightley, Orlando Blook, Jonathan Pryce and Jack Davenport
written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossia
directed by Gore Verbinski
Ever since the end of summer vacations I have been asking people, “Did you see Pirates of the Caribbean?” or, saying to them, “I saw Pirates of the Caribbean”and then hearing them confirm that they saw it, too. And everybody’s reaction to it is positive and excited. Everyone loved it. I did, too.
This is a fun action film and I recommend it if it is fun you want. It is a swashbuckling pirate movie that reminded me of the Geena Davis pirate movie Cutthroat Island from a few years ago. I eagerly waited for Pirates to come out in theaters in Tokyo, but it came out on the very day that I was going abroad on vacation to my hometown. Then, when I got home, I found it playing in movie theaters there. Lucky me!
As you might recognize from the name, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is taken from the Disneylandamusement park ride. But any comparison between the two ends there, I think. Far from being a slow, tame amusement for children, Pirates is fast, non-stop action: sword fights; ship-to-ship cannon battles; pirate raids on coastal hamlets; kidnapping; romance; treasure. (I was told that Disneyland is now planning to renovate and spice up its stodgy old Pirates of the Caribbean ride to bring it more in line with the feeling of the movie.) The script is written by a pair that produced animated hits such as Antz, Aladdin, and Shrek, so perhaps their cleverness alone was enough to propel the movie to summer time hit-dom.
The biggest drawback that I can thin of is that the seventeenth century pirate costumes are over-done. I mean, the costume designers/managers/directors might have gone too far and created campy pirates. But then I have to remember it is based on a Disneyland ride, after all, so maybe it’s okay.
Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow, a pirate trying to reclaim his old ship, The Black Pearl, currently captained by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). The crew of The Black Pearl have stolen an Aztec Indian treasure that put a terrible curse on them - they are zombies who cannot be killed, but at the same time cannot enjoy any of the benefits of living (like eating and drinking, tasting, sleeping, etc.). In the light of day they look like normal men. Well, pirates, anyway. But under moonlight their true condition becomes evident in some really great, ghoulish scenes. (I won’t describe them. You must see the movie yourself.)
Over time the Aztec treasure has been dispersed here-and-there. To lift the curse from themselves the captain and crew of The Black Pearl have to locate and retrieve all the original treasure. The last piece of gold belongs to Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), daughter of the local British Governor (Jonathan Pryce). The Governor intends his daughter to marry a local naval officer, but she prefers a poor childhood friend and commoner, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). But when Will teams up with Jack Sparrow to re-take The Black Pearl he becomes an outlaw. So there are at least two conflicts at play. There is the love conflict. Then, there is the conflict of interests: Captain Barbossa wants the girl while Jack Sparrow, to whom the girl is tied through their relationships with Will Turner, wants only the ship. Here lie grounds for a double-crossing deal among pirates.
I look forward to it coming out on video so I can watch it again at my leisure.