Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Kevin McNally
Runtime: 143 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for action/adventure violence
A young Elizabeth Swann (played by Lucinda Dryzek) is sailing with her father, Governor Swann (Pryce), and singing about pirates when she happens to see a young Will Turner (played by Dylan Smith) floating on debris in the water, the only survivor of a ship attack.
Cut to several years later and Elizabeth (Knightley) and her father are living in Port Royal with Will Turner (Bloom) now a sword/blacksmith. When Elizabeth attends an official event with her father, it turns out to be anything but ordinary. A marriage proposal from the now Commodore Norrington (Davenport) ends up with Elizabeth fainting (probably more from the corset) and falling into the ocean depths below them. But who should come to her rescue but none other than Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp), who is quickly arrested for being a pirate. Although he attempts to escape, Sparrow soon finds himself in the Port Royal jail.
However, the adventure doesn’t end there! That night Port Royal is besieged by the Black Pearl with its cantankerous Captain Barbossa (Rush) and cursed crew. After the crew ransacks the oceanfront town, including the governor’s home, Elizabeth insists on a parlay and in the process gives the crew the faux name of Elizabeth Turner. Once aboard the Black Pearl, Elizabeth hands over a gold medallion in her possession (which we find out she took from Will the day they met so he wouldn’t be accused of being a pirate). Her troubles have only just begun when Barbossa refuses to take her back to shore and she finds herself stuck on the Black Pearl. After a failed escape attempt she also finds out that the entire crew is cursed, turning into skeletal forms when they’re in the moonlight.
Meanwhile, Will, who is in love with Elizabeth, has become determined to rescue her. He enlists the help of Captain Jack Sparrow, by breaking him out of jail. Sparrow also has a score to settle with Barbossa. Barbossa, it seems, was behind a mutiny on Jack’s ship, the Black Pearl, which resulted in Jack being left to his own vices on a deserted island. (Thank goodness for rum and sea turtles!) After “commandeering” the Royal Navy’s fastest ship “The Interceptor”, the pair sail to Tortuga to get a crew to help track down the Black Pearl.
Soon the crew of the Black Pearl, with Elizabeth in tow, reaches their destination: a cave with the cursed treasure of Cortez. The crew had been cursed when they looted the treasure and has spent years tracking it down. It just so happens that the final piece of the treasure is the medallion that Elizabeth possessed. They also reveal that they need the blood of Bootstrap Bill’s (who the crew betrayed and sent to Davy Jones’ locker) descendant, who they assume is Elizabeth. But what happens when they find out Elizabeth’s true identity? Will Jack Sparrow get his revenge against Barbossa? What about the rum?
I like movies that are different and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” is definitely that! Not only was the story unique but when have we ever seen a character like Jack Sparrow on the big screen? Not only were Depp, Bloom and Knightly great in the film but Rush was excellent as Barbossa as well as the supporting cast including Arenberg and Crook as Pintel and Ragetti of the pirate crew.
There was also a good mix of comedy and action/adventure. The final confrontation/sword fight between Sparrow and Barbossa was fun and exciting. Another fun, swordplay moment was the first meeting between Jack and Will. “You cheated” Will exclaims with Jack replying “Pirate”!
The movie is a fun swashbuckler but at 143 minutes I could see where some may think that it’s a little drawn out.
My Rating: I’ll give this one 4 ½ out of 5!
Did You Know: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” was the first Disney movie ever to be rated PG-13. Although the movie is based on the Disneyland ride, it was the first movie to have its premier at the park!
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