Review Date: July 07, 2003
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: Ted Ellliot, Terry Rossio
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow
Orlando Bloom as Will Turner
Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann
Okay, so other than Depp...what else did I like in the movie? Well, I dug the scenery, the ships, the authenticity of the towns, the ghost-like atmosphere everywhere, as well as the score which was perfectly booming for such a "pirate movie". I also loved the film's finale, which actually lassoed me back into its good graces after losing me during its elongated middle part, in which lots of sailing, explosions and Depp-less scenes left my eyes wandering through the audience for schmucks wearing bandanas over their own skulls (the sap next to me was a ringer). The film's conclusion was also its most active and entertaining as the cursed pirates finally came out to play and the awesome CGI provided us a wonderful eye's view of their skeleton ghostly remains swashbuckling their boney asses off. A couple of earlier "action" scenes had been decent, but not particularly memorable. Having said all that, the whole "pirates" genre never interested me much in the first place, with explosions, big-ass ship bombings and men swinging their swords at one another simply not exciting me all that much. The film's also peppered with a couple of "let's act goofy for the kids" characters on each side of the law, with two of the pirates playing moron, and two more "good guy" soldiers doing the same. Didn't work for me. I liked the extremely well-executed homages to the actual Disney ride though, as well as the one small sequence featuring Jonathan Pryce which I took to be an homage to Sam Raimi and the EVIL DEAD flicks. Nice. Final verdict? Without Johnny Depp as the charismatic lead or the superior skeleton CGI fights, this film would have been perfect fare for a simple night at your local Shitbuster Video, or a decent afternoon for you and the kids. I personally would have liked more on-screen violence, more gore, more cleavage, more blood, more...actually, ANY of the above would have been nice to begin with, but this film plays it close to the vest, offers some easy-going summer entertainment, and despite running way too long and feeling somewhat "been there, done that", ultimately makes for an enjoyable evening back in the time of pirates, treasures, wenches and Natalie Portman lookalikes in distress.