Pirates Of The Caribbean

Review Date:
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
An abandoned, goofy pirate finds his way to a small town which is soon thereafter, invaded by actual, cursed buccaneers. In the ensuing fray, the governor’s daughter is nabbed by the baddies and the rogue pirate, recruited by a local Legolasian blacksmith. The duo set sail to find the lovely lady and in doing so, learn more about themselves. Aaaaaaaaah. Oh yeah, skeleton pirates ensue!!
A fun, easy-going movie offering a handful of chuckles, a bunch of adventures, a decent storyline, three gorgeous leads, and plenty of skeletons swinging swords, but ultimately too PG-13 for my taste, a tad redundant during its midsection and definitely too long at a bloated 140-minutes. But before I get into any of the specifics, allow me to say that if any other actor than Sir Johnny Depp had played the lead role of Jack Sparrow (oops, I mean…Captain Jack Sparrow), I would likely have fallen asleep about halfway through this film. That’s not to say that the rest of the movie stinks without him-it doesn’t, it’s actually a decent, if somewhat safe summer ride (kinda like the Disney theme ride on which it’s based), but Depp absolutely makes this film happen with his hilarious performance as the mascara-sporting, wobble-legged drunken pirate channeling a drag queen through the rhythm and manner of The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards (and did I sense a tribute to his own performance from FEAR & LOATHING in there as well?) Thank you, Mr. Depp…for remaining the quintessential actor’s actor, a man who doesn’t ride fame on his good looks, but injects every single one of his performances with a special touch, a differing wink, a memorable line or look. I’m investing this ink on Depp because he really takes this film to another level and even had me missing him in scenes in which he was not a part. Sure, Keira Knightley is a babe and a half and Orlando Bloom, a dashing co-star, but Depp…aaaaaah, Depp. Harumph…alright, enough about him. Geoffrey Rush also does a decent job of playing the over-the-top villain, but unfortunately for him, managed to come off as somewhat “boring” compared to the actor to whom I just jerked off a couple of lines ago.

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.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian