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:: Pirates Of The Caribbean:curse Of The Black Pearl

Directed by Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt, The Mexican, The Ring), Produced by action supremo Jerry Bruckheimer, Written by Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio (Shrek and currently Shrek 2) and several others, and based on a Disney theme park ride (huh?), this film has “blockbuster hit” written all over it. But one wonders out of all this extremely talented and experienced team, did nobody even stop to wonder why this “theme park ride” based film have to be so long? (2 and a half hours!) Hmmm!

A rogue gypsy pirate, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), and handsome young sword smith, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), sails the seven seas in search of the Black Pearl ship and evil Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). The lovely fair maiden and general’s daughter, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) has been kidnapped by Barbossa and mistaken for one of the last remaining pirates whose blood is needed to break an evil ancient curse. The naughty Ms. Swann is mistaken for a pirate when she steals handsome Mr. Turners’ medallion on a ship when they were children, she’s kept it ever since. They both only have eyes for each other if only they’d realise it soon enough. But once she’s kidnapped, oh no, they realise how much time they’ve lost and how much in love they truly are.

Meanwhile, Jack is on a mission of his own and that is to escape the clutches of the governor who wants him hanged, and the evil Barbossa who doesn’t trust his shady ways. Jack plays them both off against each other to get what he’s always wanted the Black Pearl to sail whichever way the wind blows. Rest assured Jack does come good in the end and the fair maiden is saved and returned to her general father and to her rightful love, Will. Jack meanwhile finds his golden fleece (rum in the Caribbean) and gets the ship to sail him there.

This is a classic good against evil tale with plenty swashbuckling, sword fighting scenes to enjoy in between the long, dull and predictable narrative. The special effects are impressive, especially in one of the big fighting sequences in the underground cave between Jack and Barbossa. The cursed pirates turn into the ghosts of their dead former selves in the moonlight and, during this fight, the two fall in and out of the moonlight, shifting from human to skeleton.

Yes, Johnny Depp is as good as everyone says he is. In fact, he is better. His portrayal of this gypsy shady pirate is dead-on, so convincing that his mother wouldn’t recognise him. His character is what lifts the movie from ho-hum to ah-ha. Through the clever writing, Depp displays a knack for comedy and comedic timing; a lesser actor would have failed at this. Depp has proven he can play anything. He is one of the truly talented and original well-rounded, complex actors left in Hollywood. Hang on, he’s in France now! A Disney family pirate movie? Yes, he can cross that one off his list. It will be exciting to see what he does next.

Geoffrey Rush was also a pleasure to see as Barbossa, a role strangely suited to him and well delivered. Orlando Bloom, as beautiful as he is, does the best Errol Flynn impersonation on screen for a long time and Keira Knightly pouts her way through Ms. Swann and does the damsel-in-distress thing quite convincingly. It was also a pleasure to see The Office’s Mackenzie Crook (Gareth) on screen in a hilarious part of the one-eyed pirate.

The cast is what makes the film and what rescues it from complete and utter boredom. A cliched and predictable pirate film that had the pleasure of being unleashed to the public at a very lacklustre time where Hollywood blockbusters just aren’t what they used to be