Pirates of the Caribbean, the Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) - A Return to the Classic Swashbuckler!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ah! Pirates and heroics, high-seas adventure and romance. This Disney film (based on an amusement park ride, no less) was the “little” film that no one expected anything of. Turns out critics and audiences alike quite underestimated its abilities. To this day, this film is still one of the highest-grossing blockbusters of recent years and it has inspired three subsequent box office hits. This title, the first in the series is by far the most memorable and is – for the most part, a good old-fashioned swashbuckler.

18th century Port Royal tolerates no pirates or any such shenanigans that might be construed as pirate activity, and yet a ship emerging from ghostly shadows encounters a recently looted and destroyed passenger ship. It's the governor's daughter who spots it, and the lifeless body of a boy. Brought safely aboard for medical attention, Elizabeth spies what appears the mark of a pirate in the form of a medallion around the boy’s neck, and fearing for his life, she removes it.

Some ten years later, Elizabeth (Kiera Knightly), the only child of Governor Swann (Jonathan Pryce), is all grown up. With hopes that his headstrong daughter will make a match with Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport), Elizabeth’s heart has never been stirred as when she is in the presence of childhood friend Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) – the man she rescued those many years ago. 

But everything changes when, the brazen and infamous pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) walks into all of their lives, and through a twist of fate rescues Miss Swann only to be arrested for his trouble.

Late that night with Jack safely locked away awaiting execution Port Royal comes under attack by the notorious Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). When the pirates break through the Governor’s mansion, Elizabeth is taken their captive which inspires Will to coordinate a rescue of his lady love… and straight to the jail cell of Captain Jack Sparrow.

What can one say about this by now well-known movie that hasn’t already been talked of and scrutinized? When the first television spots appeared, I remember thinking it sounded a little kooky. Fortunately for me, the DVD came out just in time to be a Christmas gift (for myself, of course!) and ever since then, this box office-topper has been a favored flick of mine. This movie is one of the best script, and includes some of the best special effect sequences from Hollywood. The comedy is funny without trying hard, and the sets are impressive. Overall, it's a clever film beyond contrast (especially when compared to its successors). Suffice to say, this quirky film is as lovable as it is adventurous.

Fortunately for the audience, the plot really has a lot more going for it than a clichéd kidnapping. Clocking in at over two hours, it involves an ancient treasure, a curse and some pretty creepy skeleton pirates. (If you think that sounds crazy, just wait until you see it on-screen – and all under the cover of darkness!) For the life of me, even I cannot place a finger on what it is that so interests me about 'Pirates.' It doesn’t have the usual pull or heart driving it, but its characters are rich in personality. Though not a devoted Depp fan, I will concede there is no one else who can pull off this interpretation of the swaggering Captain Jack Sparrow. He owns this character with the most authority ever. The supporting cast is just as great but mostly, this movie isn’t so much about award-winning performances but its candid, easy-going capacity to be, well… boatloads of FUN! 

Costuming and cinematography are among some of the best from Disney productions. Kiera’s European beauty is played up, and she's dressed in some of the most exquisite costumes. The amount of money that was spent on the making of this movie and its ensuing promotion is incredible. The talented crew don’t disappoint us and the entire show is not only cool to look at but an entertaining jaunt into the 1700’s – quite unlike any we’ve ever seen before. Even though much of the movie takes place on the high seas, there is never a dull moment – it's one adventure after the next. ⚔

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can rent or buy "Pirates," digitally on Amazon Video or on DVD.

(This film is rated PG13 because… there are several swordfights, various characters are injured or killed. One crew is “undead” and yet cannot ever die which opens the doors to any number of scenarios. Some sequences may be frightening to younger viewers. There are a few sexual innuendoes and the camera often sees Elizabeth in her undergarments – her gowns also display cleavage. There is some British profanity but nothing terrible. Jack doesn’t like to be without his rum.)


  1. I love this one, I must have seen it about 10 times. Captain Jack makes it. I think Knightly rather woodeden. But her dresses are so eleborate and elegant!

  2. Me, too, C.C! I actually need to watch this one again. The first in the "Pirates" series as well as the fourth are by far the best two in the series in my opinion.

    Would Disney even have this series without Johnny Depp!? I don't think so...

    Kiera does a decent job, but then, I like her as an actress so that may be why I like her in this role. =D But a lot of people have said that she annoys them.

  3. Sounds awesome! I feel left out cause I have'nt seen it :(
    But I really really want too!

  4. I hope you can see this, Rebekah! I simply LOVED it! There was something "magical" about the movie that has as yet to be recaptured. =D

    Enjoy "Pirates" whenever you have opportunity to see this.

  5. I LOVE this movie. If my entire DVD collection were wiped out, and I had to choose only five titles to re-purchase, this would be at the top of the list. It is just perfection.

  6. This is the only POTC movie I've seen.
    I think I enjoyed it(I probably watched three or four years ago)

  7. Charity - WOW! That is a compliment for this first "Pirates" movie. =D

    I really do need to re-watch this one since it's been ages since last I saw it. It was such a great movie - one that no one expected anything of.

    Ella - I hope you did enjoy this movie. =) It is the best of the series, but you should see the others sometime - or maybe just skip to number four. =D


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