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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2005
**1/2

God bless Johnny Depp, for without him "Pirates of the Caribbean" would be just another empty big budget studio extravaganza - juvenile, bloated and over-reliant on stunt work and special effects. But thanks to Depp's brave and witty performance, the film rises above its own inherent weaknesses to become at least a halfway entertaining picture. He is the real treasure here.

"Inspired" - if one dares use so lofty a term - by the Disney theme park attraction of the same name, "Pirates" takes us to the never-never land of swashbuckling heroes and shiver-me-timbers foolishness. Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow, a pirate who was left for dead on an island by his mutinous crew. Sparrow, captain of the legendary Black Pearl, a ship with the reputation for possessing evil, unearthly powers, has now returned from his exile and is ready to exact revenge on the mates who abandoned him. There's really no point in thrashing out the complicated but essentially simpleminded plot here. Suffice it to say that it involves a diabolical curse, a literal ghost ship with a literal skeleton crew, a feisty damsel-in-distress and enough repetitive swordplay and "avast me, hardy" dialogue to keep the action adventure crowd purring with contentment.

For all the care that has gone into the look of the film - the costumes, set design and computer-generated special effects - "Pirates of the Caribbean" would sink pretty quickly were it not for Depp giving his all to keep it afloat. His lisping, flamboyant, over-the-top approach to the character is exactly what this stale little tale needs to lift it above the ordinary. One has only to see Depp mincing around - where anyone else in the part would have been swaggering - to verify what we have known all along about Depp as an actor, which is that he is willing to take risks and explore different avenues when tackling a role, even one as lightweight and insubstantial as this one. He turns what could have been a mere walk-through, check-cashing part into an inspired comic turn. One can only imagine what a boring movie this would have been without him. For, indeed, the story itself is silly and the other characters (except for Geoffrey Rush`s evil Captain Barbossa) stiff, dull and uninteresting. But Depp is the real deal, and all I can say is that I hope he received a large percentage of the film`s phenomenal box office booty. Like any good pirate, he deserves it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2004
Gore Verbinski's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is a wonder of production design. The props, sets, and costumes all look wonderful. However, the film sinks because of uninspired directing and logic errors in the story that annoyingly grate on your mind. In the end, this production stands exposed for what it really is - a shallow marketing tool created for the sole purpose of attracting more people to the Disney theme parks.
A bitter rivalry between Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is re-ignited when the two men cross paths once again. Barbossa is desperately trying to lift an ancient curse that has condemned him and his crew to continue living as undead pirates. He has discovered that the key to ending the curse is a young man named Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), but naturally Sparrow does not want to make matters easy for Barbossa so he decides to aid the youth. A grand battle then erupts when the Royal Navy, in search of the missing Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), engages the cursed crew while Sparrow and Barbossa face-off for the last time.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is another example of a film that is a slave to its special effects. Its visuals look spectacular and lush on the big screen. Especially impressive are all of the moments in which the cursed crew come into contact with moonlight. Yet, there is only a skeleton of a story to connect all the big special effects-laden sequences together. One gets the feeling that all of the action scenes in this film were storyboarded first and plot elements to link them together were added after the fact. Depp and Rush perform admirably in their roles and are the only two performers who are able to do anything with the material given to them. Less memorable are Bloom who is wooden from beginning to end and Knightley who exudes very little charisma in an underwritten part. Furthermore, the characters played by Jonathan Pryce and Jack Davenport are one-dimensional caricatures and totally unnecessary. Too bad the creative staff behind "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" couldn't loot a better director and a better script from elsewhere.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2004
Okay, this review is going to make me extremely unpopular, but some dissenting opinion of this film is required, I feel. Back when "Pirates" was in theatres, the trailors gave me no compulsion to watch the film. However, so many of my (female) friends insisted that this was the greatest movie ever. So eventually I went to see it, and was quite disappointed.
If one looks at other movies I've reviewed for amazon, you would see that I'm generally a very generous and easy-to-please moviewatcher. However, I was not overly impressed by "Pirates". The movie was not terrible; I had an "okay" time watching it. However, I really didn't see what set it apart from the next piece of action-packed, cheesy special effect-ridden Hollywood fluff like "Hulk" or "Daredevil". I left the theatre thinking, "that was it? What was so great about it?" Some girl is going to bash me on the head and yell, "Johnny Depp, you fool!" True, I admit that Depp's performance was mildly amusing at times, but oscar-worth stuff it ain't. I find it to be around the same calibre as something from Jack Black, but no one is nominating Jack for an oscar.
The plot of the movie was...absurd at best. The special effects weren't anything groundbreaking, and added with the plot, it produced a very cheesy movie, the kind you watch once and forget about. Personally I felt that, despite the movie offically being a comedy, it took its childish and ridiculous premise way too seriously.
My feeling is that this film attained its level of popularity primarily due to the "sex appeal" of the film, particularly for the female audience. My female friends insist that Johnny Depp is some kind of irresistible sex machine, and the addition Orlando Bloom is just icing on the Depp cake. However, being a heterosexual male, the antics of Depp and Bloom do dreadfully little for me. Keira Knightly, although objectively a pretty girl, is really not my type, and furthermore did not create a distinguishing and memorable character for me. All she seemed to do was to get kidnapped, then do some obligatory "girl power" fighting towards the end. So basically, there was really just nothing for me.
In the end the only character I really liked was that very honourable commodore who didn't get the girl and gracefully stepped aside to allow Bloom and Knightly's characters to be together. That guy earns my respect.
In my opinion, this film was standard Saturday-night faire, not terrible to watch, but well-described by words like "forgettable" and "undistinguishing". And now I must hide myself as many girls will seek my death for such "blasphemy" against the sex-god Johnny Depp's movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2014
Not for younger kids for sure, but even as an adult I didn't appreciate all the gore sceens of skeletons acting out. Disney can produce way better films than that.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2014
PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL Directed by Gore Verbinski. Script by four writers(always a bad sign. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Jonathan Pryce and Geoffrey Rush.

An overproduced overly complicated far too long Pirate horror film in which a pirate, a hero and a heroine encounter a pirate ship crewed by the living dead who need the blood of their betrayer(or his sons) and a final coin to free themselves from a terrible curse.

After beginning reasonably well, the film opens fire with an endless barrage of constant stuff that finally becomes boring. Every scene has to be a high point. Every line of dialogue exceddingly clever and witty and everything in the picture eventually turns out to have some signifigance giving the whole thing a terribly contrived and preassembled feel. The action sequences...especially the duels are uninspired and dreary(compare same with, for example, SHANGHAI KNIGHTS) and go on and on and on. The plot occaisionally makes no sense.......but after a point the viewer ceases to care. The performances from Depps one note repetative imitation of Keith Richards to Blooms is dull as dishwater hero and Knightlys annoying in that modern feminist heroine way........and is a dull heroine singularly uninteresting or likable. Rush is okay but he is doing a Robert Newton impersonation.

This would have been a much better film with, at least, a half hour--if not an hour chopped from it but at nearly 2 and 30, it is too long by far. The kind of film Universal-International used to make in their sleep in the 50s with Tony Curtis and Maureen OHara but now modern Hollywood can't even manage awake.

Not bad. Not good. There are a sequels.
Dont care.
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on December 18, 2014
If you have seen one "pirates" movie...yep
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2003
Ordinarily our DVD can fill the screen on any widescreen movie, but this one is preprogrammed to override your DVD player settings giving you big fat black lines top and bottom. Friends of ours complained about the same effect on their widescreen rearprojection TV. Great movie, but who wants to spend 140 minutes looking at a tiny picture on a big TV set? I guess the people who produced the DVD want everyone to go out and buy a 10,000 dollar plasma TV.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2014
Does JD have any expression other than "blank"? Because if he does, I've never seen it. That's why he still looks so young ... he never moves his face except when he has to talk ... which is entirely too much.
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on June 2, 2015
So so
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2003
This movie's premise is fairly good. A group of pirates stole 882 peices of cursed Aztec gold, spent it and found that the curse made them unable to be killed, yet also unable to experience life. To end the curse the pirates must gather all 882 pieces and for some unexplained reason douse them with the blood of William Turner (a deceased pirate) or his descendant. The special effects, sets and settings are terrific but some of the acting is just too over the top. Will Turner played by Orlando Bloom is totally unbelievable, Jack Sparrow played by an over eye-lined Johnny Depp is frankly annoying and Commander Norrington is just too inept. Probably the most annoying part of the movie was the comic relief provided by a pair of British Redcoats and a pair of cursed pirates. Every time either one of these pairs appeared on screen I cringed. Johnny Depp has maybe five amusing lines, but for the most part his mincing, overblown portrayal of a pirate captain left me nearly retching. If this is the best modern filmakers can do making a pirate movie, I see why its a genre whose time is gone.
Enjoyable if you are a kid or have an IQ of less than 60, otherwise I'd pass.
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