“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” Review
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
– for action adventure violence.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Keira Knightley
Running Time: 2 hours, 23 minutes
For the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, like the high seas the world over, present a vast playground where adventure and mystery abound. But Jack’s idyllic life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal, kidnapping the Governor’s beautiful daughter, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Elizabeth’s childhood friend, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), joins forces with Jack to commandeer the fastest ship in the British fleet, the HMS Interceptor, in a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl. Unbeknownst to Will, there is a curse that has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead. When exposed to moonlight, they are transformed into living skeletons. The curse they carry can be broken only if a once-plundered treasure is restored…
The Pirates of the Caribbean is best known as a ride at both Disney World and Disneyland. I remember first riding the ride at the age of seven (that would be 1987 to be exact) and loving everything about this visually exciting trip through a pirate smorgasbord. Since my first time riding the ride, I have ridden it only once, ironically just two weeks ago as part of me and my wife’s honeymoon. Although the boat ride’s water drop off is hardly as steep as my seven-year-old self remembers it, the ride is a visually exciting and fun to behold as ever. But who would ever have thought that ride would make such a phenomenal motion picture?
First-off, I have to say I don’t care for Johnny Depp. However, I was left in awe by his captivating performance that made every moment of his screen time a joy to behold. He brought such life and charisma to Captain Jack Sparrow and an original believability. He pranced around in a sort-of drunken stupor offering a rock solid crazy-yet-charming performance. Depp’s performance is a prime example of how mislead Hollywood’s Academy Awards can be. A film like this would never be recognized and it really is a shame.
Another favorite among the ladies, Orlando Bloom, who most first saw in the two Lord of the Rings films, was fun to watch in this more fleshed out and easier-to-relate-to role. And the beautiful Keira Knightley was wonderful as the tough yet feminine princess. Director Gore Verbinski (The Ring), along with producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Gone In 60 Seconds, Armageddon) have put together a borderline ingenious piece of summer fanfare. The film exceeds all expectations one might have for a film based on a theme park ride, offering a truly exciting two-hours of action/adventure. Sadly though, this film marks Disney’s first ever PG-13 release under the Disney title. While that may be fine to some, it just reassures us of the moran decline of our society. But this is definitely not a kids movie, so you’ll want to leave the young ones home for sure on this one. The special effects for the undead skeletons was excellent. Content wasn’t too bad with the exception of some excessive violence — especially during the film’s climax. However, it was very rare when this violence would turn graphic.
Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean really impressed me. The movie’s hardly squeaky clean in the violence department, but it is an excellent action / adventure picture that blends the creepiness of The Mummy with the adventure tones of Indiana Jones. I highly recommend this film to anyone who was a fan of the old swashbuckling films. However, I urge you to leave the younger ones home. Well done Bruckheimer and Verbinski for creating a wonderful summer film! Oh, and be sure to remain seated till after the film’s credits roll. Patient viewers won’t want to miss a brief scene tucked away at the end that explains what happened to one of the film’s characters.
- John DiBiase (reviewed: 7/10/03)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
Sex/Nudity: Just a few comments, including Jack teasing Will by calling him a eunuch; we see Elizabeth (and other women throughout the film) in low-cut outfits.
Vulgarity/Language: 1 “bej*sus”, 1 “d*mn,” 2 “G-d forsaken”, multiple uses of “d*mned” as an adjective; and 1 “Mary, mother of G-d”
Alcohol/Drugs: A good amount of drinking. In one sequence, we see Elizabeth and Jack drinking rum which Jack gets drunk off of and passes out.
Blood/Gore: We see many skeletal pirates throughout the film. Many of the “undead” pirates look like they still have some muscle on their bones in a state of decay. It will be truly unsettling to some viewers. We see blood on a knife after a man has been stabbed. We see some blood on the palm of a hand as it is cut along with some blood on a knife and a piece of gold. A character is stated as having his tongue cut out and when he opens his mouth we briefly and partially see that his tongue had once been cut. We see a gunshot hole in a man’s shirt but there is no blood. A fork gets stuck in a pirate’s wooden eye before the pirate removes it still stuck to the fork. Later we see a hand with a scrape on it and some blood. We see a character who has been shot suddenly have blood rapidly appear on their clothing.
Violence: A lot of swashbuckling violence. Many soldiers are killed during a battle with heavily implied throats being cut, characters stabbed lethally, etc. Most deaths are implied and not graphically shown.