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THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, 2003
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CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, ,     MOVIE POSTERPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, 2004
Movie Reviews

Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce,
Review by Andrew Kosarko


SYNOPSIS:

When Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), an eccentric rogue, arrives at Port Royal, he barely avoids going down with his ship. Soon enough, he's in the market for a new one, but not before he saves the life of Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the beautiful daughter of the governor (Jonathan Pryce). This act of bravery sets into motion a sweeping adventure involving Elizabeth's childhood friend, blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom); a mysterious medallion; and a legendary pirate ship, the Black Pearl. The Pearl's mottled Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) wants Elizabeth's doubloon necklace, and when she's kidnapped by the ol' salty dog and his crew, Sparrow and young Will must rescue her and find out the truth behind the ship's curse.

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REVIEW:

Drink up me hearties yo hoe. This was a movie that delivered on all expectations. The trailers and advertising were not misleading, for once. Pirates is by no means an accurate assessment of that world in that time period, however it draw itís inspirations from the folklore and events and then brings them all to the same level of entertainment like quality. Disneyfication one would say. Regardless, what is delivered is a fun filled action packed blockbuster film. Mark that as the first comment Iíve listed in one of my reviews that could be stuck in a TV spot.

The Story: Brilliantly constructed with a backstory that feeds into the present. The characterization is strongly differential and makes each entity easily identifiable for their actions. The audience can get into the shoes of each character and predict their outcomes. The great thing is, each choice is made in the moment and not dragged out. Thus the audience is not behind nor ahead of the film Ė keeping them entranced in every moment. And thatís what a story is, a series of moments. The one thing above all is that you can tell this film was conceived out of love and admiration for the world that these characters inhabit. There was no real monitory desire that sparked the genius that became this film Ė at least from a creative standpoint of itís birth.

Acting: What can I say? Itís well known that Johnny Depp steals this show. But that is not a fair assessment to the supporting cast of Bloom, Knightley and others. Even Rush does a fantastic job. In a genre of Pirate films that is not seen these days, and most likely wonít be seen outside this franchise for a while, there is so much fresh territory to explore. Lesser actors would not have taken this opportunity to play around and have so much fun in creating their characters. But Depp is the one who jumps off the cliff blindfolded. According to online rumor, he upset the screenwriters with his Jack Sparrow performance and had to be defended by a studio head who was a friend of his to be allowed to continue it. This is an instance where the abilities of an actor had to be trusted, and when itís one as dedicated as Depp, a true acting artist, you go with.

Directing: Gore Verbinski really didnít have much of a track record before this film. Nor did he after. And itís shocking on both counts. This was a major block buster film with heavy action sequences, big time actors and a tone that did not match anything in portfolio. However, everything he does works gloriously. It all melds together into a solid film that meets every demand.

Cinematography: Itís that warm sepia tone that is drizzled over every scene that is always so inviting in films. In this film itís needed against the contrast of the cold blues we get from the seas as we sail about with the characters. The colors and tone all match beautifully with the world and the story. The shot design is spot on to deliver every plot point and emotion intended. Very well done.

Production Design: The period piece aspect presents a great challenge to any production designer. But in this case, the design matches the cinematography and throught out all the over the top aspects of this film, thereís still some degree of gritty realism that stands out. I thank the production design for this as I feel any other direction would have taken the audience out of the world. Nothing is clean and pretty as one would expect from a Disney film but on the other side of the coin itís not so far gone that a family couldnít enjoy the film.

Editing: Thereís a lot of back and forth that comes out of the story and if the editing was not as solid as it is, it could have hurt a lot. There are many wide shots that cover everything as to give the ensemble cast their due, but overall the pacing is well and thereís always a level of excitement or intrigue maintained.

Score: There is not an ill word that can be spoken about this score. Iím pretty sure it was ghost written by Hans Zimmer, taken away to work on a bigger franchise picture and then Bedlt just came in to take his place being one of Zimmers many apprentices at Remote Control.

Special Effects: While the effects are not Jurassic Park amazing, they fit the style of the film. The story, acting, directing, score and music are already so grand and epic that you really donít feel cheapened by the looks of the CGI. In addition, a lot of the action is still done practically and so I donít feel as though the CGI Skeletons were a cop out.

In closing: Pirates of the Caribbean is a fun movie. Thatís all it is and is trying to be. It lives up to everything youíd expect out of a Disney movie based on pirates. It tries to be somewhat accurate to the mythology and folkore of pirates while being family friendly. It is a great movie to sit back with a bag of popcorn to. You watch these funny characters in these fresh situations and enjoy every minute of it. Not to shabby if you ask me.

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CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL


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