Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl ★★★★½

This movie inaugurated me to all its leading cast members: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightley, Jack Davenport, and Jonathan Price. What an introduction! Great performances from Knightley and Bloom, but it's the pirates Jack Sparrow (Depp) and Barbossa (Rush) that steal the show (pun intended).

The best aspect to me is that it isn’t what you would expect from the genre. All other Pirate films tended to follow bland plot lines of finding buried treasure, but this twists that and turns it into more of a ghost story. Plus its characters are really well written and have proper motivations. Add in the solid action scenes, legitimately impressive period detail and set design of the towns and ships, and you have a pirate movie that feels real.

That’s important because it makes the audience feel like they could insert themselves into the action. Most past pirate flicks have this inherently artificial soundstage look to them, like “Captain Blood,” “Treasure Island,” or “Hook.” But the characters and environments of “Pirates of the Caribbean” look lived in, and that goes a long way to giving the movie atmosphere. Four and a half stars.

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