Holly-Beth’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Wherever we want to go, we'll go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs but what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom."
I've been absolutely obsessed with this movie since I was 11 years old... And I can assure you that I'm not using the word 'obsessed' lightly. I used to have it on a loop in my room everyday after school for about 2 years. My walls were covered in posters, I had all the merchandise, etc, etc. I even spent a few days pausing the film every few seconds to write down every piece of dialogue, for literally no reason other than because I loved every single fucking line that those characters said to a ridiculous degree.
It was the very first film that I ever LOVED. It's the film that got me into film. As convoluted as this sounds, watching this film and initially having a crush on Orlando Bloom led me to the Lord of the Rings movies, which led me to Viggo Mortensen, which led me to Cronenberg, which eventually led me to becoming a film student and wanting to write my own films.
The special edition DVD, that I wore down and broke and had to replace multiple times, had a sticker on the front that boasted over 24-hours worth of special features, including 4 different audio commentaries-- and you can bet your life that I watched/listened to all them them tens of times.
It came with:
- A behind-the-scenes featurette.
- 3 video diaries from the shoot.
- "Fly on the Set" unedited looks at the shooting of 5 key scenes.
- An in-depth breakdown of the then state-of-the-art CGI.
- 19(!) deleted scenes.
- Documentaries about Pirate history and folklore.
- Disney archive footage from the 50s-60s following everything from Walt Disney's presentation of the theme park attraction's conception, to it's construction and it's later adaption into the 2003 film.
They really pulled out all the stops on this DVD, if you put the disc into your computer, you even had the option of watching the movie split-screened with the scanned screenplay and the storyboards scrolling alongside. And most importantly to 11 year old me, you could turn yourself into an undead pirate skeleton! I knew everything about how this film was made, and what it takes to make a film of this colossal size and I found it all, without exception, fascinating.
I still get the urge to watch it every couple of months, without fail. I usually watch it when I have a awful day or if I'm feeling sick and by the end of it suddenly everything doesn't seem so bad after all.
I love the soundtrack, the costumes, the beautiful cinematography and the Caribbean settings, George Marshall Ruge and the great Bob Anderson's masterful choreography of the sword fights, the lavish Isla de Muerta cave stage set, the tongue-in-cheek nature of the screenplay, the ships!!!, Barbossa's chilling monologues, and how original of a character Captain Jack Sparrow is thanks to Johnny Depp's iconic performance. (Among many, many other things.)
But, look, I'm not insane, I do realize that it has faults: it's WAY too long, the second act is repetitive, Orlando Bloom is wooden af, the character of Elizabeth is essentially one dimensional in this first film... But... I just can't bring myself to give a shit?
P.S. I also love the next two sequels.
P.P.S. I'm not sorry.