Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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

"This is either madness...or brilliance."

"It's remarkable how often those two traits coincide."

This is my approximately 5 millionth viewing of this, and while admittedly I may be blinded by nostalgia, I still consider this the defining adventure epic of my generation.

Some quick thoughts:

—Johnny Depp: What else is there to say that hasn't been said already? Jack Sparrow is an instantly iconic, indelible, perfectly realized character, and Depp gives one of the best comedic performances of the 21st century. On a personal note, I've always loved characters who appear disorganized and impulsive on the surface, but are actually methodical and know precisely what they're doing.

—Orlando Bloom: I've seen nearly everyone who otherwise enjoys this film cite Orlando Bloom's performance as Will Turner as one of the film's major weaknesses, but I actually quite like his performance. It's very endearing, in an earnest, old-fashioned way. A lot of this movie works not only because of the character history that's made explicit (the connection between Turner and Swan at the beginning), but the implied history—Will having a father who succumbed to a life of piracy and how that hangs over his life, Jack and Barbossa's strained relationship because of a past mutiny, etc.) Even a seemingly throwaway gag in which Jack arrives at a degenerate-infested city and is slapped by a couple of prostitutes ultimately works in service of developing the character and giving the audience a sense of exactly who he is.

—Kiera Knightley: Marry me. Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, she's really good here, and a really cool heroine. But please, someone help her with the damn corset.

—Verbinski: Not only are the action sequences competently helmed (I love the final one between Jack and Barbossa, in which there's swordplay in the moonlight) but he develops a believable, tactile world with some great set design and cutting edge (for the time) visual effects.

—Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan: They totally did the deed when they were both drunk and marooned on the island, and that's not speculation, it's canon.

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