Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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


Very satisfying to see one of Disney’s bloated special effects cash grabs actually be not that. This movie came out at a turning point in the blockbuster world where studios began manufacturing hit franchises. That’s mostly a bad thing, but for something like this it was still made at a time where craft on display is given the attention it deserves. This movie feels like it has a gritty, believable, and artistic touch. I love newer blockbusters like the stuff coming from the MCU or similar attempts, but with few exceptions it’s really starting to feel like the studios are afraid of letting the directors create something that has richness and texture thanks to the thousands of artists who put love and care into their work. The effects in this are mostly convincing, and the stuff that isn’t (the skeletons) is still really impressive. I don’t want to go on an anti CGI rant, because that’s not going to fix my issues with many more recent blockbusters, but the real consequence of the overuse of CGI is often that it waters down every opportunity for the craftspeople, the artists, to make decisions. If actors are acting in a big green box and what they’re acting around is being finalized for consumer approval six months later, then it cheapens the idea of the blockbuster epic.

This is a big movie that’s actually really creepy and potentially alienating that took smart risks and it paid off. I miss that. The big studios like Disney have more than enough money to take even bigger risks and yet they try to play it safe. I hope we see the return of big innovative movies soon, and not just from the rare Nolan or Villeneuve who has managed to be a profitable IP on their own.

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