Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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

Seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is so refreshing. It's an adventure film that takes itself as seriously as drinking rum on a beach, as it explores its own plot with such unusual personality and fun abandon.

It all begins with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, a slightly insane pirate distant from his surroundings and motivated by his own basic wants and needs. That in a nutshell is also the spirit of Black Pearl, as it keeps to blockbuster conventions like heroism, redemption, revenge, and romance merely as guiding light for whatever fun it finds along the way. That's why Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan are such dull characters, they're only there to provide a solid ground for our expectations of what has to happen in an adventure movie.

The real joy of Black Pearl is its anarchic spontaneity, existing in such characters as the surreal Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbarossa (both played with relish by Depp and Geoffrey Rush) and in Gore Verbinski's exciting direction that effortlessly balances action, comedy, horror, and romance with perfect gritty period details.

Is its shame later entries in this series got bogged down in convention and imitation, cause The Curse of the Black Pearl remains a fun and unpredictable adventure unlike many of its action/adventure kin.

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