Christopher Berry’s review published on Letterboxd:
How much can you do with a movie based on theme-park ride? Apparently the possibilities are amazing and "Pirates of the Caribbean" was a runaway hit! So many consider this as one of the best movies ever made or just the finest adventure flick we've had in decades. Truth be told, It is a breezy, rousing old-fashioned blockbuster of those swashbuckling yesteryears but told with the state of the art movie technology to give us something that had never been seen yet in scope and scale. Director Gore Verbinski was a stupendous choice as director. He alone really makes this and his following two sequels excel in their immaculate reality, outstanding action sequences and tonal excellence; to show us the "Pirates Life" like never before. The visuals are largely practical, striking and sincere, with CG used when necessary. The CG effects on Barbossa's crew are top-notch if not as impeccable rendered as they are in 'Dead Man's Chest' or 'At World's End.'
"The Curse of the Black Pearl" also introduced some of the most memorable movies characters we have seen in a while. The big one being Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. The Man, the myth, the legend! Everyone just fell in love with this roguish, deceptively clever drunkard and Depp's performance has rarely wavered even when the subsequent sequels didn't quite explore his character as much as one could hope. Geoffrey Rush is equally as great as Barbossa, whom was such a sinister, sly adversary in the original. Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swan is rarely just a damsel in distress or love interest but a trail-blazing, independent fighter that shows her worth along the way. Will Turner is the least interesting of the leads but plays a vital role as the "straight-man" of the picture; a leading man that represents the audience in many ways and Orlando Bloom does a fine enough job with it. The rest of the supporting cast (Gibbs, Pintel & Ragetti included) is stellar and so endearing. While I can't say the story is all together outstanding, it is the witty dialogue, charming cast and excellent direction carry this movie tremendously and Klaus Badelt's (one of composer Hans Zimmer's apprentices) indelible "He's a Pirate" music suite sweeps it all up into one imaginative, adventurous package! - 8/10 (B+)