TonytheBlind1’s review published on Letterboxd:
I remember seeing this in the theater upon it's release and when it came out I loved it. Although I've only seen this one and the 4th one, which was an abortion, I've heard enough about the 2nd and 3rd installments about them being pretty shitty. I'm not saying I'll never see them, but they haven't come across my tracks as of yet, and I'm not seeking them out. Anyway, I would assume the majority of people would say this is the best one by far, and I think it holds up quite well.
Granted I haven't seen all of Gore Verbinski's films, but of the ones I have (The Mexican, The Ring, PoC:CotBP, and Rango), thiswould easily be m,y favorite. The film is just a lot of fun, and the adventure element is great. There really aren't many lulls in the entire film. I also think that the skeleton CGI is extremely good, better than a lot of effects I've seen since this came out. It's got a great score that definitely helps in keeping you engaged throughout the film. And the overall look of the film is great as well. From the costumes to the ships, I tell you, this movie is definitely a high quality film in regards to production value.
I was also a fan of the performances in this. Of course Johnny Depp is very well known for being a great actor, and I would fully agree with that, especially in this. He gets into character so amazingly and seemingly does it without effort. His body language and speech is perfect for the Jack Sparrow character. I also loved the performance of Geoffrey Rush, he has a great look for a pirate too, and I honestly think he is a very good actor that I don't see in very many films. Orlando Bloom was all right, I wouldn't say this is his best work, but his character is likable and endearing. I also liked my girl Keira Knightley in this quite a bit. I want to say this is the first film I ever saw her in, and if that's correct, then it's also where I fell in love with her. This was near the beginning of her career, which I think is turning out to be an outstanding one. The rest of the cast is very good as well, I would say that most if not all, of the smaller roles are performed at a high quality level.
Overall, I loved it, and although this is probably my 8th or 9th viewing of this film over the last decade, I will reiterate that it's still tons of fun, and is a well paced adventure flick that is most likely a family favorite for almost everybody that wees it.
It currently sits at #9 on my top films of 2003 list.