Pirates of the Caribbean movie review, dvd, poster

Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom

Directed by Gore Verbinski
Rated PG-13
for action/adventure violence

1/4 out of Stars, Movie Grade: B-
movie trailer

Theatrical Release: July 9, 2003
Running time: 140 minutes

by Kevin Lang

The film version of the popular Walt Disney amusement park ride unfolded much like the ride itself, full of swashbuckling stunts, sword fighting, explosions, and a damsel in distress. Directed by Gore Verbinski ("The Ring," 2002), "Pirates of the Caribbean" was a moderately fun adventure movie with a moderately engaging story, whose two-hour and twenty-minute runtime however, well outlasted the strength of the film's grasp.

The plot revolved around the Black Pearl, a ship that was full of cursed pirates led by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). The pirates of the Black Pearl pillaged seaport towns in search of a lost medallion made from Aztec gold. Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the local governor's daughter, was in possession of this medallion; the final piece needed to rid the evil pirates of their curse. How she originally discovered the medallion connected her to a local blacksmith named Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), with whom she was in love. Enter Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a pirate captain who had been the victim of a recent mutiny. While in search of a new ship, Jack stumbled upon Will, and the two soon found themselves working together to save Elizabeth, who had been taken by the cursed pirates (In addition to the medallion, the pirates believed that they needed Elizabeth's blood to lift the curse). This led to an abundance of explosions, stunts, a damsel in distress, and a few unexpected surprises.

At times, "Pirates of the Caribbean" felt more like waiting in line for an amusement park ride than the actual ride itself. Although its scenes of action were fun to watch, the film kept the audience at a distance with characters like Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow, who fit the story, but offered little appeal. Orlando Bloom ("The Lord of the Rings") was enjoyable as the likable Will Turner, and Keira Knightley ("Bend It Like Beckham," 2003) fit the role of the damsel, who looked a little like Wynona Ryder in appearance.

In the end, "Pirates of the Caribbean" wasn't a bad film. It offered good-looking special effects that transformed the pirates of the Black Pearl into walking skeletons. Especially memorable was a scene where Barbossa took a drink and you could see it literally run through his body. However, a year from now the film will most likely only be remembered as the first PG-13 film to be branded with the Walt Disney logo, or better yet, that film that everyone had to see because it was a PG-13 Disney movie. What was the name of it again?

"Pirates of the Caribbean" Review written July 8, 2003, CTF.

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