Pirates of the Caribbean


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"Johnny Depp will swash your buckles off."



Pirates of the Caribbean:

Curse of the Black Pearl
The Masked Reviewer

The release date for Pirates of the Caribbean DVD is December 2, 2003.  You can purchase it by clicking here.

Hey, have you seen the new pirate film?  It's rated ARRRRRRR!  Ha!  The Masked Reviewer has waited his whole career for that joke.  Unfortunately, Pirates of the Caribbean is rated PG-13, but that's not as funny.

When's the last time you could come out of a movie and yell "Yo-Ho!" without being slapped by an offended woman?

When's the last time you saw a film based on an amusement park ride?  Was it "Cyclone"?  Oh, they haven't made that -- yet.  The trend, beginning with Pirates of the Caribbean and soon to be followed by this fall's Haunted Mansion deals with Disney rides.  How about "Space Mountain"?  Or maybe "Jungle Hunt"?  They could be next, based on the success of this film. 

And successful it is.  One would think that basing a big-budget feature film on a 30 year old ride in Disneyland might be a bad idea.  But, in fact, it's a great idea.  If you've been on the ride (or, as the Disneyians call it, "the attraction") then you're sure to get a pleasant nostalgic tingle at some of the spot-on recreations of visuals from the ride.  That'll make people want to go back to Disneyland (or Disneyworld) and ride the ride (or attract the attraction?) again and again.  And the ride will make people want to see the film.  It's genius, genius it is.  Heck, it may even cause some French people to visit EuroDisney. 

It's been many years since the Masked Reviewer visited a Disney park, but the visuals from Pirates of the Caribbean (the ride) are strong.  It takes a few moments to realize, but they are reproduced exactly in the film.  It's kind of a weird sensation.  But a pleasant one.  The Masked Reviewer won't give away anything here, but pretty much everything you remember from the ride will be in the film. 

Okay, so what if you've never been to a Disney park?  Well, the film itself still has something to offer.  We, as audiences, have been long awaiting a good pirate flick (whether we knew we were waiting for one or not).  How can you not like pirate films?  Big ships, swarthy men, lots of "aye"ing and "aarrrrg"ing.  Parrots, cannons, swords...it's good stuff for film.  (Try to forget about Renny Harlin's Cutthraot Island...there, wasn't that easy?)

Visually, Pirates is stunning.  Beautiful scenery, great costumes, it's just fun to look at.  The visual effects, which will undoubtedly get a lot of hype, are quite good too.  Although, there do tend to be a bit too many effects-for-effects sake moments.  There are quite a few computer animated skeletons, which are fine, but you'll recognize them as computer graphics. 

The acting is great.  Geoffrey Rush, who can sometimes be a bit of a ham, has found the perfect role as an evil pirate captain.  And Johnny Depp...well...Johnny Depp is brilliant.  Johnny Depp will swash your buckles off.  Johnny Depp is always good, and his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow is perfect.  He's funny and entertaining throughout the fairly long movie, making it fly by.  Keira Knightly (Bend It Like Beckham) is lovely to look at and makes for a fine lass (in the interests of taste, the Masked Reviewer will simply say that he'd pillage her booty any day...ARRR!).  Orlando Bloom is great as well as the eager young youngster.  In fact, everyone had their mainsail raised for this one.   But Johnny Depp stands above the rest.

The story of the film is fine.  It's not too confusing or too laborious, and it serves its purpose, which is to get us from one big fight scene to the next big special effect. 

All in all, it's a terrifically fun movie.  It's not deep or life altering, but it's a nice, light, enjoyable film.  It's not a kid's movie, though.  There is some violence and a couple of scary parts might have parents swabbing the deck cleaning up after their young children.  But there are only two scary bits, and most kids can handle it.  Besides, they're kids, they'll be fine.  Toughen up.

They do sing the "Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me," song.  What more do you want?  It's got "Aaargh," "Avast!", and "Aye!" and all the other "A"'s in the pirate dictionary.  Perhaps because this film is based on a ride (when's "Tikki Room: the Movie" coming out?) the expectation was dreadfully low.  If you go in expecting nothing, you'll be very pleasantly surprised.  If you go in expecting a good film, you'll be happy too. 

This film should not be confused with Pilates of the Caribbean, that new tropical exercise video.  That's not nearly as good.


Expectation from the Title: The fish out of water story of a baseball team transplanted from Pittsburgh to Santo Domingo.  As the players struggle with cultural differences, they also work to develop their unlucky local player, Pepe, nicknamed: the Black Pearl.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  If Johnny Depp were any better, he'd have to be two different actors.

The Pros: Johnny Depp is perfect.  It's fun, nostalgic, and more fun.

The Cons: No women ravaged on screen.  Not enough sexiness in Knightley's traditional garb.  Nobody said "shiver me timbers."

Here's a special addendum.  If you were looking for Pirates of the Carribean, you spelled it wrong.  Carribean should be "Caribbean", and "Carribean" is just wrong.  Same thing if you were looking for info on Orlando Blume.  That's not his name.  The Masked Reviewer makes mistakes too, and he's got your back.  He knows what you're looking for.  It's here.

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