Saturday, 9 August 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

"Welcome to the Caribbean, love!"

I saw this film at the cinema, and enjoyed it then as much as I enjoyed it again now. Mark Kermode may not like it much, but it's a rollickingly enjoyable adventure film with a superbly charismatic turn from Johnny Depp, although I must admit it's bloody long. Keira Knightly is quite good too, and even the fact that the uber-wooden Orlando Bloom plays our Jim Hawkins figure doesn't ruin things. Not bad for a film based on a theme park ride.

Obviously the introductory scene with Jack Sparrow- from the moment he casually steps from the mast of his sinking ship on to dry land until his capture and inprisonment under sentence of hanging- is the best thing in the film, but things don't flag in spite of the fact that there's ages to go. There's lots of nice usage of the tropes of the pirate genre and a bit of the supernatural mixed in there too. The plot may show a few signs of having been written by committee, but the film is all about the set pieces. And they deliver. 

What really lifts this film, though, is the utterly magnificent performance of Johnny Depp; this is a premier example of a potentially average film being elevated by his star into something greater. Case in point: the scene where Jack and Elizabeth, marooned, get pissed together on an island works entirely because of his performance. We're all rooting for him, and it's fitting that he's allowed to flee at the end.

Thing is, though. How will the sequels stand up? After all, Mark Kermode has certainly slated them most entertainingly...

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