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Dan Heller's Movie Review of "Pirates of the Caribbean"

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Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom
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Ahoy Maties! Grab your swords and board the dreaded pirate ship, the Black Pearl, and sail back in time to when you were a kid at Disneyland, going through the boat ride, "Pirates of the Caribbean." Whatever your imagination could have conjured up, it couldn't possibly compare to the wonderment, fun and childhood excitement that the live-action film delivers today. This is, in many ways, the perfect film, because it not only does exactly what it intends, but it does so without a hint of corniness, overdone computer graphics, sappy dialog, or boring plot line.

Johnny Depp
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Sure, the movie is just for fun, and you can enjoy it for what it is if you go into the theater with the same sense of fun that you'd have going into the ride at Disney parks. In fact, just about every scene from the robotic namesake ride (that's over 30 years old) is featured conspicuously in the film, causing giggles of nostalgia from the audience.

Geoffrey Rush and Pirates
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The plot is classic fairy tale formula for a Swashbucklin' Pirate story that involves pirates, fair maidens, a hero to save her, royalty, and an intricate intertwining of relationships that make things oh so juicy. Here, Johnny Depp leads the pack as Jack Sparrow, a lone pirate on the Caribbean Sea, looking for his lost ship, the Black Pearl. It'd been commandeered years earlier by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) who'd lead a mutiny against him. For Sparrow to get his ship back, he must commandeer one of his own, so he picks one from the Royal British Navy. But first, he must cross swords with a young sword maker, Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom.

Geoffrey Rush and Keira Knightly
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Geoffrey Rush
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In the meantime, Barbossa has his own agenda: to break a curse set upon the crew after they stole ancient Aztec gold artifacts. To do this, they must return the gold, plus spill the blood from a descendant of the original captain of the Black Pearl that pirated the loot in the first place. Through misidentification, they capture Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightley, who is subsequently kidnapped. In a particularly revealing scene, Geoffrey Rush delivers a brilliant monologue about his plight as a cursed pirate.

Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly
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At this point, Turner and Sparrow set out as partners to find the Black Pearl: Turner wants to save the girl, and Sparrow wants to get his ship back. Over the course of the film, as secrets are revealed and events unfold, the tension and action builds to a rewarding and pleasingly climactic ending.

Firey Ship
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Essentially, the movie has it all: cartoony sword-fighting, skeletons drinking rum, dream-like scenery that captures the spirit of the dark, imaginary world of pirates swinging between ships, ladies having to walk the plank, and valiant heroes saving them. With the youthful target audience in mind, a more cynical viewer looking for a more intense or less "comedic" tone might be disappointed; similarly, an overly protective parent might be concerned for their youngsters' fear factor at some special effects, but these are all phantom concerns. "Pirates of the Caribbean" as a great mid-summer hit that's sure to please the whole family.

You can find this movie on the internet database here: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0325980

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