Pirates of the Caribbean - The
of the Black Pearl
There is no movie critic cliché that I hate so much as
"It's a great ride." Filmmaking and the construction of amusement
parks are two totally different art forms. A thrill ride is just a
couple of minutes of adrenaline-rushed sensation. It has no sense of
character, no sense of plot, no need for subtlety or nuance. Well, Walt
Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean is in an interesting position.
It is only the second major motion picture ever based on an amusement park ride (and I
don't think most people count The Country Bears, either as a film or
as an attraction.)
Well, I have to
say, as a ride, Pirates of the Caribbean is a great movie. It
is an action-packed, funny, awe-inspiring flight of fancy.
highlight of the film is Johnny Depp's wonderfully eccentric reading of
legendary pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. Sparrow is in equal parts a
swashbuckling rake, a scoundrel, a rock star, an athlete, a coward, a drag
queen, a fearless leader and a shell-shocked veteran. The performance
is giddily over-the-top and grandiose, and it works much better than it has
any right to. No other actor working would have the balls to tackle
the character in this way, or the chutzpah to pull it off.
Rush also gleefully chews the scenery as Barbossa, a pirate Captain who is
cursed to travel the seas as a member of the undead.
The grand guignol
passions and offbeat aura of these two leads energizes the film --
particularly since most of the other characters are a little bland in their
heroism. Pirates tells the story of Will Turner (Orlando
Bloom), a sword smith who does not realize that he is the ancestor of a
famous pirate. Since he was a boy, Will has been in love with
Elizabeth Swann, the lovely daughter of the local governor (Keira Knightley,
almost unrecognizable from her role as the best friend in Bend It Like
Beckham.) Elizabeth is kidnapped by the legendary ghost
Pirate ship the Black Pearl, because she possesses a piece of jewelry that
can undo the curse on the ship. Turner releases Sparrow from jail in
return for the Captain helping him free his love.
They put together a
ragtag fleet and follow the ship. This leads to a series of
swashbuckling swordfights, death-defying stunts, mind-boggling treasures and
attacks by skeleton pirates. Many people (myself included) wondered if
it was possible to make a pirate film that wouldn't seem like a bloated
relic at this point in history. Pirates of the Caribbean - The
Curse of the Black Pearl is wonderful proof that it is, indeed,
Pirates may go on a little longer than it should, but
it is still a rousing entertainment. After a summer full of completely
unimpressive action films, I'm glad someone has finally done one right.
Copyright ©2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 22, 2003.