Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am fascinated by the age of piracy. Indeed, I suspect most men of my generation wanted to be pirates when they were children. Unfortunately, the truth is that there are very few good pirate movies out there. The Crimson Pirate, The Black Swan, and Disney's version of Treasure Island number among the very, very few truly great pirate movies. It is an unfortunate, but most pirate movies are, well, bad. Fortunately, Disney added another pirate movie to the list of such great movies, Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl.. Based on the popular Disney land attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl goes far beyond the amusement ride to be a truly entertaining and well done pirate movie. Naturally, I had to get it on DVD.
Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl centres on down on his luck pirate Jack Sparrow. His ship taken from his from the villainous Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Much of the plot concerns Sparrow's effort to get his ship back. Johnny Depp, as Jack Sparrow, is definitely the star of this movie. Much of what makes Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl such a great film is Depp's performance as Sparrow. Basing Sparrow on aging Rolling Stone Keith Richards (who always kind of reminded me of a pirate anyway), Depp plays Sparrow as seemingly lacking in concentration and discipline, and yet cunning, witty, and crafty. Sparrow is also arrogant, and there is little reason to say he shouldn't be. When he boasts at being a great pirate, it is hard not to believe him as he outwits one foe after another.
Of course, Depp's great performance as Sparrow would have been for naught if it weren't for a great script. The writers crafted a script that is full of excitement, but also full of depth. The characters are all very well developed. Furthermore, they convincingly reproduce the age of piracy. The script is full of historical pirate jargon and various details that the average pirate movie would conveniently overlook. As my best friend said, it is the most accurate pirate/zombie movie ever made! Gore Verbinski's direction greatly helps as well. In the hands of another director, Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl might seem corny and unbelievable, even with a good script. Verbinski's fine direction greatly helps suspend the viewer's disbelief.
The authenticity of Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl is greatly aided by the film's production values. The ships, buildings, costumes and many other details of the era are faithfully reproduced. The special effects are also excellent. Without being obvious, they make a scenario that might otherwise seem farfetched. Disney invested a lot of money into Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl and it shows.
I have yet to watch the Two Disc Collector's Edition's many extras, but they look very interesting. Included are a commentary with director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp, selected scene commentaries with producer Jerry Bruckheimer or stars Keira Knightly or Jack Davenport, the prerequisite "making of" documentary, behind the scene looks at the ship Interceptor and actor Lee Arenberg's experience on the film, an interactive history of pirates, the episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color featuring the opening of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and much, much more.
Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl is best scene on the big screen (which is where I first saw it). As an epic pirate movie with great production values, it can only truly be appreciated in a movie theatre. But the DVD is a good substitute, particularly with its many, many extras. If you haven't seen Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl yet, I urge you by all means to do so. If you're a fan of the pirate genre, interested in the age of piracy, or simply love great movies, you'll love this film.