PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL

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Release Date: July 09, 2003

Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom,
Keira Knightly, Geoffrey Rush,
Jack Davenport, and Jonathan
Pryce

Genre: Pirate Thriller

Audience: Older children to
adults REVIEWER: Dr. Tom
Snyder PIRATES OF THE
CARIBBEAN almost captures the
rollicking, merry spirit of
the old pirate movies that
Hollywood used to make. Johnny
Depp gives an inventive
performance as a rogue pirate,
with spirited help from
Orlando Bloom of THE LORD OF
THE RINGS and Keira Knightly
from BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM as
the swashbuckling hero and
heroine, and Geoffrey Rush as
the archetypal pirate
villain. Depp plays Captain
Jack Sparrow, whose life is
turned upside down when his
nemesis, the wily Captain
Barbossa, played by Rush,
steals his ship, the Black
Pearl. Years later, Sparrow
finds his way to Port Royal,
where he’s promptly placed
in irons, but not without a
struggle. Barbossa and his men
interrupt Sparrow’s
scheduled hanging when they
raid the port and kidnap the
Governor’s beautiful
daughter, Elizabeth, played by
Keira Knightly. Elizabeth’s
childhood friend, Will Turner,
played by Orlando Bloom, joins
forces with Sparrow to
commandeer a ship in a gallant
attempt to rescue her and
recapture the Black Pearl.
Pursuing them is Commodore
Norrington, a debonair officer
who seeks Elizabeth’s hand
in marriage. Unknown to
everyone, a cursed Aztec
treasure has doomed Barbossa
and his crew to live as
walking dead men, who appear
as living skeletons in the
moonlight. Johnny Depp gives a
quirky, but delightful,
performance as Captain Jack
Sparrow. Instead of portraying
his character as a
swashbuckling Errol Flynn
type, he acts as if he’s
always slightly crazy or
tipsy. He does, however,
always have one thing on his
mind – how to get his ship
back, by hook or by crook. The
Black Pearl represents freedom
to Jack, and this hope for
freedom encourages him to be
clever. Depp’s eccentric
performance might have sunk a
lesser movie, but it actually
leaves room for Orlando Bloom
and Keira Knightly to push the
heroic aspects of Will and
Elizabeth’s characters.
Elizabeth shows concern for
others by offering herself as
a hostage if Barbossa and his
men will leave the town alone.
Will is madly in love with
Elizabeth, and he risks
everything to rescue her.
Early in the movie, he and
Depp have a brilliant sword
fighting scene. Bloom and
Knightly are rising stars.
Their strong performances help
keep the movie going, even
when the story lags. A pirate
movie wouldn’t be a pirate
movie without a sneaky
villain. PIRATES OF THE
CARIBBEAN has one in Captain
Barbossa, played to the hilt
by the talented Geoffrey Rush.
Rush relishes his role with
larcenous glee. Although the
movie lacks a truly despicable
villain, which may lessen the
sense of jeopardy for some
viewers, Rush’s performance
adds to the movie’s fun
spirit. Guided by the
sensibilities of incredibly
successful producer Jerry
Bruckheimer, director Gore
Verbinski has finally crafted
an entertaining movie that
might stand the test of time.
He inserts a lighthearted,
often comical, mood into the
movie that suits the story and
the characters. This spirit of
fun may attract many repeat
viewers, despite the poor
track record of recent pirate
movies. Then again, it might
not be enough to secure a
lengthy run. PIRATES OF THE
CARIBBEAN has generated some
controversy, because it is the
first Disney movie to be
released with a PG-13
rating. In an interview with
MOVIEGUIDE®, Bruckheimer
indicated that he thought the
Ratings Board was being a
little too strict with his
movie, despite its action
violence and scary skeletons.
He pointed out that the movie
doesn’t have any strong foul
language, sex, or sexual
nudity in it. He and Disney
decided to release the movie
with the rating anyway,
because they didn’t really
want to cut any of the
skeleton scenes or violent
scenes that the Ratings Board
said qualified the movie for a
PG-13 rating instead of a PG.
“The film might be too
intense for a six-year-old,”
he added. Another controversy
for Bible-believing Christians
and Jews is the Aztec curse
that has doomed Captain
Barbossa and his men to be
living skeletons. The pagan,
occult aspect of this part of
the movie spoils its moral,
redemptive elements, which
also could have been much
stronger, even with the curse
and the skeletons left in the
story. A stronger ending might
have fixed this problem, or
greatly reduced it. Still,
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is a
swashbuckling jolly good time
at the movies. Full of humor,
wit, and derring do, it’s a
fun ride on the high seas of
adventure, all from the
comfortable safety of your
plush theater chair. Please
address your comments
to: Michael Eisner,
Chairman/CEO Buena Vista
Distribution Co. (Walt Disney
Pictures, Caravan, Hollywood,
Miramax, & Touchstone
Pictures) Dick Cook,
Chairman Walt Disney
Pictures 500 South Buena Vista
Street Burbank, CA
91521 Phone: (818)
560-1000 Website:
www.disney.com

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: About 133 minutes

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Buena
Vista Distribution Co.

Director: Gore Verbinski

Executive Producer: Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Bruce
Hendricks, and Paul Deason

Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer

Writer: Ted Elliott and Terry
Rossio BASED ON THE RIDE AT
DISNEYLAND

Address Comments To:

Content:

(C, BB, PaPa, OO, L, VV, N, AA, D, M) Light redemptive worldview with some moral elements but also with some strong pagan and occult elements; a couple British obscenities and about two light exclamatory profanities; plenty of action violence and some scary violence including images of hanged bodies, much sword fighting, pistols fired pointblank at people, explosions, pirates storm through town, living skeleton men frighten young woman, skeleton men attack soldiers and other people, young man almost drowns, and small cuts on hands to remove curse; no sex scenes but pirates hang around with loose women in one scene; woman in old-fashioned underwear, female cleavage, and upper male nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; no smoking; and, piracy and moral relativism such as talk about being a “good” bad man.

Summary:

In PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, a heroic young man joins forces with a pirate to rescue a beautiful girl from the clutches of a group of cursed, bloodthirsty pirates. Despite some pagan, occult elements, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is a swashbuckling jolly good time at the movies, with some positive moral and redemptive themes.

Review:

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN almost captures the rollicking, merry spirit of the old pirate movies that Hollywood used to make. Johnny Depp gives an inventive performance as a rogue pirate, with spirited help from Orlando Bloom of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and Keira Knightly from BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM as the swashbuckling hero and heroine, and Geoffrey Rush as the archetypal pirate villain.

Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow, whose life is turned upside down when his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa, played by Rush, steals his ship, the Black Pearl. Years later, Sparrow finds his way to Port Royal, where he’s promptly placed in irons, but not without a struggle. Barbossa and his men interrupt Sparrow’s scheduled hanging when they raid the port and kidnap the Governor’s beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, played by Keira Knightly.

Elizabeth’s childhood friend, Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom, joins forces with Sparrow to commandeer a ship in a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl. Pursuing them is Commodore Norrington, a debonair officer who seeks Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. Unknown to everyone, a cursed Aztec treasure has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live as walking dead men, who appear as living skeletons in the moonlight.

Johnny Depp gives a quirky, but delightful, performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. Instead of portraying his character as a swashbuckling Errol Flynn type, he acts as if he’s always slightly crazy or tipsy. He does, however, always have one thing on his mind – how to get his ship back, by hook or by crook. The Black Pearl represents freedom to Jack, and this hope for freedom encourages him to be clever.

Depp’s eccentric performance might have sunk a lesser movie, but it actually leaves room for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly to push the heroic aspects of Will and Elizabeth’s characters. Elizabeth shows concern for others by offering herself as a hostage if Barbossa and his men will leave the town alone. Will is madly in love with Elizabeth, and he risks everything to rescue her. Early in the movie, he and Depp have a brilliant sword fighting scene. Bloom and Knightly are rising stars. Their strong performances help keep the movie going, even when the story lags.

A pirate movie wouldn’t be a pirate movie without a sneaky villain. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN has one in Captain Barbossa, played to the hilt by the talented Geoffrey Rush. Rush relishes his role with larcenous glee. Although the movie lacks a truly despicable villain, which may lessen the sense of jeopardy for some viewers, Rush’s performance adds to the movie’s fun spirit.

Guided by the sensibilities of incredibly successful producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski has finally crafted an entertaining movie that might stand the test of time. He inserts a lighthearted, often comical, mood into the movie that suits the story and the characters. This spirit of fun may attract many repeat viewers, despite the poor track record of recent pirate movies. Then again, it might not be enough to secure a lengthy run.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN has generated some controversy, because it is the first Disney movie to be released with a PG-13 rating.

In an interview with MOVIEGUIDE®, Bruckheimer indicated that he thought the Ratings Board was being a little too strict with his movie, despite its action violence and scary skeletons. He pointed out that the movie doesn’t have any strong foul language, sex, or sexual nudity in it. He and Disney decided to release the movie with the rating anyway, because they didn’t really want to cut any of the skeleton scenes or violent scenes that the Ratings Board said qualified the movie for a PG-13 rating instead of a PG. “The film might be too intense for a six-year-old,” he added.

Another controversy for Bible-believing Christians and Jews is the Aztec curse that has doomed Captain Barbossa and his men to be living skeletons. The pagan, occult aspect of this part of the movie spoils its moral, redemptive elements, which also could have been much stronger, even with the curse and the skeletons left in the story. A stronger ending might have fixed this problem, or greatly reduced it.

Still, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is a swashbuckling jolly good time at the movies. Full of humor, wit, and derring do, it’s a fun ride on the high seas of adventure, all from the comfortable safety of your plush theater chair.

In Brief: