Flashback Review: Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

In 1967, a year after Walt Disney’s death or as Conspiracy Theorists claim he’s frozen in an undisclosed location, Disneyland opened a pirate themed ride called, “Pirates Of The Caribbean.” A dark ride where guests are invited to embark on a swashbuckling adventure going back in time witnessing scenes from “The Golden Age Of Piracy.” The ride remains as one of the most iconic attractions in Disneyland alongside “The Haunted Mansion.”

In 2001, screenwriting duo Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio (The Mask Of Zorro, Aladdin, Shrek) wrote a script for Disney to make a film adaptation of the ride. Although skeptical on making a pirate themed movie due to “Cutthroat Island” tanking at the box office, Disney took a gamble and hired Gore Verbinski (The Ring, Rango) as director. Before Johnny Depp was casted as Jack Sparrow, several actors including Jim Carrey, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Keaton & Christopher Walken were considered for the lead role. They four of them were busy. Thus, Johnny won the role. Disney took another gamble as they don’t consider Johnny as a box office star.

Prior to “Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl,” Disney released a ride based film known as “The Country Bears” in 2002 starring Haley Joel Osmet (Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series) & Christopher Walken. Sadly, it was a critical and box office flop. During production of The Curse Of The Black Pearl, Disney also made another movie based on a ride known as The Haunted Mansion starring Eddie Murphy. Like The Country Bears, it was a critical flop. Thankfully, Disney dodged the third bullet when The Curse Of The Black Pearl became a huge success.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl was released in 2003. (same year Finding Nemo came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Plus, it made enough money at the box office. Johnny Depp won a “Screen Actors Guild” (SAG for short) for his performance as Jack Sparrow. He was nominated for an Oscar for “Best Actor.” Unfortunately, he was robbed by Sean Penn for his performance in “Mystic River.”

Regardless of not winning an Oscar, The Curse Of The Black Pearl spawned four sequels with Johnny Depp appearing in all of them, video games, action figures, t-shirts and crossover appearances in “Kingdom Hearts II” & “Kingdom Hearts III.”

Disney’s upcoming “Jungle Cruise” based on the ride of the same name starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson & Emily Blunt will be released on July 30th. Which is Christopher Nolan’s birthday.

I don’t care if SPOILERS are listed. We already seen the first film. It’s been told in parodies, memes, a Lego themed video game & served as one of the playable worlds from Kingdom Hearts II.

Rich & Poor Aspects

Rich: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley & Geoffrey Rush all did an excellent job for their respective performances.

Other Cast Members such as Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport, Kevin R. McNally, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Cook & future A-List actress Zoe Saldana all did a great job for their respective performances.

Gore Verbinski did a decent job directing.

Jerry Bruckheimer produced the film.

Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio both did a great job writing the script.

Klaus Badelt orchestrated memorable tracks. Hans Zimmer (later composed for the 2-4 films) served as a music producer.

Action Sequences contain sword fights, boat battles and stunts.

Humor is filled with witty dialogue, visual gags and risqué content including floozies slapping Jack and the aforementioned captain often saying “Eunuch.”

Cinematography never suffered from technical flaws.

Practical Effects were used to bring fight scenes, sets, ships among a few things.

Costumes were made to reflect each character’s personality such as Jack.

Chemistry between Will & Elizabeth felt organic.

Visual Effects transformed Barbossa & his crew in skeleton form. Don’t forget Jack when he snatched a coin during his fight with Barbossa. I’m surprised the C.G.I. still holds up for a film that came out in 2003.

Instead of using the curse for personal gain, Barbossa’s motivation to lift the curse is to regain his mortality so he can taste wine and food. A unique goal for a villain. Barbossa is the closest thing for a nice pirate. Jack however, often betrays anybody on his quest for immortality. He’s a manipulative troll provoking his foes an comrades.

Will’s father Bootstrap & Davy Jones are mentioned. They later factor in ” Dead Man’s Chest” & “At World’s End.”

My favorite line is “Drink up me hearties yo ho!” Cue The End Credits playing epic music.

Jack’s line “Why is the rum gone” became a meme.

Jack’s magic compass, drives the plot forward along with the sequels.

Jack’s first scene, indicates what you’re about to witness is gonna be an epic swashbuckling action-adventure fantasy comedy.

Johnny based Jack’s appearance, mannerisms and personality on Bugs Bunny, Pepe Le Pew, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton & Groucho Marx.

Prior to portraying Jack, Johnny also played a swashbuckler in “Don Juan DeMarco.”

Fun Fact: It was Johnny’s idea to handpick what Jack should look and wear like adding unkempt dreadlocks, a beard with beads, some gold teeth, a bandana and jewelry all over him is based on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

I think Jack’s name is taken from Billy Joel’s song “Captain Jack.”

In one scene, Jack mentioned something about “humiliating grapes.” A possible inside joke to “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” Johnny worked with Leonardo DiCaprio (my favorite actor) before they became box office powerhouse.

Barbossa offers Elizabeth a drink politely saying, “Try the wine.” A reference to “A Clockwork Orange.” One of Christopher Nolan’s favorite films.

Remember Pintel & Ragetti’s catchphrase, “Hello Poppet?” It’s British slang for a sweet child or little girl. As a kid, I never understood the meaning. Now that I’m older, I get it.

After the curse was lifted, Pintel & Ragetti are apprehended by The Royal Navy. Thankfully, they escaped and are now reformed serving as Jack’s crew members.

Somebody said “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” So that’s how the fifth movie got it’s title.

One British soldier sarcastically mentioned a little mermaid. A reference to “The Little Mermaid.” A wink from Disney.

Will & Elizabeth have a happy ending. Until Dead Men’s Chest begins.

A Post-Credits Scene shows Barbossa’s pet monkey picking up a gold coin, cursed again. As you may know, Barbossa is resurrected in the sequels.

Poor: I couldn’t find nothing wrong with this film. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Pirates Of The Caribbean The Curse Of The Black Pearl is without a doubt the best film of the series. All the stuff I’ve listed on the positive section, indicates why it still holds up. If you want to introduce your kids to the series. I strongly recommend the first film and then the sequels.

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