I thought this new pirate movie based on the popular Disneyland attraction might draw some big crowds, but by no means did I expect what I saw once I turned the corner by the Cinerama: a pirate holding a pirate ship flag in front of an incredibly long line of anxious movie goers. This pirate did not work for the Cinerama, nor did he work for any radio program or television show. No, this was just the first person in line and there were many others dressed up as well.
The Black Pearl of the title is the name of a pirate ship whose crew was cursed when they took Aztec gold that belonged to the legendary Cortez. In order to break the curse, everyone who took gold out of the chest must put it back as well as the blood that is due. The last piece of this gold belongs to Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the governor’s daughter who took it from the neck of a boy she once rescued. When Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and the pirates of the Black Pearl kidnap Elizabeth, it is up to that young boy, now a blacksmith named Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), to rescue her. In order to find the Black Pearl, Will enlists the help of a dainty pirate named Jack Sparrow—excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)—who is the only one who knows where the ship will come to rest.
I should have known this movie would have drawn this big of a crowd—particularly younger women—being that it is the first major film role for heartthrob Orlando Bloom outside of his role of Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Bloom did receive his share of screams, cheers, whistles and catcalls, but no more than Johnny Depp and I have a perfect theory for this: everybody loves Johnny Depp. I felt kind of bad for Geoffrey Rush during the closing credits, because he was the only one of the main cast that didn’t receive wild cheers. Myself, well, I cheered loud for Keira Knightley, whom I’d previously fell head over heels for in Bend it Like Beckham.
All of the actors shine in this film—particularly Depp who gets all the best one-liners—that proves to be probably the most fun I’ve had at the movies all summer. I spent the entire movie with a huge grin on my face, just having a blast. I’m sure a lot of this had to do with the audience I was a part of—everybody was into it—but I’m sure it would have been just as entertaining in a sold out theater.
The action in the film is fantastic, featuring pretty much every kind of action you would want from a pirate movie. Swordfights, cannon blasts, thieving, murdering, plundering, it’s all there. The special effects which are used to create battling skeletons are impressive as well.
Although the movie’s story has little to do with the Disneyland ride it was named after, there are plenty of references to the theme park favorite that are sure to get laughs from anyone who’s had the privilege of riding it. I hear now that Disney is remodeling the ride to fit this movie and that the boats are now available on eBay. Cool, I want one.
Pirates of the Caribbean is really the first pirate movie to come out since the Geena Davis vehicle Cutthroat Island (which drove its production company into the ground, despite the fact that it was a very entertaining movie), but I’ll bet we’ll be seeing a lot more soon. It’s the most pure fun I’ve had at the movies all year, I give it an A.