With all the recent buzz surrounding Johnny Depp, it reminded me it was time to revisit one of his most iconic characters: Captain Jack Sparrow. Although it’s been many years since this film was released, the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (yes I’m only acknowledging the first three) has continued to be one of my favourite film franchises. The Curse of the Black Pearl is a great first film that opens our eyes to the adventures of a pirate’s life and all the wonderful characters within it. It has a good blend of fantasy, action, comedy, and romance – there’s a little bit of something for everyone! I have seen this movie a number of times and have found that with each rewatch, I am loving it just as much as the first time. The Curse of the Black Pearl continues to be an enjoyable movie-watching experience, and I never lose interest in the story despite knowing it by heart.
If you think I’m going to write a review about a Pirates of the Caribbean movie without mentioning Johnny Depp’s performance as Jack Sparrow, you are terribly mistaken. From that first moment where we see him arriving to port just as his boat sinks, I knew I was going to adore his character. I absolutely love how they were able to perfectly capture Captain Jack Sparrow’s personality in this introductory scene. Yes he’s wild and unpredictable, but we can also see that he is respectful as he bows to his fellow dead pirates, and that he is calculated as he just barely makes it to the dock. He’s humourous without trying, and his energy really boosts every scene he’s in. He really is the best pirate we’ve ever seen, even if we know he didn’t actually escape a deserted island by riding on the backs of turtles. It is rare to see an actor do so well in a role that it becomes iconic, but Depp does just that. While he does put on a dazzling performance for this film, what makes it so special is that this is a character completely of his own creation. I can’t imagine seeing anyone else playing this character because Johnny Depp is Captain Jack Sparrow.
With that said, the best thing about this movie and franchise has always been the characters, particularly the main trio: Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann. They have wonderful chemistry and I enjoyed watching them develop their dynamic in this first movie by constantly bantering and bickering. I love that they didn’t have the typical “let’s work as a team” dynamic, but we can still see that they share a silent loyalty for one another.
Growing up, I remember having the biggest crush on Will Turner and yes it has to do with the fact that he is Legolas in another universe. Will arguably has one of the more interesting storylines having found out that he’s actually the son of a pirate. Orlando Bloom does a good job in making the character charming and endearing but also brave and strong. While the “I’d die for her” aspect of his character may come across as cheesy to many, I personally think it’s the good kind of cheesy. Amidst the dirty and messy nature of the pirates, the bit of romance between Will and Elizabeth was a nice touch to balance things out. It also provided the chance to tell a very sweet and romantic love story – I mean come on, this man’s risking his life and sailing across the ocean to save her. Of course, I also loved Elizabeth’s character and I appreciated that she wasn’t just a damsel in distress. We see her trying to fight back multiple times, even participating in the final battle and fighting alongside Will. I’m always shocked whenever I remember Keira Knightley was only 17 years old when she filmed this movie. She did a wonderful job and brought a certain grace and beauty to the role. After watching Will and Elizabeth’s romance develop in this movie, I was always excited to see how their relationship would progress.
While it definitely scared me a little as a child, I do really enjoy the fantasy and supernatural aspect of this film. I think The Curse of the Black Pearl has a great plot and I didn’t think that it felt too predictable at all. On some level, you really do have to be paying attention and listening to the backstories to understand what’s going on. I found the history of the curse and how it was brought upon Barbosa’s crew to be very interesting and it brought a thrilling element to the whole story (it was really cool and kind of chilling seeing them turn into the undead in the moonlight).
I also have to give a quick but big shout out to Klaus Badelt who is the composer for the soundtrack of this film. Aside from Johnny Depp, the one other aspect of this franchise that makes it what it is, is the score. It’s just amazing. Each song perfectly fits and matches the emotions of whatever is happening on the screen and adds so much more to it. The theme song is truly iconic and I have never met anyone who doesn’t know the tune.
I’m continuously amazed by how much I love this movie despite having rewatched it so many times. It does such a good job of introducing the characters, making us fall in love with them, and setting up for much bigger adventures. It’s kid and family friendly so if you ever need a movie to please a large crowd, this is a good choice. My final rating for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is 8.5/10. I have a lot of fond memories watching this movie, and it feels a bit nostalgic for me. I just love these characters so much and this movie really kickstarted my strong investment into their stories to come. Hopefully this review has either reminded you that it’s time to rewatch this awesome film or that if you’re in need of a swashbuckling adventure, it’s time to check this one out.
I actually enjoyed Stranger Tides, but I suspect that is because I’d read the book by Tim Powers years ago. It was a great story on it’s own and they did a decent job of adapting it to the franchise.
But overall, I like the first movie the best…
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I’ll have to give the book a try sometime! Always looking for book recs too 😊
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