- The Curse of the Black Pearl: Awesome.
- Dead Man's Chest: Kind of awesome.
- At World's End: A little less awesome.
- On Stranger Tides: Hey, let's see what the ninjas are up to.
- Dead Men Tell No Tales: There's a fifth one?
The Curse of the Black Pearl was a movie with a tight ending. The curse was broken, Barbossa is dead, Will and Elizabeth plan to marry, and Jack Sparrow sails off in the Black Pearl for more adventures. That last part alone could provide plenty of scope for sequels. The first of these was Dead Man's Chest, released in 2006.
Will and Elizabeth's wedding is disrupted by an untimely arrival from East India Company representative Lord Cutler Beckett, played by Tom Hollander. He has them both arrested for aiding Jack's escape, but offers Will a pardon if he recovers Jack's compass which doesn't point north (which has magical properties). Meanwhile, Jack Sparrow learns he is indebted to Davy Jones, a pirate Cthulu played by Bill Nighy who had given him the Black Pearl 13 years earlier. In return, Jack must serve on board Jones' ship, The Flying Dutchman, or he'll be hunted by the Kraken. Jack learns that he could defeat Jones by destroying his heart. Said heart is buried in the fabled "Dead Man's Chest", but he has to find a key first. To complicate things, Jack is also being hunted by James Norrington, who has resigned his commission in disgrace after losing his flagship in a hurricane while pursuing the Pearl.
This is where these films fall flat. The story is very convoluted and falls flat in places. Roughly the first half of the film is taken up by a rather lengthy diversion in which Will tries to save Jack from a tribe of cannibals. It's funny. but it does reach a Wile E. Coyote level of slapstick and doesn't really contribute to the later story. To be perfectly honest, they could have just cut Will and Elizabeth out of the story. Jack's debt to Davy Jones would have been enough, maybe with Norrington.
I also think they went a little over-the-top with the fantasy element, even if I do like the designs of Davy Jones and The Flying Dutchman's barnacle-encrusted crew. I guess they wanted to upstage themselves.
That said, it's still an enjoyable film. I quite like one segment where Jack is wandering through a tavern during a brawl and trying on people's hats to replace one he'd lost.
I also enjoyed a creative three-way sword-fight between Jack, Will, and Norrington, as their motivations for obtaining the Heart of Davy Jones come into conflict with one another: Jack wants to use leverage to call off the Kraken; Will wants to kill Davy Jones so he can free his long-lost father, who's serving The Flying Dutchman's crew; and Norrington wants to use the heart as a bargaining chip with Beckett, so he can regain his honour and status. They fight through a ruined church tower, and later on a dried-up water mill which breaks off and rolls away. It's creative, if a little cartoonish.
Curse of the Black Pearl was awesome. This one...kind of awesome.
The first film is, without a doubt, the best film in the franchise. A classic pulp swashbuckler re-constituted as crowd-pleasing blockbuster action (which has been one Hollywood's cash cow formulae since it worked so well with Star Wars).
Johnny Depp stars as Jack Sparrow, the former captain of a notorious pirate ship, the Black Pearl. Ten years before the events of the film, Jack was deposed in a mutiny by his first mate Hector Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush. While looking to steal a ship, Jack is arrested in Port Royal after saving the life of the governor's daughter Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightley. Elizabeth is then kidnapped by Barbossa over a gold medallion in her possession, as he believes she is the key to breaking a curse he and his crew are under. Will Turner, a blacksmith's apprentice played by Orlando Bloom and the original owner of Elizabeth's medallion, seeks to rescue her and enlists Jack's help.
You'd never think a film based on a ride at Disneyland would be successful, but they pulled it off brilliantly. Johnny Depp steals the show as the delightfully quirky Jack Sparrow right from his grand entrance. He's a fast-talker, and likes playing everyone off against each other, from Barbossa to Will to Elizabeth's fiance Commodore Norrington, played by Jack Davenport. His peculiar mannerisms and snappy dialogue have become so distinct that most modern audiences regard him as the iconic pirate (a post previously held by Robert Newton).
While Johnny Depp is the star, Jack Sparrow isn't the protagonist. It's Will Turner who goes on the hero's journey, and has the arguably more heroic goal; he wants to save Elizabeth, while Jack wants to reclaim his ship. He also learns about the medallion, which was sent to him by his late father Bootstrap Bill.
I really love the action sequences this film has. One of my favourites is a sword fight early on between Jack and Will. The blacksmith's shop where it takes place offers all kinds of creative moments. I also love the design of the Black Pearl crew's true forms. It's quite funny when Barbossa's monkey is also undead, and gets in a jump scare on Elizabeth. He does it again later in the film, but Elizabeth (and by extension, the audience) is unfazed the second time around.
All in all, it's a film you should see at least once.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a strong film, and remains one of my favourite films to this today (not quite my ...
I'm not a religious man by any stretch of the means, but I still enjoy this Anglo-Irish sitcom by Graham Linehan and Arthur Mat...
Well, tomorrow morning I'm due back in work after a wonderful week at the Swanwick Writers' Summer School, so I might as well try ...
I read a Facebook post last night which said " I'm starting to suspect that George R.R. Martin is the author behind 2016." Y...