“Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl” was a surprise smash in the summer of 2003. Most box office trackers predicted that this film would be a huge flop. It was sporting a budget of about 125 million dollars and was based off of the Disney theme park ride. To the shock of everyone the film garnered great reviews and debuted at number one it’s opening weekend.
When it opened at number one I decided that I had to see it. My first viewing resulted in me falling asleep half way through. I came out wondering what all the good buzz was about. As the movie continued to rake in dollars due to amazing word of mouth I figured I would give it another shot.
After two viewings I can say that the movie has a lot of good things in it but over all just doesn’t quite work. It felt like there was an awesome 90 minute pirate movie stretched out in to an agonizing 2 and a half hours.
The first hour is terrific. The movie opens with an eerie scene where a British war ship happens the wreckage of a pirate battle. They find a young man floating unconscious on a plank of wood. A young girl on board catches a glimpse of a pirate ship vanishing in to the mist. We then flash forward to present day where a port town is attacked and pillaged by pirates. As the buildings are pummelled by cannon fire the pirates raid peoples homes looking for something. So far this was the most exciting film of the summer.
The characters were pretty interesting too, especially the wacky pirate Captain Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp. His performance was so original that it garnered an Academy award nomination. Geoffrey Rush also hams it up beautifully as the dreaded Captain Barbossa.
Director Gore Verbinski seemed to be using everything at his disposal to create an unforgettable adventure. The second half of the film is where it falls apart with repeated sword battles and moments that made me simply scratch my head.
See if you can follow me here. If two pirates are cursed to be undead, and cannot be killed, would you care if they were engaged in an endless sword fight? What about if two ships are about to blast each other to smithereens but one ship has no ammunition? They solve this by loading their cannons with kitchen ware. Who should be the victor in that fight?
What this movie needed was an editor to get rid of all the excess junk. There are way too many pointless battles and switches in the plot.