“No survivors? Then where do the stories come from, I wonder?”
Johnny Depp headlines a great foursome of characters as the seemingly inept Captain Jack Sparrow, who’s really a charming pirate full of charm and wisdom that he uses to his advantage throughout this 2 hour and 23 minute action adventure based on the Walt Disney theme park attraction. Walt Disney Pictures made the film, their first ever to be rated PG-13 (for action violence).
Geoffrey Rush provides plenty of pirate bravado and appeal as the lead pirate, Barbossa, while Orlando Bloom, from The Lord of the Rings film series, plays the hero, Will Turner (remember that character name). Keira Knightly (Bend It Like Beckam) has a star-making role as Elizabeth Swann, daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann, played by Jonathan Pryce.
After one of the best character entrances in film history, the eccentric Captain Jack uses his wits to save himself several times throughout the plot. His tactics even rub off on Elizabeth in a seemingly hopeless situation near the end.
Several great stories about the background of Jack and the pirate characters produce a lot of genuine interest – even the supporting characters fight over who gets to tell a story. The pirate code and the concept of parlay (a successful running joke throughout the film) entertain as well as inform.
The straight ahead hero, Will, strives to be a gentleman amid this chaos, but finds that his real family roots create a conflict that jeopardizes his social status and decreases his chances of winning Elizabeth. This position forces Will to make some tough decisions that ultimately define his character and explain his past.
The film has many memorable lines, including “People are easier to search when they’re dead”, and a memorable score from composer Klaus Badelt including many sword fighting sequences timed with the music.
The British military characters and their leader Norrington, who wants Elizabeth as his wife, seem selfish and uncaring at first, especially when they carelessly fire at escapees running on a bridge full of civilians. Thankfully, filmmakers wisely turn away from the clichés and stereotypes and instead redeem these men during a key battle on a ship.
Strong direction from Gore Verbinski (The Ring, Mousehunt), the excellent cast and a fast, funny screenplay written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (Shrek) make this highly recommended film (**** out of four stars) a rare gem. A great adventure with no gratuitous content.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler