Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl movie posterSynopsis
Ten years ago, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) left his captain, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), stranded on an island and discovered a cursed treasure with the crew of the Black Pearl. In order to lift the curse, all the gold pieces must be returned. They have all been returned, all except one, which is in the possession of Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley) in Port Royal. When the pirates attack Port Royal and kidnap Elizabeth, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) enlists the help of Jack Sparrow to pursue Barbossa and rescue Elizabeth.

Disney took a big risk creating a movie based off one of their most successful amusement rides. In a typical Disney fashion, the studio was able to pull it off. Pirates of the Caribbean: TheCurse of the Black Pearl has a perfect mix of action, romance, fantasy, and drama. There is a little bit for every movie lover, regardless of tastes.

Easily one of the best things about this film is the cast. I think Johnny Depp has the standout performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. You can tell there is something not quite there with Jack but maybe he is smarter than he lets on. Depp balances all facets of the character perfectly. My second favorite performance would have to be Geoffrey rush as Captain Barbossa. He definitely pulls of the pirate captain attitude. Orlando Bloom as William Turner and Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Swann are pretty good as well.

Another strong aspect about The Curse of the Black Pearl is that it harmoniously balances all of its elements. It never spends too much time focusing on one thing. Some time is spent on the action, then it moves to building Will’s and Elizabeth’s relationship, then some stuff with Jack, then more action and so on and so forth. There is no dawdling on each scene but at the same time, each moment is given the necessary time to flourish. Despite the somewhat wide cast, all the characters have their moments and are well developed.

I really like the supernatural element of the plot. This movie incorporates the sailors’ stories of ghost ships on the high seas. It could have misused this element and easily become a corny horror flick. But it doesn’t. It maintains its composure and weaves an excellent character-driven story that moves around the supernatural and uses it to further build the characters.

In any traditional Disney film, there are comedic relief characters. In this case there are two comedy duos, one on the pirates side and one one the British side. They both have their laugh out loud moments, but I think the pirate duo was the funnier of the two. Being skeletons gives them better variety of visual gags. That and their lines were simply funnier.

The score, composed by Klaus Badelt, is one of my favorite movie scores. He’s a Pirate is instantaneously recognizable. I don’t know much about Badelt, but if his other movie scores are half as good as this, he’s OK in my book.

Based on an amusement ride, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl on paper probably should not have done as well as it did (let alone spawn a whole series). Against the odds, it somehow manages to take a fantastic character-driven story and mixe it with mythical elements from old sailor stories, creating a blockbuster that is one of Disney’s best live-action films.


Also check out my reviews for Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, and On Stranger Tides.


Cast & Crew
Gore Verbinski – Director
Ted Elliot – Story / Screenplay
Terry Rossio – Story / Screenplay
Stuart Beattie – Story
Jay Wolpert – story
Klaus Badelt – Composer

Johnny Depp – Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush – Barbossa
Orlando Bloom – Will Turner
Keira Knightley – Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport – James Norrington
Jonathan Pryce – Governor Weatherby Swann
Kevin McNally – Joshamee Gibbs
Lee Arenbergt – Pintel
Mackenzie Crook – Ragetti
Damian O’Hare – Lt. Gillette
Giles New – Murtogg
Angus Barnett – Mullroy
David Bailie – Cotton
Treva Etienne – Koehler
Zoe Saldana – Anamaria

11 thoughts on “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Review

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