Pirates of the Caribbean:
The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

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Set in the 17th century, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is a visual splendor of astute costume garb and backdrops that render an according nostalgia. With corsets tied, wigs applied, and soldiers on the march, the film begins with a brief introduction into the lives of the main characters, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly). While tracking down pirates and other villains at sea, the British Royal Navy stumbles upon a shipwrecked child, Will Turner, floating in the water. Aboard their ship is the young Miss Swann, who is ordered to look after the boy while Norrington (Jack Davenport) and his men search the wreck.

Flash-forward to a grown-up, breath-taking Elizabeth Swann, who by night dons the mysterious pendant she took from Will the first day they met. Will, having been assigned an apprenticeship and guardian to a drunkard blacksmith, works ceaselessly to refine his skills as a blacksmith, sword-fighter, and a gentleman. All his efforts are in hopes of winning Miss Swann’s heart: a feat that seems near impossible after Miss Swan’s father, Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Price) arranges for Norrington’s expected proposal to his daughter. But, completely opposed to the anticipated nuptial, Miss Swan attempts to buy time, which thanks to the entrance of the greasily debonair Captain Jack Sparrow, becomes possible.

After Sparrow pilfers a few goods and marauds the British isle’s best ship, Will Turner and the lovely Miss Swan, who want to avenge their town after the conspicuous pirates of the Black Pearl raid the isle, soon join the nefarious rebel. But what are the pirates there for in the first place? It seems as if Miss Swan’s pendant might have something to do with the mysterious invasion at hand, which, the honorable Will Turner is none to fond of. After a few swashbuckling scenes and a brief stop at a rowdy island to stock up on provisions and a crew, the three continue their quest to seek out the nefarious Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), head of the Black Pearl.

With a personal quest to avenge his ill-fated marooning after Barbossa’s premeditated mutiny, Sparrow hopes to kill Barbossa once and for all. But, Barbossa is dead, and has been for several decades, along with the rest of his ship. It seems the men are cursed to roam the seas raping and pillaging, but never to enjoy the mortal pleasures of taste and death. As the climax mounts, Norrington and his men have set sail in search of Sparrow, hoping to retrieve Miss Swan and the lowly Will Turner.

Of course there will be a face-off with ghosts, and Brits, and rebels alike. Acrobatic scenes full of special effects and visual inspiration flood the senses while Elizabeth is captured, Will is held hostage, Sparrow’s crew abandons him on accounts of ‘parlay’, etc. Eventually the final face off between Sparrow and the ghostly Barbossa will ensue amidst a cavern of raided treasures and eerie darkness. But who will come out alive? Does Will Turner ever get the chance to marry Miss Swann, or will the jealous Norrington’s rank stand in his way? Moreover, once the curse is lifted, what will become of Barbossa and his men. and all that treasure!

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is an action-packed, plot-twisting, sensory gratifying tale of Jack Sparrow and his gang. The film brings to life some of the infamous scenes staged on Disneyland’s ride, and it is a delightful treat to recognize the replicated scenes and feel that tug of nostalgia when you remember your experience on the ride itself. Moreover, the plot never wanes, and the content is light-hearted enough for the kids, but still interesting and historically entertaining for the adults. The visual effects are magnificent, particularly the scenes where the pirates of the Black Pearl morph from ghost to man repetitiously as they walk in and out of moonlight. There really is such an acute attention to detail in this film that, though far from being a philosophical wonder, makes the film charmingly entertaining and well apt to provoke a few smiles and laughs here and there.

Be on the look out for those scenes that mimic the actual ride, “Pirates of the Caribbean”. The film takes much care to include multiple renditions, including the wily island, the caged prisoners, the caverns of gold, etc.

Much credit should be given to Johnny Depp whose eccentric rendition of Jack Sparrow was magnificent. From the tiniest mannerisms and slurred speech, to the make-up (allegedly his idea) and the body language, Depp gives a fantastic performance that helps solidify the film’s success. Known for his eccentric roles, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is no different: after viewing the film you couldn’t imagine anyone but Depp doing the role of Sparrow justice. Not to be unmentioned are Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom who also do a fine job with their roles. Their chemistry seems believable enough, but, yes I will say it, the end scene was rather cheesy. But this is Disney: a kiss is to be expected.


Johnny Depp is Captain Jack Sparrow, the nefarious pirate and former Captain of the Black Pearl who will drink, swear, pilfer, and swash-buckle his way back to the Black Pearl to reclaim his title of Captain.

Keira Knightley is Elizabeth Swann, the aristocratic beauty that has a penchant for trouble, pirates, and shiny objects, and maybe, Mr. Turner.

Orlando Bloom is Will Turner, the ill-fated orphan boy who strives to raise his social rank; a feat that is wearisome considering his new best friend is none other than the puckish Jack Sparrow.

Jack Davenport is Norrington, the ridiculously stuffy and proper member of the Royal Army, alleged fiancé to Miss Swann, and a man whose hatred for pirates provokes him to run every last pirate ship off his maiden seas.

Geoffrey Rush is Captain Barbossa, the wily pirate who overthrows Sparrow’s captainship, steals the Pearl, and runs the ship while under a heavy curse.