Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 American fantasy swashbuckler film directed by Gore Verbinski and the first film in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer, the film is based on Walt Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disney theme parks. It was also notable for being the first film released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner to be rated PG-13 by the MPAA.
Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) arrives at Port Royal in the Caribbean without a ship or crew. His timing is inopportune, however, because later that evening the town is besieged by a pirate ship. The pirates kidnap the governor's daughter, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), who's in possession of a valuable coin that is linked to a curse that has transformed the pirates into the undead. A gallant blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) in love with Elizabeth allies with Sparrow in pursuit of the pirates.
Why It Rocks
- The acting is spectacular and amazing, especially from Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.
- Beautiful cinematography and some decent camerawork.
- The setting for the film is great and accurately designed for the 1700s.
- The film's plotline is very original, exciting and well-developed.
- Likable and unforgettable characters, such as Captain Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner.
- Hector Barbossa is an entertaining antagonist and Geoffrey Rush does an amazing job playing him.
- Brilliant, nicely done pacing throughout the movie.
- Numerous amounts of funny, action-packed and memorable moments, such as the one-on-one fight scene between Sparrow and Barbossa and the action-packed music that goes along with it.
- Amazing character-development, such as with Elizabeth Swann, turning from modest woman to rebellious pirate, and Barbossa, who went from a greedy pirate villain to one of Jack Sparrow’s newest allies.
- Brilliant musical score and the soundtrack from Klaus Badelt, especially "He's a Pirate" song.
Before its release, many journalists expected Pirates of the Caribbean to be a flop. The pirate genre had not been successful for years, with Cutthroat Island (1995) being a notable flop. The film was also based on a theme park ride, and Depp, known mostly for starring in cult films at the time, had little track record as a box office leading man.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl opened at #1, grossing $46,630,690 in its opening weekend and $70,625,971 since its Wednesday launch. It eventually made its way to $654,264,015 worldwide ($305,413,918 domestically and $348,850,097 overseas), becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2003. Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 50.64 million tickets in the US.
Overseas, it dominated for seven consecutive weekends at the box office, tying the record of Men in Black II at the time. Only three movies after that broke the record; its sequel, Dead Man's Chest (with nine consecutive #1 weekends and ten in total), Avatar (with 11 consecutive #1 weekends) and The Smurfs (with eight consecutive #1 weekends). It is currently the 71st-highest-grossing film of all time.
Deep earned universal acclaim for his performance as Jack Sparrow and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He later earned him nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
This is the only Pirates of the Caribbean movie to earn a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes: the film has an approval rating of 79% based on 206 reviews, and an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It may leave you exhausted like the theme park ride that inspired it; however, you'll have a good time when it's over." At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews, the film received an average score of 63 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Alan Morrison of Empire felt it was "the best blockbuster of the summer," acclaiming all the comic performances despite his disappointment with the swashbuckling sequences.
The performance of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow was particularly praised by critics and audiences alike. Review site PopMatters applauds Depp's performance by saying "Ingenious and mesmerizing, Johnny Depp embodies the film's essential fantasy, that a pirate's life is exciting and unfettered." James Berardinelli of ReelViews also applauds Depp's performance by saying "Pirates of the Caribbean belongs to Johnny Depp...Take away Depp, and you're left with a derivative and dull motion picture."
Roger Ebert acclaimed Depp and Rush's performances, with "It can be said that [Depp's] performance is original in its every atom. There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie... his behavior shows a lifetime of rehearsal." However, he felt the film went for too long, a criticism shared by Kenneth Turan's negative review, feeling it "spends far too much time on its huge supporting cast of pirates (nowhere near as entertaining as everyone assumes) and on bloated adventure set pieces," despite having also enjoyed Depp's performance.
- This is the first Disney film to get a PG-13 rating.
- It is based on a theme park ride with the same name in Disneyland.