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“So, are we in for a typical swashbuckling, pirate...”

Written on: 13/05/2004 by sammkt (1 review written)

Good Points
Great cast (Johnny Depp of course is fantastic), crew, storyline, special effects - you name it.

Bad Points
A little bit predictible.

General Comments
So, are we in for a typical swashbuckling, pirate adventure film which follows suite of those similar to it in being over-spent and to say the least, disasterous? No, Pirates of the Caribbean is simply brilliant, it has everything which is needed for a good film and add in the pirate element and you have every child's dream, add the cast, the plot and those witty one liners and its a film for everyone of all ages.

Right, a quick overview then. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a Disney film directed by Gore Verbinski, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring (the great) Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in the main roles as well as having Jack Davenport and Jonathon Price in slightly smaller roles.

The film is (very) loosely based on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride (at Disneyland). I say loosely as the story is rather original (Screenwriters - Stuart Beattie, Ted Elliot, Terry Rosario and Jay Wolbert) but the ideas of the pirates and the towns are in the film as well as those sneak little things from the ride - such as a dog holding the keys to a cell and the prisoners trying to beckon him forward - the exact thing which is shown in the ride.

Right, so onto the film plot. Because of ultimately his popularity, the story revolves around Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a not-too-successful pirate who has come to Port Royale to 'commondere' the fastest ship of the British Royal Navy. However, for him things do not go as planned when the Governor's (Jonathon Price) daughter Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley){who is the true person the plot revolves around as all her actions dictate what will happen) falls from a fort, into the sea after the new Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport) proposes to her, no it wasn't shock, her corset was too tight for her to breathe!

Anyway, our hero Jack Sparrow dives in and saves her only to be arrested by Commodore Norrington as he is a pirate.

That night, Port Royale is invaded by pirates - Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) and his crew. They have come for a certain piece of treasure which they need to remove a curse they have had on them for ten years which prevents them dying and shows them as skeletons by night. To get this treasure, they end up kidnapping Elizabeth, all because a maid told her they would kidnap her as the governor's daughter so she changed her name and gave that of her childhood friend - Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) instead. This was a mistake as the Turner family is who the pirates are after, so they kidnap her. believeing she will be able to remove their curse.

The next day, he childhood friend Will Turner sets out on a mission to save her, unable to persuade Norrington and his men, he joins forces with Jack Sparrow, springs him from jail, sets sail on the fastest ship in the British Royal Navy, goes to Tortuga to pick up a crew, and then sails to Isla De Morta, where the Barbosa and his crew have set sail for.

I'll leave it at that for now, or I'll give the whole story away. What I've said so far probably makes it sound more like a romance - which it probably is, but add in a few sword fights, including one large one with the skeletal pirates, add in a huge sea battle (which of course you have to have in a pirate movie) add all the excellent acting from all the cast and you get one great swashbuckling adventure film which you'll be able to watch over and over again.

The music for this film is also brilliant. I have read some reviews which say it is similar to his other stuff (Gladiator for one) but whether it is or isn't, the music keeps this story going, the music for Jack Sparrow and the sword fights at the end are especially memorable and catchy - an excellent music score.

The 2 Disc DVD for this comes with many special features, all of which are great:

Disc one contains the film (obviously) and audio commentaries from Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp; the screenwriters; and selected commentaries from Jack Davenport and Keira Knightley; and Jerry Bruckheimer.

The second disc contains the following:

An Epic At Sea - the making of Pirates of the Caribbean from the actors, to make up, visual effects and the premiere

Fly On The Set - behind the scenes, or rather on the scenes for Tortuga, Pirates Attack, Jack Sparrow's Hanging, Will and Jack's Sword Fight and the Final Cave Scene. These are rather fun to watch.

Diaries - A Pirates Diary - with Lee Arenberg giving an idea of what life was like on set for the actors. A Producer's Diary - some excellent photos from producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Diary of a Ship - a fascinating insight into the journey of the Lady Washington - the ship used as the Interceptor which was bought from California to the Caribbean for shooting.

Below Deck - a series of short information films into the life of a real pirate - includes information on food, battles, superstitions, and also famous pirates like Blackbeard

Blooper Reel - the obvious, mistakes made on and off set and a display of what the sound team can do to a scene.

Deleted Scenes - again the obvious - scenes which were filmed and didn't make it into the final film including one with Johnny Depp, Lee Arenberg and the other pirates when noboy shouted cut so they carried on - improvising as to why noone likes the French!

Moonlight Serenade Scene Progression - a behind the scenes and visual effects information, showing the scene on the boat when the pirates are revealed as skeletons to Elizabeth from filming to the visual effects department (which involved one man having beef jerky scanned and placed over his skull!) to the final views.

Image Gallery - again obvious - images from the film including some story boards.

Pirates In The Parks - the story of the Disney attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean. Warning - after watching this you will have the Pirates Yo Ho song stuck in your head.

Both discs also contain 'Enhanced Computer Features'. When placed in a DVD -ROM drive you can view more storyboards, view the script of the film, change a photo of yourself into a skeleton and view more information on the attraction at Disney.

There you go, sums up the Pirates of the Caribbean DVD - well worth the money due to all the extra features. I definately recommend this film.

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