Yo-ho-ho and a Bottle of Fun!, The Trinidad Guardian, August 8, 2003
typed by Becky Greenleaf
Move over blondes, Terminators and Hulks. Make way for the sizzling
swashbucklers whose comical sage makes for serious fun.
Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley shine in Pirates.
The most stimulating
the summer thus far have been documentaries: Spellbound and Capturing the Friedmans.
Finally, there’s a big-budget popcorn movie that delivers what moviegoers hunger
for: humour, action, thrills and charismatic characters. Pirates of the Caribbean:
The Curse of The Black Pearl is the summer blockbuster we’ve been waiting for.
From the haunting opening sequence with a little girl eerily singing the infamous “Yo
Ho” song, Pirates grabs audiences and doesn’t let go. And it stars two screen hunks:
Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp, who looks sexy despite the gold teeth and matted
Depp’s dissipated Captain Jack Sparrow is the offbeat centerpiece of the movie. He
lives on his wits, though he has spent a tad too much time on the high seas with the
sun beating down on him. Sparrow comes sailing to the villages of Port Royal, run by
Gov. Swann (Jonathan Pryce), who’s determined to see his lovely daughter Elizabeth
(Keira Knightley) married off the to the influential Commodore Norrington (Jack
Davenport). However, Elizabeth has long had eyes for blacksmith Will Turner (Bloom),
who shares her unexpressed devotion.
The town’s calm is shattered when the pirate crew from the creepy Black Pearl,
manned by the evil Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), invades in search of a lost
gold medallion. The barbarous buccaneers kidnap Elizabeth (who has the medallion)
and plan to sacrifice her. While the stuffy Norrington sails off to her rescue,
Turner joins forces with Sparrow, who has hijacked the fastest ship around.
Together, they uncover the mystery behind the Black Pearl.
Who would have guessed after last year’s dismal Country
Bears that a second
movie based on a Disney them park ride could be rip-roaring fun? And as if the
Disney ride stigma weren’t challenge enough, pirate movies have been notorious
failures in recent years. (Remember Cutthroat Island?)
Pirates’ director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer expertly
navigated the rough waters to avoid the genre’s pitfalls: overblown action
sequences, unbelievable characters, dated sagas. Their efforts, and those of
screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio (who also wrote Shrek) strike just the
right tone. The dazzling visuals (ghostly skeletons brawl in the moonlight aboard a
haunted galleon) and spectacular swordsmanship blend seamlessly with comic moments.
This kind of movie works best if it doesn’t take itself too seriously (think
Jones), and Pirates has some great moments of humorous self-deprecation.
Pirates will enthrall kids and amuse adults.
Its only failing is that at 2 hours and
15 minutes, it’s about 20 minutes too long. But Pirates is still boatloads of fun.
(PG-13 for action/adventure violence)