Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

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Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2011
A fun swashbuckling action/adventure that is helped along by a very well-rounded cast, but the main attraction (outside of the fantastic costumes and set designs) is by far Johnny Depp's charmingly iconic turn as Captain Jack Sparrow.

I feel like I would have liked this flick more if the pacing had been tighter (20 minutes could have been cut from the runtime), the plot less convoluted, and the direction had been more imaginative and lively.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2006
The original story of the now ubiquitous franchise was an abject lesson in how to create a feelgood summer hit. It has no pretensions to being high art; just a hugely entertaining romp that ticks all the right boxes. Spectacular set pieces, great effects, likeable characters and a well written script that never patronizes the audience. But we all know what really made this film, and that's Johnny Depp's hilariously eccentric performance; he literally owns this film. We all love an anti-hero at the best of times, but what Depp brings to the film is a genuine sense of FUN. Something that's missing all too often from a studio system used to grinding out soulless formulaic blockbusters that completely lack the kind of magic that makes a film special. The final result here is a film that successfully lives up to the traditions of the classic Hollywood swashbuckler from Fairbanks jr and Errol Flynn right through to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. One of the most enjoyable family films of recent years.
Super Reviewer
½ August 8, 2007
Well who'd of thought a film about a theme park ride would become so huge. A simple theme park attraction that I rode when I was but a wee nipper in Disney World Florida, and it wasn't that amazing if I recall. So Verbinski and Bruckheimer take many ideas and leafs out of the video game The Secret of Monkey Island and low and behold we have our pirate flick.

Tis the year of our lord errr...the late 17th Century, or possibly the early 18th Century, not too sure, but plundering be a plenty!. The crew of the Black Pearl are after cursed treasure and the blood of the last remaining pirate so they can break the curse put upon them for stealing the cursed gold in the first place. Unfortunately the last pirate is dead (cos they killed him) so they need his offspring instead, in the mean time 'Captain Jack Sparrow' is wanting his beloved vessel back under his control.

The plot is actually kinda fiddly methinks and even now I'm having to wrap my head around exactly why and how things happen. So the Aztec gold is cursed and that curse turns the pirates into the undead, skeletal warriors that are unable to be killed. Now is that really a curse? these guys are pirates, they live a life of danger and plundering, surely being immortal and invincible would be really handy traits to have no?. I don't really understand why these guys wanna break the curse so badly and make themselves vunerable to death which inevitably awaits them at every turn. Especially with the whole British Navy after them all the time.

There are many little quibbles I have with the plot really, in all the battle sequences the good guys fight the pirates, but what for?? they can't win, the pirates can't be killed, it just seems so pointless to me haha. To break the curse all the pirates that stole the gold need to put their blood back into the chest along with all the gold...I think, yet that isn't made clear. You tend to think its just the offspring of 'Bootstrap Bill', this is why Sparrow wipes his blood on the coin in the end which I never clicked on. That leads me to the other point or mistake that 'Barbossa' is shot by Sparrow before 'Turner' drops the last blood soaked coin into the chest. So doesn't that mean that at the exact moment he was shot he was still cursed and invincible? thusly he should have survived that bullet. The coin should of been in the chest before Barbossa was shot surely.

Quibbles aside the film is actually a rollicking good adventure the likes of which hadn't been seen for some time. In the good old fashioned tradition of Errol Flynn swashbucklers by jove. I can't deny that the film is tremendous fun enhanced of course by the campy performance of Depp which came straight out of left field. No one really expected what Depp came up with and it was really fresh! the film could so easily have become a stuffy straight laced predictable action romp ('Cutthroat Island' anyone?) but the inclusion of Depp's Sparrow really gave a different angle. You have the obligatory hero in Bloom and of course the damsel in distress with Knightly but Sparrow was such a unique character giving such a quirky boost to the traditional proceedings.

On top of that was the inclusion of a vast array of really decent pirate characters both good and bad from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. This not only gave the film a nice comic book-esque feel but also actual realism as of course pirates of the day were a scurvy bunch from all over, pirates were pretty politically correct and hired anyone. I personally liked 'Mr Cotton' and his parrot in the traditional sense there, 'Ragetti' and 'Pintel' are a classic slapstick duo of baddie pirates that amuse nicely and Kevin McNally as 'Gibbs' gives us another traditional approach with lots of golden pirate dialog that I think stems from Robert Newton and Disney's 1966 Treasure Island film.

Gotta give kudos to the makeup and costume designs for the pirates, they really do look completely unwashed. Their teeth, facial hair, coarse knotted looking head hair, even their eyes, it all looks really authentic. Naturally Sparrow isn't quite as scruffy as the rest but his attire is definitely more effeminate which is funny, more so with his body language. Oh and Barbossa...Soul Calibur the movie much? 'Cervantes' if you ask me, just running that up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes it.

In all honesty there are so many good characters in this film its hard to narrow them all down. Then you have the typical type of visuals that you'd think Tim Burton had a hand in, excellent dark atmospheric sequences and shots including dark misty seascapes, fog bound galleons, the yellow glow of light from a cross hatched window pane breaking through the gloomy night, skeleton pirates in the moonlight, bleak islands by night etc...Then on the flip side there are the gorgeous daylight visuals of the British ports, sandy beaches, palm trees, galleons and various other vessels harbouring against tropical settings etc...its all here, everything you'd expect to see and everything you want to see in a good old fashioned pirate film.

I can see why the film expected to bomb as its one of those dodgy types of genres, but from the offset you can see the quality of detail on display. Everything really looks top dollar all the way through the film but amazingly the film has such a good range of characters (which is unusual lets be honest) it really doesn't matter. For once a Hollywood blockbuster actually got it right and gave us something other than flashy special effects, they gave us good fun characters we care about...to a degree. Also the special effects aren't all CGI which is one for the books (skeletons aside), a lot of the action is using real sets, real explosions, real stunts and in real locations which really does make all the difference, just like in the good old days.

The actual pirate skeletons still look OK but of course feel a bit dated these days. The CGI can't be hidden with these guys and it is obvious, that inescapable fake plastic feel about them. Should have used stop motion I reckon hehe.

To this day I still can't believe this summer blockbuster managed to do what the creators set out to do. To make a film harking back to the days of the silver screen, the golden age of Hollywood and at the same time use traditional real time effects without much use of CGI (what they did use was sensibly done, sparingly). They took an Errol Flynn swashbuckler added some nice touches of humour, a little modern action here and there, a dash of good old fashioned sea tales/myths and cranked up the location visuals to produce a top adventure. If only the plot had been a little clearer in places. Gotta love the film title though huh.
Super Reviewer
½ September 14, 2007
Although I had expectations ( from watching the trailers ) that this might be a good movie, I was still surprised that it's as good as it is. The story is actually more complex than I had expected, involving cursed pirates and their quest to rid themselves of the curse. I won't say more than that so as not to spoil it if you haven't seen it.

There aren't as many action scenes as I had thought there would be in a pirate movie, but the ones that are in the movie were very fun and enjoyable. After seeing it, I think it had the right balance of action and drama. There are also, of course, a lot of funny bits interspersed between the action and drama. Some really good special effects also add to the enjoyment of this movie.

I wasn't much of a fan of Johnny Depp until I saw this movie. I think he deserved to win the Academy Award for best actor. It's largely because of his performance, IMO, that the movie was so good. Most of the supporting cast did well, mind you, just that Johnny Depp stood high above the rest. I did find Orlando Bloom's performance a bit wooden, but other than that the acting was good. 4 1/2 Stars 9-28-07 (Updated 2013)
Super Reviewer
November 11, 2012
Market Man
Super Reviewer
½ October 17, 2012
Argh! This be an awesome movie! It's a fun adventure with plenty of humor, well done special effects, and great acting. Bummer that this is the only one that doesn't suck in the series. "The Curse of the Black Pearl" is not a flawless film; there are some plot points that don't add up. But it's very unique and makes good use with what the genre has to offer.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2008
Pirates, skeletons, curses and Johnny Depp. Gore Verbinsky takes a simple Disney-based roller-coaster ride and develops an adaptation that is eerie and adventurous. Depp's performances makes up for the slight hiccups that occur throughout the film. 4/5
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2007
The first of the pirate adventures. Captain Jack Sparrow has to recover his ship - the Black Pearl. He ropes in Keira and Orlando on the adventure. Johnny Depp is excellent. Orlando Bloom is hot!
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2011
This franchise has made over $3 Billion worldwide. Seriously? Note to self: It's always best to disregard the masses. There's nothing extremely offensive here, there's nothing really good either. That includes Johnny Depp, I find his character irritating and forced. The other thing, why the did this have to be so long? The storytelling is spread way too thin by the length. Well, whatever. This was mediocre at best, and like most mainstream series, I'm sure it's all downhill from here.
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2006
good times
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2011
Pirates is completely reliant on CGI. In the style of Roland Emmerich and desperately in need of a story and whats worse is you have to sit there for longer than 2 hours watching the same action sequences over and over and over again.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2007
Johnny Depp completely deserved his Oscar nomination for best actor from this movie, but Curse of the Black Pearl is also a highly entertaining blockbuster that delivers thrills and chills.
zach l.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2011
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a very fun and entertaining movie. More than average story with amazing performances by Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush. Jack Sparrow has to be one of my favorite characters in a long while. Johnny Depp carries the movie and Klaus Badelt/Hans Zimmer's score creates a swashbuckling good time.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2010
I will never see the fascinated people have with A) Johnny Depp as a pirate and B) Anyone as a pirate. I think I dislike these movies because of what they created out of the mass audience of young teenage girls who have never seen Cry Baby, What's Eating Gilbert Grape or Benny and Joon but still profess their love for Johnny Depp, who, I hate to tell them, doesn't wear eye liner all the time. Terrible English accents, recycled story lines and an awfully confusing plot that even the most die hard fans don't seem to fully understand, if it wasn't for Depp this movie would be at the bottom of the ocean where it belongs.
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2011
An incredible entrance to the series, and Depps best performance ever in my opinion. Elizibeth Swan (Keira Knightly) saved her friend Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) as a child when she found him drifting in the water, and now as adults living in the Carribeans in Port Royal and are still friends but both secretly are in love with eachother. When she found him she found a meddalion around his neck, showing he was a pirate. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is a pirate, and has come to Port Royal in search of a ship and a crew. Jack Sparrow was once captain of a legendary ship called the Black Pearl, but was betrayed by his first mate Captain Barbossa (Geoffery Rush. When the Barbossa comes to Port Royal with his crew in search of the medallion, they kidnap Elizibeth, and Will sets out to find her, but when Jack gets put in jail, Will breaks him out in order to help him find Elizibeth, and so jack can get back his beloved Pearl. The plot is a good and fun journey, dealing with undead, soldiers, and cursed treasure. Johnny Depp is the show stealer in this, being able to make us laugh and hate him at the smae time, but nobody can hate Jack Sparrow, we all love him. The rest of the cast is very good too, espically Geoffery Rush, but hes always good. This is my second favorite in the series, and it really deserves every good review it gets.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2008
How can you not love P OTC? Jack Sparrow is one of my favourite movie characters and this doesn't fail to impress.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2007
POTC has always felt a bit awkward to me...it's hard to describe why. Like, I like Johnny Depp enough as Jack Sparrow but there are these pauses between his exchanges that I'm sure are there for character but really just take me out of the reality of the movie into my own reality where I think, as Johnny Depp forgotten his lines or something. And, I don't know, I'm not usually a big stickler for acting but Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and that Commodore guy are just so unconvincing I could never fully get into the movie. I've seen this so many times that it's grown sort of tiresome to watch. But I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because I do really like the movie, conceptually.
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2007
Yeah this was pretty good. Good acting...The effects looked pretty good...interesting story and a little bit of humor. Thumbs Up!
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2007
By far one of the better ones so far.
Its a very amusing and very enjoyable movie.
Johnny Depp is by far the best character ever and plays the part extremely well.
Really worth the watch
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2011
For a movie based on a Disneyland ride, this turned out to be quite the surprise. Redefining the Pirate-movie genre, it's pure entertainment combined with adrenaline pumping action.

Amazing performances by Johny Depp and Geoffry Rush really bring out these fictional characters.
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