I attempt to stay plot-spoiler free, however a major action sequence is discussed.

Will Turner:
This is either brilliance or madness.
Jack Sparrow:
Remarkable how often those two traits coincide, isn’t it?

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio

After the Governor’s daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) is kidnapped by the evil pirate Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Elizabeth's childhood friend Will Turner (Legola...er..Orlando Bloom) must team up with rogue pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to save her. Little do they know that Barbossa and his men are under the influence of an ancient curse and sail the seas as undead unless they kill Elizabeth to release it.

Holy crap! The meme is right, Keira Knightley is the sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet! I could look at this girl all day. But she could use a a bit more weight on her though…ahem...but this writeup is not about my sexual proclivities, it’s about the movie, or rather two movies. You see, what we have here is two films mixed into one. The first is the story of Elizabeth’s kidnapping and Will’s quest to defeat the undead pirates, and it’s a pretty good adventure yarn. The second is yet another installment in the B-movie serial The Adventures of Jack Sparrow, an over-the-top action/comedy extravaganza starring Johnny Depp as the mincing, foppish, slightly drunk (or possibly mad) titular character. The fact that these movies seem to inhabit the same plotline is of no consequence. The first film is filled with dire pronouncements, swashbuckling, mizzenmast hoisting, and true love. While the second features Jack Sparrow essentially playing a goofy drunken pirate version of the old TV character Maverick, always looking to scam people using his mouth and mind instead of his sword.

Johnny Depp completely 0wnz this flick, and everyone (even a deliciously grizzled Geoffrey Rush) ends up playing straight man to his character. Every scene he is in gets injected with a kind of manic absurdity, so much so that whenever he is gone it feels like we are watching a completely different movie. And I have to say that his movie entertained me a lot more. That’s not to say that I didn’t love the general pirate-y goodness of the rest of the movie, hell the bravura swordfight between Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa is the best I’ve seen since Westley and Inigo traded barbs.

As part of the curse, Barbossa and his evil crew are turned into skeletons under the light of the moon. The CGI skeletons are very fluid and well done, but I’ll always picture my evil skeletons moving with that stop motion hitching style a la Clash of the Titans. The best use of the skeletons comes during a swordfight in a secret cave with a hole in the roof. As the combatants move in and out of the shafts of moonlight, parts of them (and sometimes their whole bodies) would skeletonize while the rest would stay human. This sequence was done perfectly and just completely kicked my ass.

I kinda wish the film had been a bit more overt with its violence, you hardly see any blood and I don’t think any impalements happened on camera. Of course if they did do this the movie probably would have been rated Arrrrr!!

Disney wants to start a Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise and they certainly have my blessing, but I can’t help reiterating the wish I made in my Shanghai Knights review for a return to the short film format. Jack Sparrow is such a great character that Johnny Depp totally inhabits, it would be a shame if we had to wait three years to see him again, and even if they make a sequel he might not be in it. Just shoot a quick series of Jack Sparrow shorts and throw them in front of various Disney releases, and later you can sell them in DVD sets. C’mon people, let’s get to work on this!

I hope this movie makes lot of money so a studio might have the balls to greenlight an Anne Bonny-Mary Read lesbian pirate epic!