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Pirates Of The Caribbean

zeezack's picture

I don't think there's been any movie ever made based on a ride. There have been plenty of rides made based on movies (of which Star Tours was always a personal fave of mine) but never the other way round. I think its fair to say that for this reason many people didn't exactly have high hopes for this movie and thought it might turn out to be the biggest turkey of the summer. Well I'm glad to inform you that it definitely is not a turkey. It's far better than the ride at Disneyland, and is a rollicking good piece of old fashioned pirate entertainment. So the basic storyline is pretty simple. Orlando Bloom plays Will Turner, a young blacksmith who unknowingly actually has his family tree roots in piracy. Kiera Knightly rescues Will when she was just a little girl from a sinking ship, and she discovers a golden amulet with the skull and crossbones around his neck. Not wanting others or Will to know of his pirate origins, Kieras character Elisabeth Swann takes the amulet and keeps it herself until we cut to ten years later. By this time Will has major crush on Miss Swann, but also faces stiff competition from a high officer in the British Navy for the maidens fair hand. At the same time the legendary pirate Jack Sparrow arrives in town trying to 'commandeer' a ship and after a spectacular chain of events almost kidnaps Miss Swann, and accidentally sets off the amulets power attracting the pirates of the Cursed Black Pearl to the island. Before long the 'cursed' men of the Black Pearl are searching for the amulet and its bearer to lift their moonlight curse once and for all. After kidnapping Miss Swann, Will employs the help of Jack Sparrow and together they launch a daring rescue mission to get her back, and defeat the pirates of the Black Pearl. The film starts off quite slowly to begin with, establishing the main characters and the plot. Believe it or not there's alto more to it than what I have already explained, but this is one of those movies where if you explain everything you're know way too much before you go in. The first major characters you meet are Orlando Blloms and Kiera Knightlys and both act their parts out very well. Bloom thankfully manages to shake off his Legolas character from Lord of the Rings, making his Pirates character a far more civilised and gentler kind of hero. Kiera Knightly quite rightly is a female that can kick ass as well as she can act. She plays the part of damsel in distress very well throughout the movie, and grows in strength further as it goes on, having many a standout line. However the most memorable main character has to be Johnny Depps Jack Sparrow. Playing like a drunken pirate version of Keith Richards, any beliefs that Depp might not be able to pull off an eccentric English pirate are put to rest within minutes of him being on the screen. Depps character is also not completely good, which makes him a bit more interesting than the other tow main heroes of the piece. For instance there are several points in the movie where you wonder whether he'll end up bargaining with the cursed pirates and swapping sides to join them. The first 30 minutes or so of the film are spent establishing these three main characters and apart from the odd swordfight and in-joke aimed at people who have been on the ride, they can be quite hard going for those who want action straight away. Fear now however because it is soon after this that the Black Pearl makes its first grand entrance in to port and the action begins. The kidnapping sequence is particularly action packed and its here you get your first glimpse of what exactly the cursed men look like in the moonlight. It is also here that Geoffrey Rush's evil character Captain Barboosa is introduced to the proceedings. In terms of a realistic rum swelling evil pirate Rush pulls off the character very well, and is an admirable rival and old foe to Depps Sparrow character. All of the action from this point in is very exciting and keep you watching the movie and although there is still the odd slow part of the movie, the slowest parts are over by the end of the first 30 minutes. The special effects in this movie are fabulous. When the ships blast the hell out of each other you see how damaging it is. When you get to see the cursed men in all their glory for the first time, you will be stunned. When the cursed men face the British navy and storm their boats you will literally be swept away with the action. This is by far one of ILM's better attempts at realistic CGI effects that that I have seen of late, and is far better than the work they did on the Mummy Returns which featured similar characters shall we say. The other good thing is that the movie does not rely on hundreds of special effects to carry it. Although the ones that are used are very impressive, they are actually used quite sparingly and much of the films charm is in the acting, the script and the direction. Speaking of the script apparently when producer Jerry Bruckheimer supposedly read it for the first time he was distinctly unimpressed, but after supervising rewrites made it in to a summer blockbuster. I get the feeling that Bruckeheimer probably influenced the curse featuring so prominently, and the fleshing out of the main characters, and this was a wise move. By doing this he made just a potential kids flick in to a full-blown summer event movie. Of course Bruckheimers an old hand at doing such feats anyway, so its no surprise that it turned out the way it did. The director Gore Vebrinksi has also upped his directorial skills and shown just how much of a talent he is. After previously directing the anarchic comedy Mousehunt, and the disturbing cult horror The Ring, Vebrinski now has a nice list of films under his belt, and I suspect he'll be offered even bigger blockbusters in the future. I'm pretty sure if a sequel were made to this movie he'd be glad to helm it too, which would be a very good thing. The music in this movie is also very memorable, and has that heroic feel to it, especially during the daring sword fights and sea battles. In fact I can see this music being used in many a trailer in the future, always a sign of good memorable music that. The cinematography is suitably bright and sunny during the daylight scenes, and very dark and moody, with lots of mist during the twilight scenes. In fact it did remind me a lot of the ride on a far more modern popcorn blockbuster scale. Lastly fans of the ride wont be disappointed, numerous in jokes feature prominently throughout the movie including the rides main song, the dog with keys in his mouth, the sleeping blacksmith and donkey, and some famous ships. All in all a far better adaptation of a charming but ultimately just nostalgic and average ride at every Disneyland resort on the planet. I'm Not sure whether Walt Disney would be pleased with all the modern updates that were made to his original concept of the ride, but if they decide to update the ride to fit in more with the movie than yo ho ho, its definitely a pirates life for me. In summary a fine way to waste two hours, and a pretty damn good summer blockbuster, not five star perfect, but way above expectations considering the material, buy yourself a bottle of rum and get down to the cinema straight away to transport to the Caribbean and enjoy the closest you're probably ever get to seeing a Monkey Island: The Movie. (Now that is something that Lucas should be developing!)

Rating: 
7
Quote: 
"That's Captain Jack Sparrow"
Image: