We open with a scene of a shipwreck at sea. The newly-appointed Governor
of Port Royal, one Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce), is sailing to his new
post aboard one of His Majesty's ships when it comes across
the remnants of a ship that was obviously ransacked and destroyed by
pirates. Amid the debris, the Governor's 8 year-old daughter Elizabeth
spots a boy floating unconcious in the water. When they bring the boy
aboard, Elizabeth discovers a chain around his neck with a gold medallion
strung on it. Elizabeth secretly steals the medallion and keeps it to herself,
an act that will come to have a great impact on her later in life.
Will & Elizabeth
Ten years later we see the famed pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp),
who's sailing into Port Royal aboard what can only be called a floating mast. His
crew had mutinied and left him stranded on the proverbial island and he
just managed to escape. His bad luck holds, however, and he is immediately
thrown into jail. We find Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) has grown into a young beauty who
has attracted the attentions of the ambitious Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport),
a pompous prat to whom she has been betrothed by her father. But Elizabeth
loves the handsome young smithee, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who was the boy
plucked out of the water those many years ago. Will is now an artisan who makes
the best swords in all of the Caribbean, and he is also quite skilled in their
use, but in that culture he is a lowly tradesman. And lowly tradesman do not
marry into the peerage, so the two smitten youngsters are limited to furtive
glances, heaving bosoms, stolen moments, and brief conversations.
Crew of The Black Pearl
The game's afoot when Jack's old crew aboard the legendary ship The Black Pearl, now under the command of his old
nemisis Captain Barbossa, attacks Port Royal and kidnaps Elizabeth,
intending to ransom her. Jack, seeking to avenge himself (and avoid being hung,
of course) escapes from jail. He crosses swords with our hero Will, but the
two discover their common interests and join forces to try go after the
Black Pearl, recover the treasure and rescue Elizabeth. But there's a secret
neither of them knows. The ship is indeed haunted by demons and they will
have to overcome their enemy using their wits as well as their swords.
Jack Sparrow and Our Hero Will Turner
Its a knock-down, drag-out of a movie with excellent special effects. The
gags are non-stop, but you have to be quick or you'll miss half of them. Johnny Depp is
charming as the scoundrel Jack Sparrow, perhaps the most aptly-named character in movie
history. I've never before seen a pirate who looks like the "Before" shot in
the old Charles Atlas comic book ads. But he's funny and handles the role with a
deft touch - never letting the jokes overwhelm the action or the story. Keira Knightley
is beautiful and handles her role with grace and timing, handling the role of
intrepid heroine with pluck and dignity, with a sprinkling of corset jokes to keep
One of the things I was most grateful for was that this movie
could have easily been so bad. The deliberate exploitation of the Disney theme
park attraction Pirates of the Caribbean could have meant a mindless Disney
kids' movie from "The Absent-Minded Professor" era. The producers do pay homage
to the movie's namesake, Disney Imagineer Marc Davis' marvelous attraction in Disneyland, by using several easily recognized scenes from the ride as a
backdrop for several locations in the town of Port Royal. And here and there,
the cast will let forth with a few stanzas from "Yo-Ho! A Pirate's Life For
Me!" But other than those two aspects, there's no other sign of The
Company's often-heavy-handed influence. Its just a wonderful show. In the
words of Monty Python's Michael Palin, its "A Ripping Good Yarn!"
I think its going to be a much bigger hit than anyone expected. We're going
to see it at least once more in the theater and there's a spot on our bookshelf
already reserved for the DVD.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Soundtrack CD
By Klaus Badelt
A collection of classical renditions for a movie with a classic theme. Badelt's
music adds depth and spirit to this movie. Lots of reeds to put the wind in your sails and to
strike a chord of fear when the time is right and the spirits are amongst us. You won't be disappointed.
See our sister site Rainbo Animation Art for information on Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Soundtrack
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Junior Novelization
By Irene Tremble
Just $4.99 from Amazon.com!
We'll review this title in our Childrens' Book section as soon as possible, but if you don't need convincing you
can order it now from Amazon.com! There's also a PC Game, a Game Boy cartridge and an X-Box game.
Be sure to visit us again next month when we'll
review more great entertainment events! Our entertainment
events and movie reviews are written by our Editor, Richard L. Trethewey.