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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

A cursed gold pirate pendant causes all sorts of trouble. A band of nasty pirates, led by Captain Barbossa, attack Port Royal, which results in the kidnapping of a lovely Elizabeth Swann, who now owns this pendant. An unlikely team of treasure-loving pirate Jack Sparrow, in need of a ship, and Will Turner, go in hot pursuit, three steps ahead of the British Navy, to catch up with Captain Barbossa, his stolen ship and crew on The Black Pearl, who all have serious problems of their own with the consequences of trying to take a cursed treasure.

The cast includes: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Damian O'Hare, Giles New, Angus Barnett, David Bailie, Michael Berry Jr., Kevin McNally, and Isaac C. Singleton Jr.

Screenplay by Anthony Perkins & Stephen Sondheim & Screen Story by Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert - Inspired by Walt Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Directed by: Gore Verbinski.

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Promotional Lines: "Prepare to be blown out of the water."

"Over 3000 Islands of Paradise -- For Some it's A Blessing -- For Others... It's A Curse!"


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The Governor's daughter, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) lives with her father, Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce ) in luxury at Port Royal, along the Caribbean sea, sometime during the 17th century. As a child she took a treasure pendant from an unconscious boy, Will Turner, who was rescued from the sea. It is now her favorite necklace, but will soon get her into trouble!

Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), is now a master sword-maker, and makes very fine swords for all gentlemen, and isn't in the same social class as the lovely Elizabeth Swann. Though he loves her, he won't proclaim his love for her, because of the difference in their class, though she wants him to do so.

Her father has another suitor in mind for his daughter, an up and coming rank-advancing British Officer, Norrington (Jack Davenport), a man that Elizabeth doesn't want to marry. During a moment alone with Norrington along a wall of the fortress, when Norrington was trying to tell her his feelings he has for her with his back to her, she faints and falls into the water below, because of a too tight corset.

Luckily for her, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a lovable but conniving pirate, who was trying to con two guards into letting him board an empty ship, sees her fall and jumps in to save her. For his trouble, he is arrested and put in the slammer, because of his profession, being a pirate / con-artist with the gift of gab. However, while in the water, the cursed pendant sends a signal and the viewer knows that this isn't good!!

Port Royal then suffers an attack from a group of not so nice pirates, called mysteriously by the pendant. Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his ruffian pirate followers, all ex-mates of Captain Jack Sparrow, find the pendant at the governor's house and take Elizabeth as a hostage. The audience may wonder, how did they know where the pendant was, and why did they take her as hostage, and risk the wrath of the British navy, who would surely pursue them? The plot thickens!

Her hasty kidnapping by this mostly dastardly Pirate Captain Barbossa and his ruffian pirate followers, will inspire the unlikely pairing of a wily, rogue pirate mentioned above, Captain Jack Sparrow ( Johnny Depp), with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), with two different goals in mind. Captain Jack Sparrow wants his ship, The Black Pearl back and has a bone to pick with Captain Barbossa, who took over the Black Pearl and dumped Captain Jack Sparrow on an island to die, cutting him out of the treasure cache on the Isla de Muerta (Island of Death). This mutiny, as the audience soon learns along with Elizabeth, was a blessing in disguise.

While on the ship, The Black Pearl, Elizabeth discovers Captain Barbossa and his crew's terrible secret, much to her horror. Because the pirates contact with the cursed pendant treasure, all the men that day who took pendants are now forced to exist between living and dead, and only revealing their skeleton forms in the moonlight. This means that they can't feel, eat, enjoy anything and can't die, until all the pendants were returned to the treasure box. Step one meant that all the pendants must be tracked down and brought back to the original treasure box. Then, to free themselves from this curse and become human again, step two requires them to sprinkle the blood of the owner of the last pendant returned. Thus, the pirates intend to not only return this last pendant, which was formerly in Elizabeth's custody, but to use her blood to end their awful curse and freeing them to return to their normal state, as they think she was the blood relative of the original owner of the pendant. YIKES!

Fortunately for Elizabeth, Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner are determined to find her and her captors, three steps ahead of the British Navy, led by Norrington, who is none-too-pleased with either that slippery pirate Jack Sparrow or Will Turner, who sprung Jack from the cooler in the first place, among other activities.

Jack Sparrow to Will Turner: "You know, for having such a bleak outlook on pirates you are well on your way to becoming one: sprung a man from jail, commandeered a ship of the fleet, sailed with a buccaneer crew out of Tortuga, and you're completely obsessed with treasure."

The viewer is taken for a ride into adventure as Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth jump from the frying pan into the fire in a variety of situations but manage to survive into the next scene using their wits, courage, ingenuity and taking advantage of circumstances that come their way or land in their lap.

The quality of directing by Gore Verbinski and the talent that went into the screenplay by Anthony Perkins & Stephen Sondheim, and the efforts of the fine cast all came together for the entertainment of the audience.

The Director is responsible to bring the film to life, in the spirit of the screenplay. Gore Verbinski has done a great job in the past with such comedy/ adventure films such as MOUSE HUNT, THE MEXICAN and got more experience in directing the scary horror film, THE RING. Gore Verbinski does a great job combining what he learned in his previous films, in THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, which has elements of comedy, adventure and scariness and suspense as well.

This film is a very entertaining pirate adventure movie with something for everyone! Swashbuckling moments, inspired sword fight choreography, great special effects, intrigue, humor, plot twists, scary moments, rousing fun, true love and a nice buildup of suspense in the story qualifies this film as being a pretty good source of light entertainment. It perhaps could've used another run by the editor as the pacing is a bit long in spots, but lovers of adventure yarns don't mind it at all.

Sometimes adventure films are low on quality dialogue, (such as TWISTER). This screenplay, however, written by Anthony Perkins & Stephen Sondheim, not only tells a clever adventure tale but actually develops the main characters somewhat and is full of witty and entertaining, sparkling dialog, which blends well with the colorful character parts, such as Captain Jack Sparrow, and adds zing to the entertainment value.

Will Turner : "Where's Elizabeth?" ----- Jack Sparrow:"She's safe, just like I promised. She's all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. So we're all men of our word really... except for Elizabeth, who is in fact, a woman."

Barbossa : (Talking to Will Turner) "Who are you?"---- Jack Sparrow:"No one. He's no one. Distant cousin of my Aunt's nephew twice removed. Lovely singing voice. Eunuch".

The dialogue and its delivery by the ensemble cast and main characters will keep the viewer chuckling throughout, making the film a fun one to experience

Since this film was inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean amusement ride found at Disneyland / Disney World, the screenplay of course has bits/ scenes from the ride discreetly seen in the background of various scenes. These little scenes from the ride don't detract from the action of the film, but act like a subtle inside reminder to those who have experienced the ride. The song/ sayings from the ride also make an appearance, which can be annoying for some, but should be expected.

The actors and actresses of the film were all well-cast and work together very well to be entertaining and tell the story so well.

Johnny Depp's performance was stellar as Captain Jack Sparrow, which earned him a nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His portrayal is totally captivating, as he truly becomes the wily, charming, humorous, devious pirate who will help others, if his interests are involved and will even throw in free counseling as a bonus. He has the audience guessing what he plans to do next, as he is a pirate and not completely trustworthy. How he wiggles out of one jam after another is entertaining, and his humanity even shines a little; not bad for a pirate!

The amazingly versatile, Oscar-winning actor, Geoffrey Rush was also at his best in the role of Captain Hector Barbossa, the villainous pirate. He made what could've been a one dimensional portrayal of the bad guy into a performance which filled him out somewhat, making the viewer aware of his feelings, his sense of humor, which doesn't excuse his bad behavior of course, but brightens up the villainous role a bit.

Orlando Bloom is very convincing as young Will Turner, who learns courage, an acceptance of his background and the ability to take a stand for what he loves, in his quest to rescue Elizabeth. Orlando handles a sword very well; perhaps he learned it on the trilogy of Lord of the Rings filming. ( He was Legolas)

Up and coming British actress, Keira Knightley sparkles in her portrayal of the spirited Elizabeth, who often finds herself in situations way over her head, but learns to use her wits and courage to survive.

Jack Davenport (The Talented Mr. Ripley) makes the most of his supporting role of the humorless, stiff British Officer, Norrington who loves Elizabeth and wants to marry her. His opinion of pirates - A lost cause: "I intend to see to it that any man who sails under a pirate flag or wears a pirate brand gets what he deserves: a short drop and a sudden stop."

This film is rated PG-13 for action/adventure violence. Not much blood is shown, just lots of fight scenes. Special effects are scary for children. Sensitive children will be checking the closet and under the bed for Captain Barbossa!

If you enjoyed PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, you may like MASTER COMMANDER, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, THE RETURN OF THE JEDI, THE PHANTOM MENACE, WILLOW, and ROMANCING THE STONE.