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

Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport, Kevin McNally

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

PG-13. 143 mins

An overlong swashbuckling adventure that explodes with special effects and a memorable performance from Johnny Depp. Gore Versinski (The Ring, Rango) directs this film which, not surprisingly, is based on a Disneyland ride. It tells the story of the beautiful and privileged Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) who is captured by a band of  pirates led by the devious Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Though Elizabeth is promised to marry another man, her infatuated friend Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) sets off to save her with the help of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a notoriously awful pirate with a cheeky sense of humour. There’s a lot of fun to be had and it’s not a wonder why this was such a successful summer blockbuster but upon multiple viewings, the film loses much charm and the briny cliches become tiresome. Curse of the Black Pearl is entirely formulaic but shiver me timbers, it works! – * * * 1/2

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