Pirates of the Caribbean review by The Grim Ringler

Oh dear Lord how I want to write this review in the guise of a wily sea dog, reveling in the glee of a love letter to my salty life but, alas, by this point someone must have done that and the hell of it is that I am sure Gene Shalat has ruined every pirate joke I could have used in this sodammit, I am left to review this film cold, all the fun I could have had with it snatched away. Damn them all. Oh well, I guess I shall just push onward and hope for the best.

Pirates begins with a British Naval vessel adrift in a thick fog, fearful of pirates and on the watch for their attacks. With this crew is but a lone child, a girl who is herself very anxious to meet a pirate, singing a well-worn song of their exploits as she peers deeply into the fog with hope. What she does find is a boy, adrift and unconscious on a raft, the only survivor of what appears to be a deadly attack from pirates on another ship, and it is then that the boy and girls lives become entwined. She, Elizabeth (the stunning Keira Knightly, look every bit like a child borne of Winona Ryder and Natalie Portman), is the daughter of the governor of a small British province and is expected to become the wife of a British commodore she has known since she was a child and he was a young captain. The boy is Will (Orlando Bloom, who has actually picked a fine follow-up to the LOTR films), a family friend who has always loved Elizabeth but could never take her hand because he is but a blacksmiths apprentice and is looked upon as nothing more. There is an unspoken fondness between them but neither will say what they feel. Just as she is being proposed to by the commodore, a man she has nary an ounce of interest in, Elizabeth falls from a cliff and into the sea, seemingly lost to its depths. A hero emerges to save her though in the guise of Captain Jack Sparrow (the utterly brilliant Johnny Depp who eats up this role as if its cake and hes a clown in re-hab), a pirate that had been trying to hijack a British ship when she had fallen. Even though hes saved her though Sparrow is still to be arrested and hanged for piracy the next day so good old Jack uses the life of Elizabeth as a bargaining chip for his escape and thus makes a daring dash to freedom only to end up in the same shop that Will works in and after a rousing sword fight Jack is re-captured and his death is forthcoming. Before he can be hanged though a pirate ships sails blackly into the bay and begins pounding the small village with cannon fire before the pirates take the place under siege themselves. During the siege Elizabeth is taken captive and while she brokers a peace for the city, it costs her her freedom and she and the pirates disappear into the darkness. Knowing the British Navy will not help him, Will frees Sparrow under the condition that he will help Will find and save Elizabeth, and once its agreed, the two are off in a stolen vessel and, once they can procure a crew, shall be hot on Elizabeths trail. What they dont know though, and what Elizabeth is about to find out is that these pirates she has been captured by are not as they appear, their true selves being shown only under moonlight, their flesh falling away to reveal the true skeleton crew they are. And it isnt she they need, but it is a medallion she wears around her throat, a medallion that is the last piece of an ancient curse that, when corrected, will restore this crew to flesh once more. But not if Jack and Will can stop them and save Elizabeth first.

Ah, now this is what a summer movie is supposed to be. This is what all summer movies should be smart, funny, well-acted, full of action, and something you want to see more than once. The cast, from Depp to Geoffrey Rush (who plays evil Captain Barbossa) are all obviously having a blast and god bless them for it. Its good to see a film that people are having fun making. And while I was no fan of The Ring, I have to admit, director Gore Verbinski is truly a filmmaker to watch.

Gifted with an eye for the macabre and a talent for directing action. A talent not many modern directors have a knack for. And its nice to see a film with acting so strong that none of the special effects, which are truly a sight to behold (the skeletal pirates are just wicked), take over the picture. This is a film about characters and it remains that way. Hell, even the background characters are all given some sort of personality trait. The highlights of the film, and there are two, are truly the interaction between Rush and Depp who both devour scenery as if its a half-off cheese sale at McFannys, and the sword fighting is magnificent. Our generation never really got any great swordsman as the older film geeks did but dammit at least we have a movie with a load of the stuff. Or, if you will, a heap of swashes are copiously buckled.

As usual, this is not a perfect film. I mean, its a summer film. The movie, while long, moves very quickly and there are a lot of things that are a bit glossed over like, how the hell did the kid wind up on the raft in the first place? As well as a few other little moments of bent logic. None of this manages to de-rail the train though and the film never becomes more than it is a fun adventure.

Unlike a lot of summer movies that amble out onto stage every season, I cant help but recommend Pirates for its over the top acting, its sword fighting, its ghoulish pirates, its action, and above all else, its fun. It is, without a doubt, the most fun you will have a theater this summer. It may not be the best film this summer, but it really is the most fun. And that wont, shiver, umeryouruhnevermind


8 out of 10 Jackasses
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