Pirates really weren’t that relevant in the movies when “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” came out 20 years ago.
I mean. Who did we have? Dustin Hoffman in Hook about a decade earlier? That’s kind of about it.
But Johnny Depp gave us Captain Jack Sparrow, and over the top. egotistical, but somehow still likable reject, who just wanted to have a good time, help a young couple get back together, and most importantly get his ship back.
This film. Based on a Disney ride that my Orlando readers no doubt know too well, had no business being this good. I watched this film on an Army base back in Germany.
While it’s certainly debatable, it might be Johnny Depp’s best work (he got an Oscar nomination for it). He took this role to the top. And this was a bit of a switch up for Depp, who had been up and down in the years before, starring in small films where he was good but the movie didn’t take off, to larger projects that were box office duds altogether.
“Pirates” changed all of that. There were people dressing up as Jack Sparrow for Halloween for the next decade.
Geoffrey Rush already had his Oscar hardware but still “showed up for work” in playing Sparrow’s nemesis, Barbosa, and did an ace job.
Orlando Bloom was in the middle of his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy run. He was the celebrity crush of the time, finally moving some eyeballs away from Leonardo DiCaprio.
And you had Kiera Knightley, who would springboard into a top tier film run of her own.
Director Gore Verbinski keeps the story moving along swiftly with some sharp looking action sequences and visual effects that were solid for the time.
Unfortunately, for the franchise this was the high point. None of the sequels came close to the greatness of this first film.
But 20 years later, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is still a pretty good time.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
2003 Grade: B+
2023 Grade: B+
You can watch the trailer below…
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