The movie that helped breathe new life into the summer blockbuster, the success of "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl" is remarkable for several reasons. Firstly, there’s the unlikely source material. There’s no previous history of theme park rides inspiring major hit movies, yet that’s just what’s happened here. Secondly, there’s the patchy performance of pirate-related movies over the years (does anyone remember seeing "Cutthroat Island" in a cinema?). And then there’s that performance from Johnny Depp, the one that had Disney executives in a flap prior to the release of the movie. His Captain Jack Sparrow is a fantastic, unlikely creation, proving to be both unpredictable yet utterly compelling. Such is his impact on the film that it’s hardly surprising Depp snared an Oscar nomination for the role.
Yet Depp’s performance shouldn’t blind anyone to the film’s many other qualities. The supporting cast, particularly the likes of Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport and Jonathan Pryce are all clearly having a whale of a time, while Gore Verbinski’s pacey yet controlled direction rarely lets the momentum slow. And with all their work grounded by a quality script and worthwhile story, the end result is a film that clicks in many, many different ways.
Of course, it’s now proved the inspiration for a pair of sequels, yet no matter how they turn out, "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl" will always stand as a quite brilliant example of what happens on those rare occasions when Hollywood blockbusters get it absolutely right. And it’s a treat that can easily be enjoyed time after time. --"Simon Brew"