Film reviews

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl, Dir: Gore Verbinski - Cert: 12a

Take a football mad teenager (Keira Knightly - Bend It Like Beckham) , an elf (Orlando Bloom - Lord Of The Rings), a police constable (Johnny Depp ñ Sleepy Hollow, Blow, From Hell) and The Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush ñ Quills, Elizabeth, Mystery Men), add a monkey, a parrot, sailing ships and rum. Have the mix directed by the creator of the Budweiser Frogs and you have what is probably the best film of the summer.

Right then, the review.....

"Pirates" opens with a young girl reciting a rhyme about pirates, until cautioned by a superstitious old sailor who considers such things bad luck. He himself is then quietened by the ships captain, Captain Norrington ( Jack Davenport, in a change from TV's Coupling ), who asserts that any pirates will be extended the opportunity of "A short drop with a sudden stop". A young boy is found floating in the water, only survivor of an apparent pirate attack and is placed in the young girls care. Seeking to save him from the captains short drop, she removes a "Pirate Medallion" from his neck and keeps it. Ok, so the opening shot is blatant CGI, but trust me this is the only ropey shot (other than those of the ships rigging) in a film that turns out, for the subject matter, to be very effects heavy.

The story now moves forward 8 years with the young girl revealed to be Elizabeth Swann (Knightly), daughter of the Governor of Port Royal (Jonathon Pryce). The young Will Turner is now grown (Bloom), assistant to the local blacksmith and infatuated with Elizabeth.

Out in the bay are two naval ships and sailing into harbour comes "Mr Smith" - Depp looking like some weird amalgam of Keith Richards of the Stones, Aerosmiths Steve Tyler and Beetlejuice. His entrance sets the tone for the rest of the film, humorous, slightly irreverent and very well executed, preferring to pay three shillings to keep his name out of the harbour masters log than one shilling to tie up.

After rescuing Elizabeth Swann from drowning, Mr Smith is revealed to in fact be Jack Sparrow - sorry, that should be "Captain" Jack Sparrow - buccaneer, brigand & soon to be hung pirate. There follows the first of numerous set piece escapades featuring plenty of well choreographed sword play and stunts.

During the night Port Royal is attacked by The Black Pearl, crewed by cursed pirates who capture the governors daughter and sail away. As the navy fail to sail to the rescue, Will is forced into an alliance with Sparrow to stage a rescue - queue hijackings, high seas adventure and high jinx as the film moves along from one set piece to another, smoothed on its way by some superb character performances from Depp, Bloom and Rush as Captain Barbossa of the Black Pearl, along with more than able support from the supporting cast. Keira Knightly deserves special mention as she carries off the role of Elizabeth Swann with admirable style, never over shadowed by any of the male leads in any scene, whether wielding a sword or sparring verbally.

Reminiscent of the old swash buckling movies starring Errol Flynn & Douglas Fairbanks, Pirates Of The Caribbean has everything a summer blockbuster needs. Thereís action, adventure, romance and humour, all delivered at a cracking pace by a fine ensemble cast which manages to be greater than the sum of its not insignificant parts.

If you have to choose just one film to see this summer ñ this is the one! 9/10

K Soze

Odeon Online


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