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Pirates of the Caribbean

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Fun. Ultimately, that is why movies exist. Sure, there is the occasional film that educates or provides social commentary, but generally people look to film to provide relief from the monotony of their everyday lives. It is a fact sometimes forgotten when movies strive to be artistic. Perhaps the summer's best example of this is Ang Lee's <i>Hulk</i>, as his attempt at a smart action movie results in a boring one. <i>Pirates of the Caribbean</i> marks the return of Jerry Bruckheimer, the grizzled veteran of action extravaganzas, who has carved out an entire career of producing pictures whose sole purpose is audience entertainment. One thing Bruckheimer will never be accused of is sacrificing action for art, so he may be the perfect one to reverse this trend. Of course, he will need to rebound from the laughable <i>Kangaroo Jack</i> to do so.

The story opens as pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has just rescued the governor's daughter from a watery grave, yet has been imprisoned and sentenced to death for being a pirate. That same evening, the pirates of the Black Pearl, led by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), attack the island and abduct the governor's daughter Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). In her possession, she holds a medallion with the power to break the curse of the Black Pearl. The curse immortalizes the afflicted, but also prevents them from experiencing all worldly pleasures. Local blacksmith William Turner (Orlando Bloom) then forms a pact with Sparrow to brave the rough
waters of the Caribbean Sea in an attempted rescue of Turner's beloved Swann.

Perhaps the greatest strength of <i>Pirates</i> is its ability to skillfully weave comedy and action into the story. There is plenty of humor, ranging from Jack Sparrow's constant sarcasm to Captain Barbossa's ghost act aboard the Black Pearl, to keep the audience entertained between action sequences. And though the computer-generated imagery is not quite as striking as in the <i>Matrix Reloaded</i>, the scenes where the moonlight reveals the pirates' cadaverous form are still very impressive. Still the backbone of any good movie is the story, and <i>Pirates</i> has more than the last ten summer blockbusters combined. As we near the finish, the plot twists and turns, leaving the outcome undecided until the last moment, when it ties the loose ends together in a very satisfying conclusion.

One of the hallmarks of greatness is the ability to perform the difficult with what appears to be little effort. It appears so easy that it leaves the audience wondering why what they are seeing is so rare. While viewing <i>Pirates of the Caribbean</i>, this thought repeatedly crossed my mind. As the one hundred and twenty minutes sailed by effortlessly, I tried to recall other films that matched this film's unique combination of humor, action, and story. The short list began and finished with the <i>Indiana Jones</i> trilogy. That is high praise indeed, but it is well deserved. I don't expect to see a more enjoyable movie this summer.


Pirates of the Carribean
Rated PG-13
1 hour 20 minutes

Johnny Depp
Orlando Bloom
Geoffrey Rush
Jack Davenport
Jonathan Pryce