A good theme-park-ride movie?
"A Pirates Life for Me!"
When I first heard that Disney had decided to turn it's classic theme park ride, Pirates of the Caribbean into a feature film, I thought there was no way it would be tolerable, let alone good. To me, it was just another example of a studio pumping out some well-hyped fluff to rake in the bucks. We had already been blessed with Pirate action films like "Cutthroat Island" and there was certainly no reason for an encore. And when you threw poorly animated CGI skeletons and cheesy lines like "Ye be livin' in a ghost story" into the equation, the odds of this movie appealing to people with an IQ above 15 appeared pretty slim. So Pirates of the Caribbean came into theatres and left without me giving it a second thought.
It wasn't until one of my friends told me that the movie was really good, that I decided to give it a shot. And what I found was the exact opposite of the cookie-cutter mindlessness I had been expecting. The Curse of the Black Pearl ended up being an entertaining and well-thought out story, that was actually worthy of representing the legendary ride.
The best part of the movie, by far, is Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Instead of pawning the lead character off as some larger-than-life swashbuckler with a cheesy pirate accent, Depp managed to turn him into an incredibly funny and endearing hero. Jack Sparrow, or should I say, Captain Jack Sparrow is a grandiose pirate, who often succeeds due to dumb luck rather than actual skill. Oh, and the fact that the Captain is completely insane is also a big plus in the entertainment factor.
Accompanying Jack on his quest to regain control of The Black Pearl are Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, two law-abiding citizens who happen to get wrapped up in Sparrow's crazy exploits. Kiera plays Elizabeth Swann, the daughter of a governor, and Orlando is, Will Turner, a humble blacksmith who's in love with her. Awww! And wouldn't you know, the two of them end up...
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
FALLING IN LOVE! Who would've guessed?
But on a more serious note, the Orlando Bloom/Kiera Knightley romance is one of the few predictable outcomes in this film full of surprises. At one point, where Barbossa has all the cursed Aztec gold and is about to use Kiera's blood to lift the spell, I thought the movie was almost over. Little did I know that a twist would keep the film going for another whole hour.
And it's the small surprises like that which made Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl so enjoyable to watch. With dishonorable pirates always willing to switch sides, and a puppet-master like Captain Jack Sparrow around to manipulate them all, there's rarely a moment where you sit back and say "Oh, I saw that coming". That's something that's very rare in a movie these days, and even rarer for a movie trying to cash in on a theme park ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean's unpredictability certainly made me want to see the sequel. And more importantly, raise my eyebrows quite a bit!