USA, Gore Verbinski (2003)
Johnny Depp, in his flamboyant portrayal of pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (in an acting turn that’s gutsy, thoroughly entertaining and an excellent endorsement for waterproof mascara), makes one of the most memorable screen entrances in recent history. At that moment, just minutes into the film, I knew I was in for a good time.
This is what summer movies are meant to be. It’s fast paced and fun. It looks great, with beautiful locations and impressive special effects. There’s humor, romance, action, sword fights and pirate ships in full sail engaged in full-on combat. And thankfully, there are female characters who don’t serve the obligatory damsel in distress role, running around, screaming their heads off through the majority of the film. Instead, these women use their heads, show some courage (as opposed to cleavage) and battle right along side the good guys.
Much is being made of hottie Orlando Bloom, sans the blonde elfin wig, and he’s great in the young hero role. Between his archery work in Rings and his swordplay in Pirates, Bloom is channeling the spirit of Errol Flynn. Geoffrey Rush makes an excellent baddie in a big hat, as the evil captain of the infamous pirate band aboard the Black Pearl. Johnny Depp steals the show however. He get’s the best lines, the best schtick and the best teeth of the lot.
Who’da thought that a movie based on a Disneyland ride could be so good. I only hope that rather than a boatload of movies ripped-off from other theme park rides, Pirates unleashes a score of great swashbucklers–just like the good old days. [****]