Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was the first in what we thought was a trilogy featuring Johnny Depp (of Alice in Wonderland) as Captain Jack Sparrow. Captain Jack is a pirate with a dubious reputation. He is resourceful, yet bumbling, often drunk, but charming, quick not only on his feet, with his wit as well. He is the former captain of the Black Pearl, a ship that now has shredded black sails and is rumoured to be cursed and manned by the undead. The current captain is Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush of Mystery Men), whom has a fearsome reputation, and is not quite as charming as Jack. People in the various Caribbean colonies tend to quake in fear when the Black Pearl comes to their shores.
The whole story starts about ten years before, when young Elizabeth Swann (Lucinda Dryzek) is on a crossing to Port Royale from the U.K. with her father, Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce), on a ship under the command of Captain Norrington (Jack Davenport). They encounter a ship that has been raided and burning, and they find one survivor, young Will Turner (Dylan Smith). Governer Swann leaves Will in Elizabeth’s care, and she is intrigued by a gold medallion Will is wearing. It looks to be of Aztec design with a death’s head on one side. Young Will passes out, and we fast forward to ten years later.
Will (Orlando Bloom of The Lord of the Rings) is working as a blacksmith. Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) is the willful woman of social standing, and Captain Norrington is now Commodore Norrington, and is looking to make Elizabeth his bride. What he does not know, is that Will has the same idea in mind. All this is about to change when Captain Jack Sparrow makes his way into Port Royale, being the one thing that ties the fates of Will, Elizabeth, and the Black Pearl together. At the ceremony of Commodore Norrington’s promotion, Elizabeth swoons as a result of wearing a corset that is bound too tightly, and falls from a tower into the sea. She is wearing the Aztec medallion she stole from Will all those years ago. When she hits the sea floor, a magical wave passes over the area. Captain Jack is in the process of trying to steal a ship from the almost deserted harbour when he sees her fall in. He rescues Elizabeth, and the two guards aid him in reviving her. He cuts the corset, and she starts breathing instantly. The town guard is down upon them immediately, and Norrington instantly recognises Captain Jack from the tattoo on his arm. Jack makes a dashing escape, aided by a very reluctant Elizabeth, and slips into town, and attempts to hide in the smithy. There he runs into Will Turner, whom not only is a master craftsman, but very skilled with a blade. Jack quickly learns about Will’s feelings for Elizabeth, and goads Will about it, using this to his advantage. Will stops is escape with a very unexpected move, but it is the drunken blacksmith, Mr. Brown (Ralph P. Martin), that stops Jack from going any further by crashing a bottle of rum over Jack’s head.
Elizabeth’s fall into the drink sent a signal to the crew of the cursed Black Pearl to the location of the medallion. The medallion is not merely a pendant, but a piece of cursed treasure that they have been searching for to break the spell. They pirates invade Port Royale, have a bit of fun terrorizing the town in their search for the gold piece. Two bumbling pirates come to the governor’s mansion, and break in. Elizabeth sends the maids to safety, and hides as two bumbling pirates search the house. When they find her, she asks for parley, and she is taken to Barbossa, where she tells them that she is Elizabeth Turner, a maid in the governor’s mansion. The pirates conclude that she is the child of a former crewmember, Bootstrap Bill Turner, and that she can repay the blood debt to break the Aztec curse. They do not know that they have the wrong “Turner”. After Elizabeth is reported as kidnapped, Will goes to the authorities, but gets not help, and he turns to Captain Jack, whom is still in the gaol at the fort. He helps Jack escape, and they steal an extremely fast sloop to chase the Black Pearl down, and the hunt is on.
This is one of the most fun and scarier movies that Disney has made in a very long time, and it was great to see the swashbuckling epic has never lost its allure. This was the beginning of an action-packed franchise of movies that would start in Port Royale, and would end… anywhere the scriptwriters would want it to. From Jamaica to Singapore, the whole of the seas belongs to Captain Jack and his friends, and this is where his grand voyage starts. This is like the rollercoaster that has the launching lift instead of a slow chain. It propels you right into the ride and never lets go until you’ve had enough, and then you want to go ride it again. The Pirates movies are just that much fun!
I give this film a Musing review of