The Johnny Depp Archive

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Boom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport, Mackenzie Crooke

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom buckle their swashes. Phoar!

Before I go any further, I must make a confession. Johnny Depp is not what you'd call aesthetically challenged at the best of times, but in this film he appears to be playing my ideal man. His Jack Sparrow is a rascally pirate captain modelled on Keith Richards but in fact coming over more like Dogs D'Amour frontman Tyla, complete with long hair, bucket boots, panda eye-liner and dodgy rock'n'roll 'Landan' accent. Phoar! And then we have the lovely Orlando Bloom, who despite the complete weediness of his part manages to pull off a passable Errol Fynn impersonation that just about saves him from being wiped off the screen entirely by Mr Depp.

So, eye-candy aplenty ladeez, but what of the film? Well, believe it or not, it's a riot. It's funny, the action scenes are fast-paced and entertaining, with lots of jolly sword fighting and skeleton pirates on the rampage, the costumes are great, the ships are even better and it's full of lovely British actors like Jonathon Pryce, Jack Davenport and the bloke who plays Gareth in The Office. Keira Knightley makes a spritely and very pretty heroine (although if I were her I wouldn't grumble if I found myself marooned on a desert island with Johnny Depp and a cellar full of rum.) and Geoffrey Rush is clearly having the time of his life as evil pirate Captain Barbosa. In fact, everybody in the movie seems to be having fun, a feeling which definitely translates to the audience.

I can see the pub from here!

Refreshingly free of post-modern self-mockery it's first and foremost an adventure story, with the added advantages of characters you can warm to and dialogue that makes you laugh (oh, and did I mention Johnny Depp?). It's never going to tax the brain cells much (but what can you expect from a film based on a Disney ride?) but as entertaining, laugh out loud, action comedy it hits every note.

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