Quick-Thoughts – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

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Please for the love of God let Gore Verbinski direct a Marvel movie.

Gore Verbinski really did justice to the classic adventure/comedic trademarks that seems to rarely be found in today’s medium of blockbusters, whether that be in its comedic set-piecing and scheming that harken back to Keaton and Lloyd, the almost Three Stooges-inspired supporting characters, the Monty Python or Mel Brooks-esc-escalative conversations or tests of passage, the action scenes that periodically feel like dryly amusing stage theatrics rather than cinematic ones, or the plot conveniences that ACTUALLY amplify the hilariousness of it all as an illusive aesthetic rather than a cheap hinder; it’s all stirred pretty deliciously in a slightly modernized stew of 2000s action extravaganza. PLUS, introducing… the one and only… Captain Jack Sparrow: from the mysteriously absurd carry on items, ambiguousness of his past satirized by little but absurd clues, the over-wording statements to quirk up his persona, his relatable clumsiness, and the periodic good nature he can “bless” upon his competitors… yeah, he’s the best part of the whole shabang. 

Living ain’t worth living without feeling according to the main antagonists (maybe? every character here kind of is one) of the motion picture; you can live for centuries but if you can’t feel the swig of a good-old wave of rum, what’s the point? IT BE A CURSE IT SEEMS! I admire this franchise’s distinct addiction to having interchangeable back and forths of betrayal and team-ups; there aren’t any characters here reliable or full-fledged honorable of each other, they each have realistic admirations towards one another, sure, but never a commitment to be loyal when self-benefit is the priority; the real swashbuckling way! It’s the Spaghetti Western, pinball plot effect that you don’t see too often these days, a food fight with a 360 degree barrier, where no distinct team sides can be visible. The Pirate movies always feel like their plots are void of clear direction; they’re always galloping and stopping, galloping and stopping, going north, south, east, west, wherever the compass leads; the end goal never seems so laid-out to get to and extra steps always seem to be piled on and on and it reminds me as if this were the last lived adventure franchise of the Indiana Jones era where adventure is lead with an “unpredictability” motto. This is no “end of the world” situation where the time management conundrum feels expeditious and in a constant constraint of necessity; this now very modern and oversaturated trademark is replaced in The Curse of the Black Pearl with rather a feeling that these nightmarish adventures may never end with how devious and unshackled our many characters here are.

That being said, this feature of Black Pearl has its drawbacks too considering that in general it ends up making the film feel WAY too long for the minimal amount of ground that the narrative actually covers. The finale of the movie also drops painfully on a perfect bow-and-knot: nearly everybody turns into a considerable person opposed to their original epiphanies at such a forced rate. Nonetheless, the opening hour of this movie is still some of my favorite adventure/action and even physical comedic screen-time of this century, as are pretty much all of Verbinski’s Pirate openings. After that hour though… eh, it works enough! Like I said, its cons are often unfortunately also results of its pros. The deserted island scene gets me every time, nonetheless. Why is the rum gone, indeed? 

Verdict: B

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is now available to stream on Disney+.

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