Depp does Disney, but not in Dallas : "Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

by Eric Melin on July 11, 2003

in Print Reviews

From Gore Verbinski, bankable and stylistically devoid director of “The Mexican” and “The Ring,” comes a silly little trifle of a movie based on a Disney theme park ride. If that sounds like fun to you already, then you may want to check out “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.”

Johnny Depp, one of modern film’s riskiest and best character actors, plays Captain Jack Sparrow as a fey, drunk version of Keith Richards (specifically on the late 80s Rolling Stones’ “Steel Wheels” tour), complete with eyeliner and weird, colorful hippie beads in his hair. The fact that he’s doing this in a Disney flick is simply fantastic.

Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, and Jay Wolpert, the screenwriters behind the hugely overrated animated hit “Shrek,” have created a script that is at once formulaic and pedestrian, but also goofy and infectiously fun.

This is the situation. If you’re not ready to deal with stuff like this, read no further. You’ll find no subtlety nor quality control here. It’s a pirate movie, dammit. But not like “Gladiator” was a gladiator movie. “Gladiator” had style and high class acting to spare. “POTC:TCOTBP” (what an acronym!) is really just an over-glorified kids¹ movie. But not a terrible one. If I were to ever champion mediocrity in a film, this would be a movie to fire up.

If you have ever read a review from me, you know that I don’t supply plot synopsis, and I don’t give you the shit that you expect. I’m here because I’ve seen the movie, and you haven’t. If there is anything in this article that you’ve been confused about, then you are taking it way too seriously. This film is able and willing to entertain in a not-so-challenging, brainless fashion. Take out Depp and you are left with nothing but Orlando Bloom (capably dashing as the hero), Geoffrey Rush (capably menacing as the bad guy), and some bad ass skeleton special effects.

The script doesn’t really insult that simple ideal. And if you’re good with zombie skeletons in a kids movie that feels like a ride, then sit back and enjoy “Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

I did, mainly because we had four hours to kill before a shitty show in Albequerque, NM. And almost anything is cooler than that.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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