2003-07-25 / Columnists

MovieScope By Robert Snyder ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ – Rockin’ Jolly Roger

MovieScope By Robert Snyder ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ – Rockin’ Jolly Roger

MovieScope By Robert Snyder
‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ – Rockin’ Jolly Roger


Actor Johnny Depp is known for picking unorthodox roles (the drug dealer in "Blow,"  gonzo journalist in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," the innocently  lethal puppetboy in "Edward Scissorhands").

Now, he’s taking what should be a traditional part in the Hollywood
pantheon: The pirate. After all, it’s been done by everyone from Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., to Dustin Hoffman. However, Depp puts his own uniquely entertaining spin on buccaneer Captain Jack Sparrow… in that, he makes him a Rolling Stonesesque rock star `a la Keith Richards.

In fact, he’s the only thing that keeps the overloaded Jerry Bruckheimer production afloat for two and a half hours. Not that "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is boring. It just needs to be cut by a minimum of 45 minutes. Every spectacular setpiece is done at least twice. And, a fantastic special effect (pirates appearing as skeletons in the moonlight) is fine for the first 20 times.

But, "Pirates" is saved by Depp’s swishy depiction of a flamboyant
scalawag of the high seas, who is in an eternal state of intoxication. His entrance is worth the price of admission, with Captain Sparrow first seen atop a mast, which descends under water just in time for him to step on the dock of Port Royal. He has escaped from a marooning by mutinous rival Captain Barbossa
(Geoffrey Rush, almost upstaging Depp) and is out for revenge, as well as a new ship and crew. After saving the beautiful governor’s daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) in a drowning incident, Captain Jack wreaks havoc on the city before joining forces with blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) to save the now kidnapped Elizabeth, who is in the clutches of Barbossa.

Why was she kidnapped? The undead pirate chief wants a gold amulet and her blood to free him and his crew from the curse that makes them living corpses.

"Pirates" spends too much time raveling and unraveling the plot, which should have been as simple as the Disney theme park ride on which it was based.

At any rate, "Pirates" is for the most part as much fun as a bottle of rum and a few yo-ho’s.

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