Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Ahoy, buckle yer swashes, shi'er yer timbers, hoist yer mainsails, polish yer peg-leg, and swab yer poop deck. Drag yer parrot out o' that cage, put it on yer shoulder and head off t' yer local multiplex t' see this, if you ha'en't already. It is a great pirate story t' challenge the best o' Errol Flynn,'s made greater than the film o' 60 years ago by the technical expertise that makes this a wonder t' behold. It is also a great parody o' pirate stories, generally funny and often ironic, although some o' its jokes be less ob'ious than you might think from a Disney film. Johnny Depp has always been just about the greatest character actor o' his generation, but he's ne'er mightily been a breakthrough star. That has changed, and he's goin' t' need a lot o' new tax shelters, because the world has found out what many o' us already knew, that Mr Depp can deli'er whate'er is necessary t' make a role work. Aye.

"You must be the worst pirate I've ever heard of", says a landlubber.

"Ah, but you have heard of me", says Cap'n Depp.

Aye, for his role, Depp dug way int' the history o' cinema, me hearties. Twenty years ago, thar was an excellent small mo'ie called My Fa'orite Year, about a faded alcoholic mo'ie star, a former swashbuckler, who is scheduled t' appear on a Sid Caesar-like TV show in the early days o' tele'ision. See that mo'ie, if you ha'en't already, because tis' one o' the best films nobody e'er heard of, e'en though it does feature that scurvy landlubber Cousin Larry from Perfect Strangers. Peter O'Toole played the swashbuckler part, and he was ob'iously supposed t' be a lot like Errol Flynn. When O'Toole "did" Flynn, he came up with body mo'ement that let him affect the graceful athletic swagger and the clumsy alcoholism all in one fell swoop, a masterpiece o' bizarre mannerisms that only Peter O'Toole could get away with.

Arrr, well, only O'Toole up until now, that be. For Depp decided t' gi'e new life t' O'Toole's Flynn impersonation by leyering in a heavy dose of Keith Richards. Ye see, me buccos, Johnny Depp played Keith Richards as Keith would have played Peter O'Toole playin' Errol Flynn. Watch My Fa'orite Year and then Pirates o' the Caribbean, and thar will be no question in yer mind that Depp drew upon a second generation impersonation o' Errol Flynn, the bucklin'est seafarin'est swasher o' them all, t' create what might be the greatest and strangest corsair in film history.


none. Keira Knightley does appear in low-cut gowns and with much more protruding nipplage than should be in a Disney flick.

not yet on home media

Aye, only Deppian eccentricity would try such a thin' in the first place, and only Deppian talent could pull it off. Depp's mannerisms be so bizarre that the other characters in the film e'en impersonate him, thus expandin' the Errol Flynn mimicry yet another generation.

Very entertainin' mo'ie, although me did wish it shorter than its 143 minute runnin' ti

Gar, Where can I find a bottle o'rum?

The Critics Vote

  • Panel consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, BBC 4/5, Entertainment Weekly (Schwarzbaum) C.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 7.9/10, Yahoo voters A
  • Box Office Mojo. A monster! May end up as the biggest non-sequel since Titanic. A smash that is still going strong  - still in the American Top 5, ten weeks after it came out. Has now grossed more than $500 million worldwide, and just about $300 million in the USA alone. Tremendous legs. tremendous word of mouth after a so-so open. Most films finish with about 3x their opening weekend. Pirates is now at 7x and rising.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really yer kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a B. Marvelous yarn. Just about anyone of any age can enjoy it. Only thing wrong with it is that it's about 30 minutes too long (143 min.)

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