Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl DVD

Directed by: Gore Verbinski. Produced by: Jerry Bruckheimer. Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, and Jack Davenport.

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow

Synopsis: Epic pirate movie with the usual battles, boats, damsels, villains, and heroes, but also with some twists:

  • The fey yet fascinating Captain Sparrow, whose motives often seem suspect but who is, at heart, “a good man.”
  • The spunky “damsel”—truly a modern girl trapped in the past.
  • A curse upon the villains, leaving them not dead, but not fully alive either, and allowing for some pretty spectacular effects involving fighting skeletons.
  • A “hero” who must ultimately discover his “inner pirate.”

Sample quote: “But why is the rum gone?!?” — Jack Sparrow

Comment: The movie is a little too long, and sags slightly whenever Sparrow in not on-screen. Fortunately, he’s on-screen quite a bit, and Depp’s performance really is a must-see. The movie also features great sound, including a good score, and well-executed effects. It has an awful lot of plot—maybe too much plot— but teasing it all out is part of the fun of the rewatch. Rating: ***½

The Extras: Plentiful—I haven’t had time to watch them all. The Deleted Scenes are mostly extensions of ones that made it into the movie, but they do help illuminate certain plot points. Watch for the ad lib between Jack and the cursed pirates—the “it’s a shame about raisins” lines harkens back to Benny and Joon. There is also a blooper reel that is a lot of fun.

A fairly lengthy documentary focuses on different aspects of making the film—casting, makeup, costumes, battle choreography, set design, effects… The whole thing was done in 11 months, which is very fast for this type of film. The “Fly on the Wall” featurettes let you see various scenes being filmed.

Several Commentary tracks are available. In one, Knightly and Davenport comment quite amusingly on their scenes. Depp and Verbinski do another set, for the whole movie. Depp reveals that he ad libbed much of his own dialogue, expressing amazement that so much of it was kept in. (Apparently a third reference to Bloom’s character being a eunuch was removed because Bloom was starting to get a little offended.) The 40-year-old Depp also comments on feeling “like Methuselah” in the scene where Sparrow comes on to Knightly’s character. (For her part, Knightly just comments on how gorgeous Depp is.) I have yet to listen to the third commentary track, which features the two screenwriters (who had the rare pleasure of being on-set during filming).

Computer extras include a movie/script comparison, along with ride information. Plus all the items I haven’t looked at yet.

Usability: I like that includes a map to all features, which makes the whole thing easy to navigate. Also good that it warns that the DTS option won’t work without special equipment (which I now have—yay!). What I don’t like is that, by default, the DVD opens with several commercials for other Disney movies. Yes, you can skip them all, but why should I have to?