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  Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl  
  Gore Verbinski  
  Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Davenport and Jonathan Pryce  
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I know itís been a while since I put in a movie review here, but I honestly couldnít see fit to fire up the keyboard to write review after review saying, ďYeah, X-Men 2 is pretty much what youíd expect.Ē Now it comes to my attention that Gene Siskel is giving Gigli 2Ĺ stars, and suddenly my responsibility to the human race becomes crystal clear, and I once again heed the clarion call to provide you, gentle reader, with the guidance you need to wind your way through this thicket of cinematic bracken we call ďsummer.Ē

Anyway, letís start with this one. Your time would be well spent with this movie. I really didnít have high expectations for it. It is the second in a series of movies Disney is making in order to make the attractions at Disney World that donít have movies to go with them feel a little less envious; the first was The Country Bears, and this movie also has a trailer for an upcoming Eddie Murphy vehicle, The Haunted Mansion. Given that, you would think that they really wouldnít put a whole lot of thought or effort into these films. Once I heard that this film lasted over two hours, I was dreading how they were going to try to stretch this thing out.

I was really surprised at a couple of things for this movie. First off, the script, both the dialogue and the actual plot elements, were sharp and interesting enough to carry this thing through two and a half hours. There were a couple of times where I thought to myself, ďA whole lot sure has happened since they started this movie,Ē but I never was fidgeting, waiting for it to end. Sometimes the plot gets a little convoluted, and it seems like there are a couple of obvious holes that they could have filled without too much going wrong, but itís still got strong enough bones to hold the thing up.

Letís talk about Jack Sparrow, Johnny Deppís character. Iíve heard reviewers that talk about his performance being so over-the-top that they essentially couldnít enjoy this movie because of it. Thatís taking this a little too seriously for me. I didnít think that the Oscar should go to Depp like some of my movie-mates, but it lent its own brand of levity to a movie. The fact that Jack Sparrow was so outlandish took a little of the pressure off the other characters, in my opinion. That way you donít need everybody hamming it up and making the movie into something that you just want to get out of, but at the same time realizing that this isnít Eugene OíNeil on the high seas or anything. There were a couple of points where I was groaning a little internally at one line or another, but overall it helped, rather than hurt, the movie. I think the fact that youíve got Depp and Bloom as on-screen man-candy helped his performance go down well with my movie-mates as well.

Second, itís got some decent action in it, too. Itís not a fist-flying-kung-fu-fest that every movie nowadays tries to be, and thatís a relief. The special effects of the cursed crew and the rest of the sea battles helped keep everybodyís attention. Really, thereís enough going on that you really feel like somebody took a good swashbuckling story and put it to film. I really thought that the clichťís would kill this thing off, but they do a good job at realizing that the audience wants to be involved and wants to be taken along for the ride. There are actually a couple of scenes that are directly taken from the Disney World ride.

Overall, this is a really enjoyable film for people who like a good action/adventure movie. It doesnít have any deconstructionalist, self-referential, ironic humor in it, but it still holds up on its own very well.

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