Review: Pirates of the Caribbean

It's a movie based on an old, technologically un-savvy, animatronic ride at Disney World, how much can it really have to offer?

The answer is surprising: 2 hours and 23 minutes of raucous fun.

Pirates of the Caribbean:The Curse of the Black Pearl may not be up for any Oscars (except for costumes), but it is certainly a blast to watch.

We didn't entirely know what to expect when we settled down in the theater yesterday. When we'd first heard of the movie, it sounded like an awful idea. Been to the ride, seen the animatronics, yawn. Then the trailers came, and things started to look more promising.

When the film opens, you get an idea of the amount of effort put into the live-action pirate film. There were large, reasonably authentic sets and at least three ships of significant size and complexity.

However, it isn't the technological wizardry buried in the film that is the charm, it is the acting and the script. Johnny Depp is extremely well cast as Jack Sparrow, the pirate rogue who is arguably at the center of the film. However, his two co-stars, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are also very engaging.

The film finds a wonderful balance between camp, seriousness and humor. First, they paid as much attention to detail as you would have expected from a serious period drama about pirates, thus allowing the viewer to concentrate on the words and actions of the cast. Then, the script was intelligently written with a number of great references to other films and historic events. And to top it off, the performances and direction were wonderful. All of the makings of a great (possibly even classic) action/adventure film.

Violence is as you would expect for a PG-13 rated pirate film, mostly swords and brawling with some slicing thrown in, probably of little concern to all but the most squeamish.

Unless you hate the genre, put this one on your list. And, don't worry about the film feeling long, we were all quite surprised to see that it had lasted 2:23.