"Pirates of the Caribbean" - Movie Review
- Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Bad: Gore Verbinski directed the horror thriller "The Ring" and has incorporated the same knack for intense storytelling in this friendlier pirate tale without the darker elements of a horror movie. For parents believing that this movie will be "kid friendly" like the theme park ride, let me clarify that this is not a children's movie. However, this movie could be considered "teen friendly" because of the mature themes, adult humor and levity throughout the story. By definition a pirate movie is going to have a group of dangerous, unscrupulous characters who drink, use crude language, are filthy to look at and have no qualms about killing. On top of being a nasty bunch, they happen to have a curse on them that makes them turn into ghosts in the moonlight. This crew is willing to do whatever it takes (even kill Elizabeth) to return the gold coin and be freed from their curse. A few funny characters have been thrown in to keep the story humorous (one pirate has a wooden eye that keeps popping out, another has a bird who talks for him, etc.), so the audience doesn't ever take the story too seriously. There are numerous sword fights with casualties and there are other scenes with knives and swords (Elizabeth stabs a dinner knife into Barbossa's chest, but since he's undead, it doesn't hurt him; a fork lands in a pirate's fake eye; Jack shoots a pirate in the chest), but nothing is graphically portrayed. And of course there are the scenes of the pirates in the moonlight who appear in their skeletal form and look disgusting and creepy (flesh falling off their bones and their eyes bulging out). I will say if your children have seen the commercials for the movie, then they've seen the worst of what the pirates look like. But there are still a few scenes that are intense, so parents, you'll need to be discerning about what may frighten or disturb your children, depending on their age and maturity. There are a few mild profanities, some mild sexual innuendoes made by Barbossa and several women slap Jack on the face. There is obviously an abundance of violence because of the numerous battles and fights that various characters get into. And again, there are causalities -- but nothing graphic.
Bottom Line: I enjoyed the creative way this movie was made, and the incredible special effects and superb cast make it a memorable movie. I likewise enjoyed spotting the "spoofs" on the Disney theme park ride, and I laughed a lot at the humorous dialogue and swashbuckling antics of Depp and the pirates. But parents let me stress again: the scary and disgusting skeletal appearances of the pirates are definitely not appropriate for children with impressionable minds who get nightmares easily. Like I said, the commercials show what the skeletons look like but the sight of them in an intense, action-packed scene might be terrifying for a child under 13. That's why this movie is rated PG-13 and is intended for older audiences who can understand the difference between reality and fantasy. I'm obviously not suggesting this movie for everyone -- only those who enjoy a fun-filled fantasy adventure mixed with spooky special effects. Still, it reminded me a bit of the old pirate movies I used to watch as a kid: "Treasure Island", "The Crimson Pirate" and "Captain Blood." I think even Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks would enjoy this exciting swashbuckling addition to a genre that hasn't seen much in the way of pirate movies for several years.
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