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movies > pirates of the caribbean

Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

The MPAA rated Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003) PG-13 for action/adventure violence.

Like a heavy ocean fog, trouble rolls into the coastal town of Port Royal when Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) lightly sets foot on the local’s wooden wharf. Having lost command of his ship during a mutiny, the roguish captain is consumed with getting the Black Pearl back from his double-crossing first mate, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). And he isn’t above commandeering someone else’s boat to do it.

But his plans to steal the British Navy’s fastest vessel, the HMS Interceptor, are disrupted when Barbossa and the mutineers fire on the seaside settlement and kidnap Elizabeth, the daughter of the Governor (Keira Knightley). Eager to help the friend who once saved his life, Will Tanner (Orlando Bloom), a young blacksmith, begs Jack to help him find the legendary ship and free the captured girl from the pirates.

Meanwhile, another rescue party is being organized by Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport), the newly promoted British officer who wants to marry the pirate’s hostage. As he barks orders at his underlings, Jack and Will slip away on the Interceptor and set a full sail course for the tiny Caribbean island where the Black Pearl docks.

However, due to the misdeeds of Barbossa and his band of thieves, an eerie curse has befallen the Black Pearl--a curse that dooms them to exist between the spheres of life and death until they can undo the hex.

For many, Johnny Depp and Walt Disney Pictures are an unlikely combination to appear in the same movie credits. Suffice it to say, there was some bending on the part of both parties to make it happen. The usually family-friendly official Disney studio banner received its first ever PG-13 rating in the United States and Depp’s bizarre character, who wears heavy black eyeliner, gold teeth and double chin braids, was toned down from the original interpretation.

Like Country Bears, this film is based on a Disney theme park attraction. But don’t expect Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl to be a suitable ride for all family members. Prolonged and often tedious amounts of fantasy violence include on-screen shootings, stabbings and multiple impalings. While teens may be intrigued with the pirates’ moonlit transformation from human being to rotting skeleton, children will likely find the change a little scary.

The rakish, ousted pirate captain also appears to be a little tipsy. It could be from too much sun or the burning desire for revenge. But it’s more likely the regular consumption of rum that leaves Jack weaving across the screen in this film that plays alcohol use for comedy.

While slashing several scenes of sword fighting could easily have shortened this script to a more satisfying length, the swashbuckling action will likely appeal to many teens. In addition, Will’s desire to make an honorable name for himself despite his family history allows these boisterous buccaneers to barely squeeze into the B grade.

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