Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Rated 2.0 Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Capt. Jack Sparrow is a work of mischievous thespian abandon that is playful and promising at first. This comment also applies to the overly long film itself, which immerses us in the mildewy turmoil and clutter of the Disneyland theme-park ride on which it is anchored, but never quite transforms itself into a full blown movie. Oscar-caliber set designs, costumes and art direction position us for a visually lush adventure, as a young blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) enlists the aid of Sparrow to rescue the governor’s kidnapped daughter (Keira Knightley). A curse of stolen Aztec gold that has turned pirate captain Barbossa and his cutthroats into “living dead” complicates their mission. With some editing, this tale about men once compelled by greed who are now consumed by it could have been more akin to such classics as The Crimson Pirate than just a reminder that they exist. Directed by Gore Verbinski (The Ring).