Björn Broekman’s review published on Letterboxd:
Pirates of the Caribbean is one of those films that helped me into loving film. Film as a medium. It's one of the first "grown up" films I ever saw. I think Jurassic Park was the first one. My love for fun, adventurous and action packed cinema has been there since I was old enough to watch tv. I already loved film as a kid. Animated adventures like Disney's The Lion king and Jungle book have a special place in my heart. It couldn't have been more fitting. At a time where I became a bit too old to watch those animated gems (well, at least at that time I thought so), I discovered Pirates of the Caribbean, another Disney film. As an adolescent my love for cinema continued, highly influenced by what Disney produced. Harry Potter really helped too, but Disney has never lost my interest. So, with Pirates of the Caribbean, my love for film has risen up to the next level. Years later, it's one of those films I wouldn't know anymore how often I've seen it. The curse of the Black Pearl ranks high among my favorite films.
It's not hard to see why, after some pirate themed flops, Gore Verbinski's epic about the world's clumsiest, yet charming pirate named Jack Sparrow, was such a risky production. It was a dying species, the pirate. For cinema at least. But I praise everyone involved, Pirates of the Caribbean: The curse of the Black Pearl was a huge succes. I guess it's safe to say that many filmfans around the world loved it enough to add it to their favorites. It became iconic. The start of a new fan base. And with good reason! Jack's character, the quotes, the uplifting theme song created by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer, it's not difficult to see the mass appeal. They brought us one of the most sweepingly epic and uplifting, yet dramatic and touching films ever produced. With one of the most sweepingly epic and uplifting, yet dramatic and touching soundtracks ever produced. The curse of the Black Pearl didn't just make me love film more, it also got me into loving filmmusic.
Full of energy and thrilling action, quotable, tense, at times surprisingly dark and sinister, fun and incredibly funny throughout, it's nothing less than a rich film with plenty of satisfying worldbuilding. A pirate curse, ghost ships, a golden treasure, pirate blood, the mythology behind it all is clever, well written and complex, but never overly complicated. The lively visuals and that particular, strong sense of humour that has become part of the franchise's identity give it all that typical "piratesofthecaribbean-y" mood. It was there from the start.
Jack Sparrow. It's one of my favorite movie characters to ever reach the big screen. Depps performance is terrific, and to date still one of his finest. He gave us a memorable character. Of course the great writing was part of this as well, but he did it. He made everything that looked good on paper really work. Depp steals the show here, without doubt. Most of the humour is provided by him, and the film partly works because of him. Without him it wouldn't be the same. Or even close to being as fun. But nearly everything in this film totally works. Almost equally terrific is Geoffrey Rush as captain Barbossa. A truly memorable villain. What makes his villain standout is his connection with the protagonist. Avoiding cliches by rejecting a simple evil plan popping out of nowhere, instead captain Barbossa and captain Jack Sparrow already were linked even before the official story starts. They share a questionable history. Barbossa is given a backstory worthy of the impressive presence that Geoffrey Rush is. His acting is excellent, but it's this backstory which links him to the protagonist what makes him standout. While the storytelling as a whole is pretty straightforward, a fully realized and detailed backstory is given to the characters. On the surface it all seems very simple, but underwater, near the bottom of the sea a more complex plot already has unfolded. It's strong storytelling on nearly every level, perfectly integrated in a film which never lacks imagination, always provides on pure adventurous entertainment and even adds drama to this cursed treasure of modern filmmaking. A love story. In the middle of all this ridiculously well working elements, even more layers are added. Almost overly ambitious, but delivering on every single aspect, even the romance fully works.
Among all the great acting and memorable characters they might not be the total standouts of the film as a whole, but their acting is equally great. Energetic and emotional, yet tough and romantic, Orlando Bloom gives a very fine performance here, besides an equally impressive, sexy and cool Keira Knightley.
Several other plotlines occur in the film, but it's all put together into such a perfectly crafted experience, with a whole lot of bottles of rum shaken into it. Exquisitely balanced, with a runtime of nearly two and a half hours, never ever does it get boring. Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is easily one of the best and most epic adventure films ever made. Its 4 sequels I all highly enjoyed, with Dead man's chest being almost equally stunning as this one. But nothing beats the original.
After all those hundreds, possibly even thousands of films I've watched at this point, at the age of 26, I still love the films Walt Disney is producing. Like a little kid, I'm still enjoying pretty much everything Pixar is making. And everything I once thought would be too childish I still really enjoy. The little kid in me still always awakes when I'm watching Disney. Still fascinated by the imaginative worlds they bring. The same Jungle Book and Lion King I still love. And recently I re-experienced my childhood favorites with the reimagined Aladdin, Jungle Book, The lion king and Beauty and the beast. Disney is an essential part of why, nowadays I still have a special connection to film. Disney, I would say, transported me through my journey. Through this journey where I explored film through the years. My years. At some point I always get back to them. To the ones I have yet to explore, and also to the ones I've already explored a couple of times. A lot of the works they produced helped me appreciating the medium of film. And within this huge selection, Pirates of the Caribbean remains one of the most important ones. To date, I can still watch it at any given day, at any given moment, without ever getting bored by it. And that, mate, would be the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow.