Kelly’s review published on Letterboxd:
It's been so long since I had watched the original, and I let the sequels taint my memory of it, but this first movie it so good. It's strikes an amazing balance between, action, comedy, romance, and even a touch of horror. It is gorgeous to watch. The costumes, the ships, the effects are all incredible. I remember being in theater, watching the crew leave the cave, walking on the ocean floor, going in and out of the moonlight. I was just in awe of how good the effects were. Sure, they are even better now, but they hold up reasonably well.
Johnny Depp nails it here. Captain Jack Sparrow is so full of character but without cartoon. He still maintains a small sense of danger. His hunt for revenge on Barbossa helps to give him direction and depth. Speaking of, Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa is an amazing villain. He's amoral but charismatic and funny. Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom both do better than I would have expected from them.
Whatever this franchise may become, there's no doubt that this first is really better than it had any right to be and brought pirates back into pop culture. Really a great movie.