Mr. DuLac’s review published on Letterboxd:
Whose side is Jack on?
Before the world was force fed how cool the character of Captain Jack Sparrow was, we were actually treated to a great film. It took most people by surprise as a film based on a theme park attraction doesn't exactly sound appealing, and add to the fact that Disney didn't really have the best track record when it came to live action films for the last couple of decades before this movie.
The funny thing is that before checking today, I always thought that Gore Verbinski's first feature film was the excellent remake The Ring and that he was an odd choice for Disney to direct this huge family film for them. Turns out I was completely wrong... his first film was Mousehunt. I guess the decision made more sense then I thought... I almost want to watch Mousehunt now.
It might not be cool to say anymore, but I still love Johnny Depp in this. I thought I'd be over it as the character seems to have played itself out in film, but the original outing still cracks me up and entertains. It helps that he has Geoffrey Rush to play off of as he was an inspired choice for Captain Barbossa. I'm sure there was an executive or two out there that would have preferred someone more popular with the younger North American audiences at the time, but he gives the perfect contrast to how Depp plays his character in the film.
Orlando Bloom does his thing as he seems to be at home in period or fantasy films. Keira Knightley seems to be able to do as many period films as she wants and there's never any question about her fitting into the role. I think she can fit in wherever she damn well pleases to be honest. I was surprised and pleased to see Zoe Saldana pop up in this as well. Didn't remember she was in this, probably because I had no idea who she was at the time.
The story is surprisingly complex and yet feels fairly simple to understand throughout the film. You quickly get used to the fact that every time Sparrow strikes a deal with someone, it usually means said person is getting screwed over. It's still a great film that holds up, mostly because it's the rare blockbuster that didn't spawn hundreds of imitators after. I'm almost surprised that "Pirate Movies" didn't become a half assed popular genre after this.
Of note... it's the first time I watched the post-credit scene as I had no idea it existed.