Alexis ~ Phoenician Rises’s review published on Letterboxd:
Rewatched this with my husband. This is basically a perfect movie.
Swashbucklers are my favorite thing, but this one is extra special. The script is incredibly clever and tightly wound, and the line delivery by the actors is just spot on. The sword fights are brilliant, and overall it's a very unique story. The other Pirates films may be garbage, but this film is a standalone classic.
Watching it this time made me want to rant about something, though. And that is how much the other films RUINED Elizabeth Swan's character. She didn't need to do the dumb things she did in the other two films to be "cool" or "empowered." She was already awesome. This time around I really paid attention to her. Elizabeth is very smart and well informed. She knows everything there is to know about pirates, and nearly all the good ideas presented in the story are her ideas. She takes control of her situation by invoking parlay with Captain Barbosa, and also by fighting back when he threatens to kill her. She isn't just aimlessly floating through the story, she's a very involved heroine. Elizabeth was pretty legit, and watching this again just reminded me how much I hated what they did to her in the other movies, and how much they ruined the Swan/Turner love story.
Jack Sparrow was also a million times better in this first movie. He's a little too campy and overdone in other installments, but in this film you can actually see he has more than one slapstick dimension. He is a character you can actually understand, and he has redeeming qualities. Also, Johnny Depp's delivery and performance just can't be beat here.
I sill love Norrington haha. Poor guy...
I loathe Disney so much now it hurts. :-(