The roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow's (Johnny Depp) idyllic pirate life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal, kidnapping the governor's beautiful daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightley). In a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl, Elizabeth's childhood friend Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) joins forces with Jack. What Will doesn't know is that a cursed treasure has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead.


As Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) steps off his sinking dingy onto the wharf at Port Royal you just know things are going happen around him. He wants to steal a Royal Navy ship to retrieve his ship, the Black Pearl, from the blackguard Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who led a mutiny against him. He?s fortunate that Barbossa's men have recently kidnapped Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), the daughter of the British Governor because she holds the key to reversing a curse visited on Barbossa and his men after they stole a chest of Inca gold. Elizabeth's fiance Commander Norrington (Jack Davenport) is reluctant to go in pursuit, but Sparrow isn't, and neither is the young man who truly loves Elizabeth, sword-maker Will Turner (Orlando Bloom).

Where other high-concept movies have fallen to earth Pirates of the Caribbean soars. And it's for a number of reasons. The first would have to be the writing team of Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio of Shrek fame; they've created characters with wit and charm and a narrative that is unbelievable fun. And then there's director Gore Verbinski who directs at a rattling good pace, letting his fine actors chew the scenery. And they do.

Johnny Depp's portrayal of Jack Sparrow is a sight to behold – braided hair, a suspect gait, teeth that either need a good diet or some more fillings from ill-gotten gains and an accent that's mid-Atlantic cockney. It's such a cheeky performance, and he gets away with it! As does Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, he's absolutely wonderful. Those are the two standouts but they're all good. I haven't had such a rollicking good time in the cinema in ages.

Comments by David Stratton
: For a while this works as a lavish pirate movie, with a genuinely offbeat performance from Johnny Depp and a wonderfully enjoyable one from Geoffrey Rush as the pirate chief. But this adaptation of a theme park ride soon sinks under its own weight; it's far too long, and the supernatural elements aren't very interesting. (Once we know that the pirates are ghosts and can't be killed, where's the suspense?)