Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
It's hard to believe that it's been fifteen years since Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was released. It's even hard to believe that a movie based on a theme park ride turned out to be this good. That was exactly the sort of cynicism facing the film when it became a sleeper hit in the summer of 2003. Initially dismissed as a misguided cash grab, Pirates went on to become a global phenomenon - based almost entirely on Johnny Depp's jaw-dropping performance as Jack Sparrow.
A lot's changed since then though. Even as audiences grew weary of Captain Jack and this franchise, Disney kept churning out sequels. It's difficult to separate this original film from the diminishing returns of its successors and from the real life antics of Depp - but we're going to try. This original film is worth celebrating on its own terms and it's worth pointing out how this one succeeds where its follow-ups fail.
Topics include: the lack of enthusiasm surrounding this project that nearly sent it straight-to-video, the panic at the studio over Johnny Depp's performance, how the sequels retroactively turned this into an intricately connected trilogy instead of treating it as the further adventures of these characters, why this was Zoe Saldana's first and last trip aboard The Black Pearl, the reason the final act feels a little too long, a round of Role Reversal, and much much more!