7
Dec 04

FT Top 100 Films #4: Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 1,077 views

There has to be a Boyzone.

Any list will always have a Boyzone in it. The nature of Freaky Trigger lists is that by the time you get to the top most people have run out of their favourite items, and everyone gets much more competitive. So to get in it has to be well known, well liked and not particularly controversial. Not the most recent film on this list (Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King got that honour) but certainly one which most people shrugged their shoulders and said: yep, its pretty good. And some people wanted to go home.

None of which should be seen as criticisms of this film, which I think would probably turn up if this list was done in twenty years time. For all its faults (it is far too long for instance) it contains moments of pure genius. Most of those come from Johnny Depp, who was robbed for the Oscar. This is proper acting, proper showboating and no matter how silly this tale of pirates, skelingtons and daring on the high seas gets, Depp can always make it sillier. Perhaps pirates were flamboyant dandies (there certainly was a high instance of homosexuality in pirate circles) but Jack Sparrow is a creation borne out of no-one seeing a pirate film for twenty years. Even when Depp showed his hand and said it was based of Keef Richards, it still impressed. Keef has never been quite this entertaining.

It is also of course a triumph of cross-pollination. Adaptations come and go, and are often seen as either cinema dumbing-down or cheapening the original in some way. When your film is based on a fairground ride this is not such a problem. There is probably little that is seen as culturally worthless than summer blockbusters after all, even theme-park rides*. And in a genre trawl why limit yourself either to the dull truth of actual pirates (who tend to die at the end) or the penny pulps of much pirate fiction. In blending pirates with zombies you do get some remarkable synergies – and it works well as a kiddie scarer. It can also work well as a kiddie borer, as the film is a good forty minutes to long. But in championing the underdog, fulfilling curses and being remarkably old fashioned, Pirates Of The Caribbean dazzles.

And there has to be a Boyzone.

*This is incorrect. Both summer blockbuster and theme-park rides are expressions of the pinnacle of human achievement: for better or worse.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required

Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page