July 12, 2003


I don't care what anyone says, Pirates of the Caribbean is a darned good movie. I really did enjoy every minute. Depp is a wonder, the script is lighthearted, and the sea battle scene in mid-movie is exquisitely filmed. A lot of reviewers have dinged it for being based on a theme park ride, or having a line in the publicity kit about being an "Austen-style bodice-ripper," (and rightly so, there's a publicist that should be shot), but once you get through the antihype it's a nifty little movie with a non-formulaic screenplay, interesting, well-cast characters, and a great setting. The movie's not true to the historical pirates, of course, but it is true to the Stevenson-Sabatini fictional world of piracy... alarmingly so, in fact. I think even old Robert Louis would have liked this movie.

(One minor note: I know there's no point in criticizing a movie with the undead in it for historical accuracy, but the movie, which one can tell from other cues is set after 1700 and before 1725, makes landfall at two ports, Port Royal, Jamaica (the law abiding port) and Tortuga, Haiti. Port Royal's right... after the 1692 earthquake wiped out the buccaneer settlement there, it re-emerged as a proper English colony, but Tortuga, its rival buccaneer haven, was shut down by French authorities around and about 1688. In the early 18th century, if you were a pirate leaving Port Royal for a place to recruit a new crew, you'd have gone to New Providence (now, of course, called Nassau), in the Bahamas. Just a quibble.)

UPDATE: Lileks agrees. Come on, now, that really should be enough for you. See this movie!

Posted by BruceR at 08:06 PM