In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures (along with First Mate Productions and Jerry Bruckheimer Films) produced what is probably one of the best pirate films of the past two decades. Under the direction of Gore Verbinski (who directed "The Ring" in 2002), "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is a very entertaining and engaging film in large due to the wonderful acting of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom (who played "Legolas Greenleaf" in all three "Lord of the Rings" films between 2001 and 2003), Geoffrey Rush and Keira Knightley, as well as superb special effects, good cinematography and good writing. The principle writers for the film, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, have previously collaborated their writing skills on such films as "Little Monsters" (1989), "Aladdin" (1992) and the highly successful "Shrek" (2001), to name a few. Two other writers who helped to write this film are Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert.
The story, which was probably inspired by a ride of a similar name at the Disneyland amusement park in California, follows the life of a woman, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), from when she is child (played by Lucinda Dryzek) while she and her father, Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce), are en route to Port Royal. After successfully fending off a pirate attack, a boy named William Turner (Dylan Smith) escapes from the pirate ship and travels to Port Royal with Elizabeth and her father. As a memento of the attack, Elizabeth keeps a gold coin that she finds in Will's clutched hand. As an adult, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) works as a blacksmith. Enter the enigmatic pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who is not particularly welcome at Port Royal. He is imprisoned by Gov. Swann, but escapes when Port Royal is attacked by the pirate ship named the Black Pearl, which is commanded by Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Jack wants the Black Pearl, Elizabeth is kidnapped and the nature of the curse is revealed.
Memorable scenes in the film include the pirate attack during Elizabeth's childhood, Jack's arrival at Port Royal, Jack meeting Will, the attack upon the port, Elizabeth onboard the Black Pearl, Will and Jack leaving the port, and the scenes at the Isla de Muerta. Other memorable characters include Mr. Gibbs (Kevin McNally), Koehler (Treva Etienne), Norrington (Jack Davenport), Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook), Pintel (Lee Arenberg), Mullroy (Angus Barnett) and Murtogg (Giles New).
At 2 hours & 23 minutes, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is sure to entertain both adults and children alike. Overall, I rate the film with 4 out of 5 stars. It would not be surprising if the film receives several Oscar nominations, which may include Best Special Effects, Best Art/Set Decoration, Best Costumes and possibly Johnny Depp for Best Actor.