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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL

BY CHRIS FUJIWARA

Before becoming a standard exercise in wearing out welcomes, Gore Verbinskiís adventure comedy brings good spirits and narrative vigor to its chore of refurbishing the pirate genre. The sometimes elegant dialogue is mostly free of the solecisms usually deemed necessary to obtain the target audienceís support for period blockbusters (I still remember the moment in The Patriot when Mel Gibson asked Joely Richardson whether he could sit next to her and she replied, "Itís a free country ó or at least it will be soon!"). Although two hams (Geoffrey Rush and Jonathan Pryce) are on hand to provide whatís called acting, the filmís one interesting performance is that of Johnny Depp, who as a pirate captain in search of a ship surrounds himself in a blur of sensuous hand motions while flouncing through the proceedings in long braids and eye shadow. That some of the pirates (those commanded by Rush) are zombies, sort of, proves helpful neither to their adversaries nor to the special-effects team, who drop the ball on what would have seemed a surefire play: the transformation between fleshy body and skeleton as a zombie pirate moves in and out of moonlight. (134 minutes)


Issue Date: July 11 - July 17, 2003
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