A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

March 6, 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Ahh, how I do love this movie.  For a Hollywood summer blockbuster this is probably the best written and with the best cast in, well.. ever.  When the teaser trailer showed in theater I was extremely sceptical.  I mean: a movie based on a Disneyland ride?  But I was perplexed by the people who had allowed themselves to be attached to the project.  Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush?  Orlando Bloom, fresh off of his success in the Lord of the Rings trilogy?  Johnny Depp?? In a summer blockbuster?  How on earth was this going to work?

I recall from the commentary track that director Gore Verbinsky insisted on having the screenwriters Tedd Elliott and Terry Rossio on set in case they needed to make last minute adjustments, which perhaps explains how the movie does so well at keeping to the arcs for its characters and working the tightly scripted plot.  Every scene is part of a beautifully crafted whole.. it’s really quite impressive.  For example: I am just now watching the scene on the Black Pearl where Elizabeth confronts Barbossa for the first time.  Each of them makes incorrect assumptions about the other.  She thinking that he wants to kidnap the governor’s daughter gives her name as Turner (which also furthers the love story between her and Will.)  He, looking only for the missing coin and needing the blood of Bill Turner then thinks that she is Bill’s daughter.. and the audience is able to follow every twist of motivation with ease.  It’s all like a carefully crafted puzzle with every piece fitting perfectly into place.

Of course no script be it ever so clever could hold its own without a cast that can live up to it.  So I should say something about the cast.. something appropriately filled with hyperbole.  I mean!  Geoffrey Rush – fully dedicating himself to a ridiculous role as an evil ghost pirate.  Orlando Bloom – wonderfully naive and callow.  And Johnny Depp!  Of course as a movie fan I’ve loved his eccentric characters in the past.  Loved him since he stopped being a pretty boy on 21 Jump Street and became one of the most eccentric actors in films.  So how could it be that he suddenly rose to super-stardom here?  His Captain Jack Sparrow is probably one of the most instantly recognizable characters of the last decade.  Really he embodies the whole movie in all it’s piratey glory.  Every supporting role is just as wonderfully done, too.  Every single person from the comic relief to the ancillary side characters gives his or her all to make it work.  Jack Davenport as Commodore Norrington.  Jonathan Price (who we will be seeing more of in Gilliam week!) as Governor Swann.  Heck – Zoe Saldana (who is in at least three other movies we own.. with a fourth on the way!)  Simply everybody rocks in this movie.

This was the first movie I saw Keira Knightly in – having never watched Princess of Thieves.  Clearly she is a power to be reckoned with as well.  I wonder what other Knightly movies we have in our collection.  Domino maybe?  I’m not sure.

This IS a Hollywood summer blockbuster, though, even if it is more character and plot driven than most, so there’s a lot of great action as well.  great sword battles, great naval battles, and spectacular special effects.  With a great love story at its heart as well.  Will Turner’s “At least one more time, as always Miss Swann” is this movie’s “As you wish.”

In summation: the best written and cast summer blockbuster in.. ever.

Oh, and for those of you who turn the movie off during the credits – stop doing that!  Like the frog says in Great Muppet Caper – they all have families.  And you’re missing cute post-credits moments like in this movie.

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March 6, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | 1 Comment

Movie 6 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl – March 6, 2010

We had to watch early today since Andy’s got a late/long shift at work. Maybe not everyone would put in a pirate action flick upon waking up, but obviously today we did.

We’ve seen this oh so many times, and I know when we first saw it we had oh so low expectations. Silly us. Really, it’s a fantastic movie for what it’s meant to be. And it’s not meant to be high art. It’s meant to be rollicking pirate adventure, with swashbuckling and quippy dialogue and ships and swords and ghosts and the like. And it succeeds at every turn. The opening scene? Perfect. Jack’s entrance? Perfect. The initial meeting between him and Elizabeth? Perfect. The sword fight in the smithy? Perfect. And that’s all just in the first half hour.

As I’m sure I’ll have ample chance to say, I do love a sword fight.

And I love some good quippy dialogue and a scoundrel to start it off. Jack Sparrow is a fantastic scoundrel character and Johnny Depp plays him well. Scoundrels and rogues are great figures in a movie. There’s usually a straight man for them to play off (Han and Luke in Star Wars is one of my favorite examples) and it makes for some fantastic moments since Will and Jack are the focal characters of the movie for much of it. Sadly, that dynamic often has a third member: The Girl. And I do hate for the ladies to be relegated to a gender instead of a character, but Elizabeth is a great lively gal who breaks out of The Girl role, though more in the second movie. And good for her. But we’ll do the second movie tomorrow.

Anyhow, I can’t not love this movie. I hadn’t seen it in a while before today, so while it wasn’t precisely fresh like a first viewing, it wasn’t something I’ve burnt out on. It was great to see the the story come together again and the action scenes, which are great, and Orlando Bloom’s Depp-as-Sparrow impression – which I’d somehow forgotten, and the setup for the next movie. They did a great job making a single movie that could get a sequel if things went well, but stood on its own if things didn’t. Not an easy task.

Swash swash, buckle buckle. Tomorrow we’re on to Dead Man’s Chest.

March 6, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

We are in such trouble

Just as an aside? We bought a pile of DVDs this week.

Yeah, we’re in trouble.

We bought more this week than we’ve watched so far – this week. They were cheap. We were weak. And I had a need to stock up on things to make Andy watch in retribution for the inevitable M. Night Shyamalan and Micheal Moore he’s inflicted upon our collection.

So! A little glimpse into what our collection holds, as a teaser, if you will:
Save the Last Dance
Ocean’s Twelve (and the others)
Diva
Ator the Fighting Eagle
Trekkies and Trekkies 2
Macross Plus
Frost/Nixon
The Great Muppet Caper

Just a small random sample off the top of my head and out of the shelves in the bedroom. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. And seriously, we have a crapload of Nicholas Cage. How have I not noticed this?

March 6, 2010 Posted by | we want information | , , | Leave a comment

Knowing

March 5, 2010

Knowing

I was actually looking forward to watching this movie with Amanda because I thought some of the concepts behind it would intrigue her… until I realized that I was thinking of a different movie. I was thinking of Next – which is a cheesy Nicholas Cage movie about a guy who can see all the multiple ways things turn out as a result of his actions and choose his path through the time stream because of it. But this is Knowing – a cheesy Nicholas Cage movie about a guy who through a ridiculous plot device knows the end of the world is coming.

The fact is that this movie is (like yesterday’s) one of the many that I purchased but have not had time to watch. To be honest it was one that for a long time I had no real intention of ever buying in the first place, since it looked like such a ludicrous plot for a disaster movie. (Not that I mind hokey disaster movies – I’m quite fond of the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds movie for some reason as an example of my questionable taste.) But then I saw that it was directed by Alex Proyas, and out of respect for his great earlier works (The Crow and Dark City for example)  I decided to give it a whirl. Let’s see if I regret that choice.

Hmm.  Watching it now and I have to say that so far I’m surprised by how much I do like it.  I thought from the previews it was a bog standard Roland Emmerich style end of the world disaster movie but it’s much better than that.  It’s more of a psychological and supernatural thriller.  Nicholas Cage plays a man who comes into possession of a document that turns out to accurately predict the date and location of every major disaster for fifty years.  And that’s where it becomes a mystery and thriller.  Why does he in particular have these numbers?  What is the nature of this warning and why him?  Who are the mysterious strangers who are appearing to his son?

It reminds me most of Signs (which I don’t believe I have in my collection but I have watched.)  It involves a man coping with his faith (in this case his belief that everything is random and meaningless.)  But this movie is actually good.  It does a good job building the tension and laying out the clues as it builds to its inevitable climax.

And that’s what the movie is about.  Inevitability.  With shades of Larry Niven’s “Inconstant Moon” and Greg Bear’s “Forge of God.”  It’s great sci-fi suspense even when you know how it has to end.

I like it a lot.. but then again, I’m one of those guys who liked Contact, so take that as you will.

March 6, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment