Pirates of the Caribbean

Fans of the swashbuckling epics will be happy to know that Pirates of the Caribbean evokes memories of the dying genre. And while the film has plenty of action that works, it eventually succumbs to overkill in a heavily padded, 2:15 running time.The film centers around a cursed gold medallion that initially comes in contact with a young pirate Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). When Turner, who doesnt know hes a pirate, is rescued by a British fleet led by Gov. Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce), the medallion is taken by Swanns daughter, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), to conceal Turners true identity from her father, keeping Turner safe. Eight years later, the crew of the ship, the Black Pearl, led by Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), comes after the medallion, which holds the key to breaking the crews cursed existence.Barbossa kidnaps Elizabeth and Turner enlists the aid of a rogue pirate named Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to rescue the young maiden.From the moment Depp appears on camera, theres a certain charm in the actors swagger. Depp plays Sparrow like a cross between Val Kilmer in The Doors and Dudley Moore in Arthur, and watching his performance is a lot of fun.Bloom makes for a good young hero, while Knightley is a major find as the young heroine. Even Rush appears to be having a lot of fun as the evil Barbossa.Director Gore Verbinski stages some visually spectacular action sequences, while Ted Elliott and Terry Rossios screenplay clearly doesnt take itself too seriously.Unfortunately, all of the films good will is eventually washed away in a mammoth running time that definitely bogs down the fun. The film could have easily wrapped up in 90 minutes, yet it stumbles on with several action sequences that are essentially repeats of earlier scenes. Theres always too much going on, which is easily forgivable for a while. But as the minutes mount, the flaws are only accentuated. Like his previous film, the superior The Ring, Verbinski just doesnt seem to understand when enough is enough.Pirates of the Caribbean holds the distinction as being the first film to be released with a PG-13 rating under the Walt Disney Picture label. That distinction will probably be the only thing that this near miss will be remembered for. In an already-crowded summer action field, Pirates proves to be its own worst enemy. After Caribbean, sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton is feeling a little seasick … pray for his health, and in the meantime, e-mail him at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.

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