A flamboyant pirate swishes to the rescue of a 17th-century lady in distress.

CAST: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Davenport

DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski

"Jack Sparrow is one very strange pirate, and thank heaven for that. As Johnny Depp plays him, with Cockney accent, kohl-blackened eyes and a prancing brio that wouldn’t be out of place in a Christopher Street parade, he’s by far the best reason to see ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’… Depp unleashes his theatrical bravado. He’s hilarious…whenever the movie starts to sag, Depp flies to the rescue. It’s a truly piratical performance: with his flamboyantly fluttering fingers he steals every scene in the movie." --David Ansen, Newsweek

"The dazzling, high-flying silliness is quite an achievement. The movie is better than it deserves to be, given its origins: a ride at Disneyland and Disney World… Ms. Knightley is strident and confident in her movement, an ability that makes her all the sexier and alluring, which is fortunate, given that her acting skills aren't quite as devastating as her looks. The movie belongs to Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow the pirate… Mr. Depp doesn't get the opportunity to display his gift for comedy often, and his mellow, dizzied underplaying here is a balm, an antidote to the raucous battles and swashbuckling." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"This noisy retread, a secondhand facsimile of a movie, is, except for the headache its boisterous sound level leaves you with, as forgettable as a bad day in the Disneyland parking lot…the only inducement ‘Pirates’ provides for anyone to watch at all is Johnny Depp's eccentric and quirkily amusing performance as temporarily unemployed pirate captain Jack Sparrow. With piercing black eyes surrounded by kohl, beads in his hair, a beard with tiny braids and enough gold and platinum in his mouth to earn Dr. Rick Glassman, DDS, a credit for ‘Dental Special Effects for Johnny Depp,’ the actor looks less the nautical outlaw than a thrift store refugee about to go clubbing in Hollywood." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"There's a nice little 90-minute B movie trapped inside the 143 minutes of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,’ a movie that charms the audience and then outstays its welcome…yet the movie made me grin at times, and savor the daffy plot, and enjoy the way Depp and Rush fearlessly provide performances that seem nourished by deep wells of nuttiness. Depp in particular seems to be channeling a drunken drag queen… It can be said that his performance is original in its every atom. There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie…He is a peacock in full display." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ is just a little editing short of great; a little paring would have made this film a joyride from beginning to end…Best of all, in Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, the cast is led by a pair of actors neither afraid to tailor characters to their own outsized personalities, nor unwilling to risk charges of overdoing things…a summer blockbuster worthy of your entertainment dollar." --Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

"The way in which Johnny Depp plays pirate Jack Sparrow makes him look more swishbuckling than swashbuckling. Trying to be offbeat and funny rather than dashing, Depp's movements seem more effete than fearsome or heroic. Where is Errol Flynn when he's needed?…‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ a merchandising movie tied to a ride at Disneyland, is long on mayhem and short on entertainment...Yo ho ho and a bottle of dumb." --William Wolf,

"Trimming half an hour from this bloated, 143-minute blockbuster would have highlighted the film's treasures, not the least of which is Johnny Depp's endearingly eccentric performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, a pirate whose prowess has been dissipated by too much rum and too much time in the Caribbean sun…’Pirates of the Caribbean’ tends to overstay its welcome." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"In 1926, Douglas Fairbanks was ‘The Black Pirate.’ In 1952, Burt Lancaster was the toothy ‘Crimson Pirate.’ And now, in 2003, with ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ Johnny Depp has become the Lavender Pirate…What is he doing? God only knows…But it is one hilarious performance. And from the moment he steps onto a pier at the Caribbean city of Port Royal, and off the top mast of his sinking ship (which abruptly disappears beneath him, into the bay), he's made everybody else in the film an extra…Wearing more mascara than was budgeted for ‘La Cage aux Folles,’ he is genuinely a treat to watch." --John Anderson, Newsday

"The high-spirited, comic swashbuckler ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl’ is a slight but disarmingly entertaining surprise…The unexpectedly light touch of director Gore Verbinski (‘The Ring’) gives the film a playful tone without sinking it into self parody…Verbinski puts a Jackie Chan flourish of high energy and gymnastic action on the swashbuckling stunts and swordplay and keeps this lark sailing along so swiftly and smoothly that you hardly notice the 135-minute running time until the ride is over." --Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer