If you've ever wondered what Hunter S. Thompson would have been like if he was English and a pirate, then go see Pirates of The Caribbean. It's probably unlikely that this thought has crossed your mind, but go see it anyway. AVAST!
When I first heard about this film, based on the popular Disney ride, I thought it was going to be another example of the shameless cash-ins that the studio has been producing of late. Oh, how wrong was I. Fun one-liners, excellent sword fights that don't call attention to the CGI (yes, Matrix: Reloaded, I'm looking at you), and Johnny Depp stealing the film with all the ease of a master thief. It manages to be predictable in the best blockbuster fashion, while the script rewards the audience for paying attention, yet throws in lots of twists and turns along the way. It's also quite amusing, dragging in a touch of Monkey Island yet at the same time remaining relatively free of knowing self-referentialism. HERE THERE BE MONSTERS!
Johnny Depp is wonderful. To the point where he alone is worth the £5/$10 ticket price. Go! See! It! WHY IS THE RUM GONE?!
Picking niggles because I can: it's a bit slow at the start (although Depp's entrance is note-perfect, telling you almost everything you need to know about the character even before he's stepped on dry land), Orlando Bloom's character doesn't seem to do much except act as the McGuffin, and the final five minutes are little more than a very quick and unsatisfying way of tying up all the loose ends and still having a happy ending. But you've had so much fun during the last two hours that it seems churlish to criticise too much. Plus, it features the main title theme from The Rock, and you can't ask much more from a film than that, can you? MONKEY!