Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl ★★★★★

This movie is a miracle. Every single revisit over the years has me still in shock that a theme park ride was adapted into one of the all-time great adventure films. A genuinely great screenplay that deftly balances stakes, emotion, humour, characters and world-building. Plot mechanics are very much on the surface but it works because watching every cog in the machine lock into place is an endlessly satisfying collection of set-ups and payoffs. They absolutely should teach this script in school.

Sparrow, Will and Elizabeth make for a phenomenal cinematic trio, and without the specific alchemy of all three, it would all fall apart. Does a better job instantly establishing who characters are and what they want than most other blockbusters released this century. I've always loved this one, and this latest revisit has me hoping I can one day make a movie that works this well. Verbinski is a titan who deserves far more respect.

The shot of the cursed pirates walking into view on the ocean floor has to be one of the most metal things anyone has ever committed to film.