(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)
Doug (vo): When the poster for Pirates of the Caribbean came out, I heard everybody snickering and laughing, "What? Johnny Depp is in this? Jerry Bruckheimer, The Rock guy, is producing a Disney film? Come on!" Things didn’t get any better when the trailer came out and they saw how ridiculous Johnny Depp looked. "Oh, my God! He’s stooped to a new low! Are we supposed to take him seriously? Is he really doing this movie based on a ride? Man, Disney’s out of ideas." But, little did everybody know that next to Mickey Mouse and the Princess line, Pirates of the Caribbean would be one of the most profitable Disney franchises ever. It was a big hit at the box office, spawned tons of merchandise, and, of course, sequel after sequel after sequel. So, how'd this movie that had so much going against it turn out to be one of Disney’s biggest hits?
Doug (vo): Well, a lot of it does center around Depp, playing the infamous Jack Sparrow. He belonged to a group called the Pirates of the Black Pearl, which he used to lead but now is lead by Geoffrey Rush. But the pirates got too greedy and stole some gold that apparently had a curse on it. Now, whenever the moonlight shines, they’re revealed as dead skeletons, who can’t feel anything that happens to them. This proves to be a big drag for them as they can’t experience any of the pleasures of life, so they try to get the curse lifted, and they think the answer lies in a young Keira Knightley, who is kidnapped and has to be saved by Orlando Bloom, who, it turns out, is the real key to get the curse lifted. Along with Johnny Depp’s help, they steal some ships, get in swordfights, all sorts of cannon play, gun play, swinging around, all the "yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me" stuff.
Doug (vo): When the film came out, people loved it, and the more and more they watched it on DVD, the more and more they noticed the little comedic bits here and there, and the more and more they just got into it. Nowadays, it’s sort of seen as this action masterpiece, but I don’t know if I go that far. It is fun, and it is goofy, and it has a lot of fun action in it. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow is comedically over-the-top, and gets a lot of good laughs. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are sort of the straight people to bounce off of, but they do a pretty decent job. Geoffrey Rush I think was born to play a pirate. I mean, just look at him. He’s yukking up every scene he’s in and he’s loving every moment of it, and so are we. What helps the movie become so enjoyable is that it does have such a good sense of humor, and it’s not all in-jokes with current speak. It’s actually jokes that, well, would fit in that time period, eh, for the most part. You have to have quite the extension of disbelief to buy a lot of this, but, hey, for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, I think that kind of goes without saying. So everybody went in with that mindset and were kind of pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was.
[Several Disney in-jokes are shown throughout the film]
Doug (vo): If I did have a problem, it’s probably a couple too many winks at the audience, especially having it being a Disney film. For example, did you notice that Jonathan Pryce is dressed up as Captain Hook in the beginning? What’s the point of that? There’s one line where somebody refers to The Little Mermaid, I guess that’s a Disney joke. Honestly, there’s probably more references to other Disney films than there is the actual ride in this flick. But part of the fun in it is it doesn’t feel like something that was needlessly made just to attract people who know the ride. It actually is sort of its own story with its own unique feel to it, even if there are a few nods here and there.
Doug (vo): I don’t think it’s a grand scale masterpiece, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be either. I think it’s just supposed to be just sort of a fun swashbuckling adventure with a lot of good comedy and a lot of good laughs, and that’s exactly what I got. For a film that everybody thought was going to tank, we were all really surprised. If you can buy how incredibly silly and over-the-top it’s going to be and, again, with the title “Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean”, you kind of assume you're going to, I think you can have a lot of fun with it. The music’s great, it looks great, it’s acted great. It’s a pirate’s life, and it’s definitely for me.
[Johnny Depp's character, Jack Sparrow, is shown smiling]