The words “Jerry” and “Bruckheimer” on the screen seldom bode well. Nor does a film based on a ride in Disneyland add promise to the premise. Surprisingly then, the film turns out to be quite enjoyable. Johnny Depp plays Keith Richards, a man who likes to drink, dress as a pirate and when exposed to moonlight, turns out to be nought but a skeleton with an earring. His arch foe is Captain Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush, a pirate who once led a mutiny against him. Somewhere in between is the rather dull love affair between Orlando Bloom, and a blonde, and among other characters are her father (the ever dependable Jonathan Pryce), and husband to be.
But it is the two loveable scoundrels who carry the film. Johnny Depp´s character makes a wonderful entrance, and is in the traditional role of the hero’s sidekick mercenary with a heart of gold, a sort of Han Solo to Orlando´s rather dull Luke. There’s even the makings of a Star Warsian love triangle, without the incest. It doesn’t take long before our pirate is swinging from masts chased by Her Majesties troops, in the best swashbuckling style. Add some cursed Aztec gold to the mix, and you have the makings of an exciting historical adventure.
The pirates are all suitably cartoonish, which as just as well, for there are enough holes in the plot to sink the sturdiest pirate ship. How did Depp become cursed? Why do they need Bloom´s blood? Why do the crew of the Interceptor leave after having rescued Bloom´s girlfriend instead of going for the treasure? And, perhaps most annoyingly, the youthful Depp doesn’t seem like he could possibly have hung out with Bloom´s old man, since both of them seem more or less the same age. In the event, none of this seems to matter very much. What we get instead is some pretty cool pirate speak (“Do we have an accord?”), some impressive CGI, which for once adds to the film instead of the film being based around it, and the irresistible allure of a good old fashioned adventure film. Even the slightly overlong ending is a nice relief, where, instead of the other suitor falling into a pit of acid or something, he actually sees the error of his ways, refreshing in an era where the bad guys are always portrayed as irredeemably bad and are inevitably punished tenfold, where revenge is usually the highest purpose.
It would be wonderful if the cinemas would show some more challenging stuff every now and then, but as far as harmless, lighthearted fun goes, this is more or less all you can ask for. Finally, a question all prospective Icelandic filmmakers are no doubt asking themselves this very moment; which one of the rides down by the harbour at this moment would make the best screenplay.