Story by: Jack Foley
THE credentials for this Summer blockbuster look decidedly less
than a sure-thing.
First off, it's the first film to be based on a theme park ride
(Walt Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean), and it also attempts
to breathe new life into a less-than-successful genre (remember
Cut-throat Island, anyone?).
Yet the advance word seems to suggest that director, Gore Verbinski,
may have got the formula right... and therefore won't be walking
any studio planks come July (in the US) or August (UK).
Verbinski, of course, is still riding high off the success of
the remake of The Ring (generally
considered to be a genuinely chilling horror film), while he has
assembled a pretty decent cast for the swashbuckler.
Most notable, is the presence of Johnny Depp, who, according
to the director in an interview with Empire magazine, said that
the star 'couldn't help smiling' when he received the phone call,
offering him the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a pirate.
Depp is an actor more renowned for offbeat/indie efforts, yet
apparently relished the opportunity to tackle a different genre.
Likewise, Geoffrey Rush, who stars as the nefarious Captain Barbossa,
the villain of the piece.
The plot finds Depp's happy-go-lucky Captain Jack Sparrow harmlessly
sailing the Caribbean, until his lifestyle is threatened by his
nemesis, Captain Barbossa (Rush), who steals his ship, the Black
Pearl, and attacks a port town.
Barbossa then kidnaps the daughter (Keira Knightley) of the governor
(Jonathan Pryce), but her childhood friend, Will Turner (Orlando
Bloom), joins with Sparrow to rescue her and recapture the ship.
Unknown to Turner, though, is the ancient curse of the ship,
which may lead everyone to an undead end.
The movie also marks something of a high-profile breakthrough
for Brits, Bloom and Knightley - a duo who have been biding their
time in smaller, more ensemble-based roles.
Knightley has appeared in the lavish TV adaptation of Dr Zhivago,
as well as the Brit indie hit, Bend
It Like Beckham, while emerging heart-throb, Bloom, has appeared
as Legolas in the Lord
of the Rings films, and alongside Ewan McGregor and Josh Hartnett
in Ridley Scott's Black
As for Verbinski, the director remains confident that the film
will appeal to the 'nine-year-old in most men', and because of
it's supernatural element, which finds an army of skeletons marching
against the heroes as one stage.
The film boasts over 600 effects shots and is said to cost $100
million to make.
Yet, according to Jerry Bruckheimer, who mostly seems to have
the Midas touch when it comes to blockbusters, audiences are promised
'big, expansive and romantic' - the three ingredients he believes
they will come out to see.
IndieLondon will deliver the US critical reaction when it opens
there on July 9.