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Pirates of the Caribbean - Preview

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 Hawk Down.

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.

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