Thursday, Dec. 18, 2003

Pirates of the Caribbean

This one shivered my timbers: a lavishly entertaining movie that's based on the Disney theme park's stodgiest ride, and directed by a fellow (Gore Verbinski) whose four previous projects (Mouse Hunt, The Mexican, The Time Machine and The Ring) offered little hope for a lovely evening. It is, though: an original work in an antique mood, with daredevil plot twists (courtesy of screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio) and a gargantuanly mannered performance by Johnny Depp. Snarling and flouncing and decadently attired, Depp is the fop of war. Come to think of it, most of the titles on this list are war movies. Maybe 2003 was the year that cinema stumbled into the international zeitgeist and found that war may be hell, but for moviemakers it's heaven.