The Good

The kind of movie that holds up over time. Works very well on this PSP Unit.

The Bad

One would think they would have at least included a few bonus features...

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of the Black Pearl played just as well for me in the UMD format as it did when I first screened it in the theater almost three years ago. This largely scaled tale of Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner is the kind of movie experience that children love, and reminds adults why they go to the movies in the first place. Nothing about this film feels artificial in the slightest. One can only imagine what a gigantic undertaking it was to get this movie made, but director Gore Verbinksi seems to have deftly handled every aspect of this movie's elaborate production.

I think what I was the most impressed by was how Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley lost themselves in their roles. Also, Geoffrey Rush brings a fascinating humanity to the role of Captain Barbossa. This is one of those tent pole summer movies that deserves all the buzz, acclaim, accolades and money that it brings in. While there are certainly tons of FX at work, it seems like great effort has been made to bring the story and the performances to the forefront.

Features

No extras came with this UMD.

Video

Widescreen. There are no black bars so Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of the Black Pearl takes up the entire screen. I honestly thought watching it on the PSP was going to be a joke. I thought that this enormously large movie would look awful on such a small screen. The lack of "extra features" is probably because they needed all the space possible to compress this 143 minute movie. While I do miss the "extras", they more than make up for it with this film's presentation.

Audio

Stereo. With my headphones in my ears everything about the viewing experience was heightened. Whether it was sounds on the ships, sword fights, guns being blasted, etc., everything played very nicely. When I first saw trailers for this movie, I imagined it was going to be just another loud action film. The only thing different about it it seemed was the pirate angle. Then to see Johnny Depp do what he did with his character, and realize that this was very much a performance film as well as an action one, I almost wanted the loud Bruckheimer movie because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Package

The front cover is the exact same picture that was used to promote this film when it was released theatrically. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush and Keira Knightley all seem perfectly cast and placed on this one sheet. The picture of ships and boats of the rocks in the ocean below them is also a nice touch. The back cover continues the look of the movie, as well as gives us a well written description of what it's about. Nothing too special here, but Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of the Black Pearl doesn't really need much help promoting itself.

Final Word

I went into this movie with the lowest possible expectations. I just really had no interest in a pirate tale, but the movie was so popular and it was doing so well that I figured I would catch it before the film was out of the theater. I remember being so surprised at how imminently enjoyable the movie was. The performances were all well done, the action seemed to come at the just the right time and the movie seemed genuinely free of all the needless bombast that most Jerry Bruckheimer films seem to have. Watching it again only a few years later, I was very pleased to see how this film holds up.

As far as movies are concerned, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of the Black Pearl is a total movie watching experience regardless of the format it is screened on.

Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl was released July 9, 2003.