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(Three Movie Collection)

The PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN trilogy has to rate as the most decidedly commercial films in actor Johnny Depp’s repertoire, yet they are surprisingly engaging and have not compromised his artistic integrity - as his vivid portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in all three movies will attest. All three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies offer rollicking good supernatural yarns with plenty of swashbuckling, tremendous special effects, romance and a healthy dose of comedy. THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL offered a self-contained tale about ghostly pirates and a cursed treasure. However, DEAD MAN’S CHEST leveraged the first film’s enormous financial success into a two-part adventure that culminates with AT WORLD'S END.


Gents, you all remember Captain Jack Sparrow… Kill him.

What do you get when you mix a Disney theme park attraction with producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s movie making, money making entertainment savvy? Answer: one of the most successful film franchises in the history of the cinema. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL introduces moviegoers to the central characters and situations that would be part of the trilogy. Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) is daughter to British Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce) of Port Royal, Jamaica, yet she has a certain fascination for pirates. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is the blacksmith’s apprentice, whom Elizabeth met when she was a twelve-year-old girl making the crossing from England and Will was the sole survivor of a pirate attack, who was fortunate enough to be plucked from the sea. Famed pirate Captain Jack Sparrow arrives in Port Royal, just as Elizabeth accidentally summons a cursed pirate ship known as The Black Pearl and its equally cursed crew led by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). What follows is a game of cross and double cross as the pirates try to recover a cache of Incan gold, and lift their undead curse. While at the same time, Jack Sparrow tries to regain his captaincy and The Black Pearl from the mutinous and subsequently cursed Barbossa. And finally, Will tries to rescue the woman he loves from the pirates. The cast of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL also features Jack Davenport, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Damian O'Hare, Giles New, Angus Barnett, David Bailie, Michael Berry Jr., Isaac C. Singleton Jr. and Kevin McNally.


This is barbaric! This is no way for grown men to settle... oh, fine!
Let's just haul out our swords and start banging away at each other!
That will solve everything!
I've had it! I've had it with wobbly-legged, rum-soaked pirates!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST picks up after the events of the first film to find that no one lived happily ever after. For assisting wanted pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, Will and Elizabeth find themselves imprisoned at the hands of Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of The East India Trading Company. Although back in command of The Black Pearl, things haven’t fared any better for Captain Jack, who owes a debt and his soul to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), the otherworldly Captain of the unstoppable ghost ship The Flying Dutchman. With their futures in doubt, Captain Jack, Will and Elizabeth all find themselves at cross-purposes, but with a similar goal: each is seeking the Dead Man’s Chest that contains the still beating heart of Davy Jones, which will give anyone who possesses the heart control over Jones, The Flying Dutchman and Jones’ sea monster pet- the Kraken. The cast of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST also features Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Kevin McNally, David Bailie, Stellan Skarsgård and Naomie Harris.


Why should I sail with any of you?
Four of you have tried to kill me in the past... one of you succeeded.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END picks up the story in the wake of Captain Jack meeting his untimely demise at the tentacles and maw of the Kraken and Davy Jones falling under the control of Lord Cutler Beckett, who uses the undead captain of The Flying Dutchman to eradicate pirates and gain complete mastery over the seas. Of course, this leaves Will and Elizabeth to join forces with the resurrected Barbossa to retrieve Captain Jack from the next world, and to bring together the nine pirate lords in a last ditch effort to defeat Davy Jones and the insidious plans of Cutler Beckett. The cast of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END also features Chow Yun-Fat, Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce, Mackenzie Crook, Lee Arenberg, Kevin McNally, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hollander, Naomie Harris, David Schofield, Lauren Maher, Clive Ashborn, Winston Ellis, Christopher Adamson, David Bailie, Jonathan Linsley, Dermot Keaney and Keith Richards.


Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has made the films that comprise the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THREE MOVIE COLLECTION ($83) available on Blu-ray Disc in 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. These 1080p presentations are nothing short of stunning and represent some of the absolute best that high definition has to offer. Image sharpness, clarity, dimensionality and fine detail are all absolutely first rate- just about every frame of every movie is demonstration worthy. Across all three films, colors pop nicely, with excellent saturation and complete stability. Blacks are totally inky and whites are pure. Contrast is silky smooth and shadow detail is excellent. The elements from which all three films are transferred appear pristine. Grain is present and each film looks like film, instead of over processed video.

The films that comprise the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THREE MOVIE COLLECTION are presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel uncompressed PCM soundtracks. Like the video portion of the presentations, each film makes for sonic demonstration material. Each movie is a rollicking good adventure, with a rollicking good, highly aggressive sound design that places the viewer in the midst of a swirling avalanche of sounds. Sound effects come at the viewer from all sides and then wiz pass them to a new position- all very impressive, and a whole lot of fun. Fidelity is absolutely first rate; sound effects are true to life, while Hans Zimmer’s rousing scores have an incredible sense of presence and richness. The bass channel on all three films absolutely rocks- so you better stow those breakables. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across each of the two-disc sets. THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL comes with three running Audio Commentaries, the first is with director Gore Verbinski and actor Johnny Depp; the second features producer Jerry Bruckheimer, plus actors Keira Knightley and Jack Davenport; the third includes screenwriters Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert. The main Featurette is An Epic At Sea: The Making Of Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl. Other programs include Fly On The Set, Diaries and Moonlight Serenade Scene Progression. Deleted Scenes, multiple Image Gallery, Blooper Reel, Below Deck: An Interactive History Of Pirates and Pirates In The Parks close out the supplements.

DEAD MAN’S CHEST comes with a running Audio Commentary featuring screenwriters Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio. Documentaries and Featurettes include Charting The Return, According To Plan: The Harrowing And True Story Of Dead Man's Chest, Captain Jack: From Head To Toe, Mastering The Blade, Meet Davy Jones: Anatomy Of A Legend, Creating The Kraken, Dead Men Tell New Tales: Re-Imagineering The Attraction, Fly On The Set: The Bone Cage, Pirates On Location: Cannibal Island And Tortuga, Inside Dead Man's Chest and Pirates On Main Street: The Dead Man's Chest Premiere. Jerry Bruckheimer: A Producers Photo Diary, Bloopers Of The Caribbean, Trailers, Stills From The Set and Liar’s Dice, a BD Java Game close out the supplements.

AT WORLD'S END comes with the following Documentaries and Featurettes: Keith & the Captain: On Set With Johnny And The Rock Legend, Anatomy Of A Scene: The Maelstrom, The Tale Of The Many Jacks, The World Of Chow Yun Fat, The Pirate Maestro: The Music Of Hans Zimmer, Masters Of Design and Hoist The Colors. The interactive Inside The Brethren Court, Bloopers and Trailers close out the supplements.

With its mix of action, comedy and state of the art special effects, the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN trilogy represents three of the most entertaining and commercially successful movies in the history of pirate cinema. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Johnny Depp as your leading man and then to surround him with the likes of Geoffrey Rush, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom. As for the Blu-ray release of each film- they represent top of the line, demonstration quality high definition releases that belong in every collection. The PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THREE MOVIE COLLECTION is absolutely recommended.



Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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