Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirate’s life for me! Captain Jack Sparrow is back and this time he’s on Blu-ray. Of course, I’m speaking of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl release on Blu-ray (a two-disc set). I’d be very surprised if you haven’t already seen this movie (either in the theatre or on DVD), but just in case… there are three main storylines. Captain Jack Sparrow is on a mission to retrieve his beloved ship, the Black Pearl, which was taken from him by his first mate (Captain Barbossa) and a mutinous crew. Barbossa and the crew took the ship so that they could find and steal an ancient treasure. Ah, but the treasure is cursed and they are now on a mission to retrieve all the pieces of gold they squandered so that they can break the curse. In the course of doing so, they have captured Ms. Elizabeth Swan and taken her with them. Will Turner (a blacksmith who loves Ms. Swan) teams up with Captain Jack to find the Black Pearl and rescue the girl. That about sums it up without giving too much of the story away.
The Blu-ray Experience
If you’ve already seen the movie, then you’ll want to see it again. The Blu-ray experience of this movie is incredible. With the proper home theatre setup, you will see some of the most crisp, clear, and vibrant visuals ever. The scenery and costumes are extremely colorful… and black is truly black (not some dirty gray as in some films). The action scenes take on a whole new excitement and the sound is spectacular. You’ll be surrounded by the sounds of the sea, the explosions of battle, as well as the wonderfully fitting musical soundtrack. But that’s not all…
A Treasure of Extras
By far, this is the largest collection of extras I have ever seen provided with a movie. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl provides close to 13 hours of extra features. The only downside is that some of these extras are from the DVD release, so if you already own the DVD, the value is a bit lessened. Still, there’s plenty of additional content (including the HD movie itself) to make the Blu-ray release worthwhile.
Scoundrels of the Sea
On the first disc, you’ll find the movie itself as well as the usual commentaries, which feature the Director (Gore Verbinski), Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, and others. You’ll also find an in-movie game called Scoundrels of the Sea. Choosing this option allows you to watch the movie with pop-up comments. You select the comments that you find interesting to compile a sort-of historical documentary of pirates. At the end of the movie, you’re custom documentary will play providing quite a lot of interesting facts about the way real pirates used to live. If you’d rather not deal with the pop-ups during the movie, there is also an index provided, which lists all the information in one place. You can choose which scenes you want to view or just view them all.
Original and Lost Disc Bonus
The second disc is where most of the extra content resides including original DVD content and some additional bonus features. This disc is divided into five main sections. “An Epic At Sea” – The Making of Pirates provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was made. Subsections include: The Actors, Locations, Production Design, Ships of the Caribbean, Make-up & Wardrobe, The Art of Sword Fighting, Special Effects, and the Premiere.
“Fly On The Set” provides an even further behind-the-scenes look at what happens on the movie set as the film is being made. It’s a fun documentary type of feature that shows many of the people on the set who make the whole project possible. Subsections include: Town Attack, Tortuga, Blacksmith Shop, The Cave, Jack’s Hanging, The Dock, The Tavern, and The Plank.
The first Additional Features section (there are two of them) provides some of the more fun and interesting content. “Becoming Captain Jack” and “Becoming Barbossa” show how Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush both approached their respective characters. It’s really interesting to see them talk about their performances out of character. “Thar She Blows” shows how model ships were used to simulate the battles scenes. “The Monkey’s Name Is Jack” is one of my favorite features where Ursula Brauner shows her tricks of the trade in training Barbossa’s pet monkey. “Sneak Attack Animate” is a computer animation showing the sequence of the pirates walking under water as skeletons on their way to attack. “Pirates Around The World” provides some examples of how the film dialog sounds in a number of different languages. “Spirit Of The Ride” provides a look at Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride and how it relates to the movie. Finally, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” – The History of the Attraction shows how the Pirates of the Caribbean came to be along with cameos by Walt Disney himself.
“Deleted And Alternate Scenes” includes the material that didn’t make it into the movie, although there’s nothing very revealing here. Finally, the second Additional Features section provides eight more items including: “Diary Of A Ship,” “Diary Of A Pirate,” Producer’s Photo Diary With Jerry Bruckheimer, Blooper Reel, “Below Deck” – An Interactive History Of Pirates, “Moonlight Serenade” Scene Progression, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color, and Image Galleries.
A Pirate’s Life for Me
As you can see, this title is packed with content. Not only do you get the movie with HD-quality video and sound, but almost 13 hours of extra features that for the most part are fun and interesting. Even if you’ve seen this movie before, you’ll want to see it again in your own home theatre. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl on Blu-ray brings the thrill of the original release back again, but even better.
For more information:
* Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Blu-ray)
* Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (DVD)