26 May

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

“You shall always remember this as the day that you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!”

– Captain Jack Sparrow (multiple times)


The Setup

Summertime! The time for blockbuster sequels, remakes, or extensions of cinematic universes. We have our eyes on the summer release schedule, and over the next few posts, we will be focusing on some of the movies that relate to these upcoming movies. With Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales first up on the horizon, we knew it was time to revisit the original Pirates of the Caribbean, and what better way to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl than with some rum?

The Food

By some rum, of course, we mean a lot of rum. Every dish we made was not only perhaps tangentially Caribbean-inspired but also contained a good amount of rum. We started off with honey-rum baked black beans, which included a mix of honey, brown sugar, and molasses with spicy dried chorizo and a generous helping of dark rum. The result was a gooey, sweet-savory baked bean dish we couldn’t get enough of. Think pork and beans but better. And when the flavor of the dried chorizo cuts through the sweetness you are in for a good time.

Dinner was an attempt to recreate the Smokin’ Thighs sandwich from Seattle’s perhaps best-known Caribbean sandwich shop, Paseo. We marinated chicken thighs in oil, sugar, spices, and, of course, rum, cooked them in a skillet, and served them up on a baguette with a garlic mayo, caramelized onions, jalapeño and a romaine leaf. They were every bit as tasty (and messy) as Paseo’s Smokin’ Thighs, and we would have all been content to be marooned on an island with bellies full of this sandwich surely allowing us to survive for a couple days.

For dessert, we took some inspiration from Bananas Foster and made caramelized plantains, stuffed with cinnamon sticks and soaked in – you guessed it – rum. None of us had eaten plantains in a while and were surprised by how fibrous and starchy they were. We may not have had the absolute ripest plantains for the recipe, but we felt they were pretty close. The caramelization added a bit of sweetness to it, but it was not overpoweringly sweet in the same way Bananas Foster can be.

The Drinks

We had ingested a good amount of rum already at this point, but because “it is a vile drink that turns even the most respectable men into complete scoundrels” and we were watching a Pirates of the Caribbean film, we doubled down and had a Dark and Stormy to go with the meal. A perfectly named drink for what is seemingly always surrounding the Black Pearl, a Dark and Stormy uses a dark rum, Bundaberg ginger beer and a splash of lime. We’re big fans. For those of you who prefer dark liquors, try a Dark and Stormy next time you’re thinking about getting a Moscow Mule. A high-quality rum can add a lot more depth of flavor to a ginger beer cocktail than most vodkas.

The Rules

🎢  Drink when the movie calls back to the original Disneyland ride.

🙊  Drink when you see the monkey.

☠️  Drink when someone changes to their skeleton form.

The Movie

For whatever reason, we remember Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, as an influential movie. You probably do too. Reading this, I’m sure you’re thinking back on when you first saw the movie and how it swept the nation. Revisiting it years later, we’re not quite sure it deserves the attention it got.

Before your heckles go up, let us just say that Pirates is a fun ride (no pun intended) and we had a lot of fun watching it. We’re not saying it’s a bad movie! We’re just saying if you rewatch it, you’ll probably agree it wasn’t thaaaaat great.

Worst of all, it’s longWe at Munch have no patience whatsoever with movies that last over two hours, and nothat has nothing to do with the fact that we usually start Munch days (and Munch drinks) around 1:00 or 2:00. We live in the Golden Age of Television and we know you can tell a damn good story in an hour. If you’re going to take up two and a half hours of our time you better damn well be worth it because we could have watched three Fargo episodes or half a season of Master of None (Season 2 is really good btw) in that time. Pirates of the Caribbean does not respect your time.

It dwells too long on the worst Disney romance since National Treasure. Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner have absolutely no chemistry but Pirates forces you to watch them struggle through flirtations and stare at each other throughout the movie, even in the middle of fight scenes, killing all momentum. We didn’t need it.

The characters also bounce around so much, that at points it feels like Pirates is just trying to fill out time. Did we need to spend 10 minutes watching Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan get marooned, then get drunk on rum, then get off the island and back into the action? Probably not.

We might forgive dalliances like these if they lead to great comedy but unfortunately, there was really only one joke in the movie – or rather, one joke structure. It goes something like this. One character says a line that isn’t funny (“Why is all the rum gone?”). Then another character says something that isn’t funny (“because it is a vile drink that turns even the most respectable men into complete scoundrels”). Finally, the first character will say the same line again for comedic effect (“But why is all the rum gone?”). Sometimes they’ll switch up the structure where one character says a line (“You are without a doubt the worst pirate I’ve ever heard of”) and then another character repeats back to them part of the same line for comedic effect (“But you have heard of me”). They do this throughout the movie: practically every line in the movie is repeated at least once.

The real joke is on the audience though: if you cut all the lines characters repeated this would be an hour-and-fifteen-minute movie instead of a two-and-a-half-hour movie. It didn’t help that these lines have been beaten into the ground with merchandise and an over-reliance on the character of Jack Sparrow.

Despite all that, Pirates is still a movie worth watching at least once. First of all, it’s about pirates, which is a cool enough set up for a movie in its own right. If that wasn’t enough, it explores pirate mythology and turns those myths into a really interesting story. The special effects have held up fairly well for a movie from the early 2000s. It’s not as good as what Disney puts out now, of course, but compared to the previous year’s Clone Wars, the CGI looks quite realistic. And finally, it’s hard to deny that it is a fun movie. The “repetition joke” gets old eventually, but Pirates did manage to get a few chuckles out of us at first. So, if you haven’t watched it, you should probably go watch it. If you have, well, you know better than us if you think it’s worth rewatching or not. Up to you.

The Reviews

André: On a scale of It’s a Small World to Space Mountain, it’s… Well, it’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Like the ride, it’s certainly not the best Disney has to offer, but it’s still a Disney property and the Disney quality bar is quite high. Pirates of the Caribbean was certainly well produced and hit the right balance of comedy and action that every summer movie aspires to. The setting is inherently cool and the added layer of pirate mythology makes it interesting and sets Pirates apart from your expected summer fair. That being said, it never reaches heights, in action, comedy, or story, which give it a strong lasting appeal. While I didn’t dislike my time with Pirates, I have a limited amount of time to spend on movies, and I don’t see myself giving this series any more of it.

Leanna: The rum is gone because I needed it to get through this film. I was really excited to watch this movie because I remember being so enamored with the series when it first premiered. I loved the soundtrack (and still do), I loved Orlando Bloom as Will Turner (not sure why now), and I even though Johnny Depp was pretty hilarious (nope, not anymore). The pirates lore and the mysteries and tales that surround the plot in this movie, however, were enough to still suck me back in again. Even though I know that they won’t be good, I still kind of want to watch the other two movies in the series, but you’d have to pay me to watch the newest film.

Ben: 70%. Ahhh, Pirates of the Caribbean, I remember you so fondly and everything you had to offer, and after all of this time you feel a like a quaint little thing that has been ruined by the entries of movies that came after you. Add on to that the character Johnny Depp portrayed, as well as the fact that it was portrayed by Johnny Depp, feels played out and trite. Here at Munch, we rarely watch films as they are released so our commentary is about how the landscape around a film has changed and the effect that has had on the film itself. And time hasn’t necessarily been kind to Pirates. In no way am I saying that this is a bad film, just there have to be at least a dozen films you should watch before you sit down for the ride that is this film. Pirates of the Caribbean has its moments but in the end is probably best left for a deserted island when there isn’t much else around.