I remember being in Disneyland with the whole fam the day this movie came out and my Dad decided we should drop by the Downtown Disney AMC and see it (it doesn’t take much convincing to get him into a theater). I hadn’t been overly impressed by the trailers, but I had just been on the ride, so it seemed as good a time as any to check it out. And I have to say, the energy of that audience was electric. I have never experienced anything like it (outside of a midnight showing for a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movie). There was gasping, cheering, laughter and when the screen went black, there was actual honest-to-goodness applause. It was amazing. I left that theater feeling like I had been a part of something awesome.

However, I also left the theater feeling really confused. TCofBP‘s plot is more than just a little convoluted, and it took several more viewings plus a lengthy explanation/play-by-play from my siblings for things to finally become clear. So, I am going to try to keep my synopsis short and simple and hope I make sense.

Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) is the daughter of the Governor of Port Royal, and a bit of a pirate fangirl. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) is a blacksmith’s apprentice (who actually does all of his master’s work) and has a thing for Miss Swann. When Elizabeth falls into the sea from a corset-induced fainting spell, the gold medallion she’s wearing (that originally belonged to Will) sends out a signal to a ship of cursed pirates who come a-calling. Meanwhile, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), former captain of the cursed crew, has arrived in Port Royal searching for a ship and revenge on his traitorous first mate (Geoffrey Rush). When the pirates kidnap Elizabeth, Will teams up with Jack to get her back.

There. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Johnny is positively inspired here (and deservedly received his first Oscar nom). Captain Jack is one of the coolest characters to swagger across a movie screen, ever. Keira hadn’t done much before this (unless you’re a Bend It Like Beckham fan), but Pirates of the Caribbean catapulted her onto the A-list. Orlando does some of his best acting, but let’s be honest, he’s pretty much here for his looks and not much else. Geoffrey relishes the part of nasty Barbossa and it’s no wonder that he came back to play the part three more times.

The music is perfect–a consummate pirate theme. The costumes are sumptuous (I got to touch Johnny Depp’s actual costume and almost died right then…but that’s another story), the sets are mindblowing and the swordfights are epic. My only quibble (aside from the confusing plot) is the excessive gore. These are Disney movies, people! Can I take my Grandma to see it? No, no I can’t.

In honor of Jack’s beloved ship, here is Wet ‘n’ Wild Fantasy Maker’s Black Pearl. The name is misleading, because this is a straight up black creme. Nothing pearly about it. What makes it special, though, is it’s amazing formula. One coat! And it also dries pretty fast, making it my go-to petticoat polish. ~K