HTF UMD REVIEW: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by David Galindo, May 27, 2005.

  1. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

    Mar 30, 2003
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    [c]Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (UMD)
    Region 1 • PG-13 • Subtitles: English • Available Now


    Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the first UMDs to pass the 100,000 total sales mark within two months, along with Resident Evil: Apocalypse. And with good reason- it’s a fun movie, but unfortunately average UMD quality.

    Thoughts on the Movie

    There is an unwritten rule that states each adolescent child should be given the experience to go to Disneyland at least once before they turn 16. Disneyworld is preferred.

    I was lucky enough to go to Disneyworld back in the day, though it’s funny…the only thing I remember vividly is waiting in line. Seriously. And the line I remember waiting in most was for Pirates of the Caribbean, because there were two lines: one that took you directly to the ride (for handicapped people) and one that would stretch, oh, maybe half a mile or so. They try to make it seem smaller by making it turn and zig zag and curve around stuff, but even I knew that we were going to have to wait for quite a while. I also remember being very jealous of all the handicapped kids that would wait about ten seconds before getting to ride, while I had about forty-five minutes to go. That said, I have no memory of actually riding Pirates of the Caribbean, although I’m pretty sure we did eventually get on and enjoyed it for the two minutes it lasted.

    Now that I think about it, maybe that unwritten rule should stay unwritten.

    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is based on the ride, and is much more enjoyable than I expected (Bruckheimer is one busy guy, eh?). I think the one indisputable fact in the film is that Johnny Depp, as Captain Jack Sparrow, carries this film to the finish line. I have never seen a person like Sparrow, and probably never will again (aside from the sequel). He is so bizarre, so…odd…that you could just watch him talk for hours and not be bored. His mannerisms seem…jeez, I can’t even explain it. The introduction to Jack was hilarious in itself, and gets the biggest laugh in the movie. Depp is fantastic in this film.

    The other actors are mostly throwaway. They all do their jobs well, especially Keira Knightly, who made 11th in Maxim’s hottest women list. Special thanks to my friend Alex Carpenter and his huge pile of Maxim magazines in his apartment who contributed that fact in this review.

    This is a fun movie, one that I would definitely like to see again, and it’s no wonder why it sold so many copies on UMD: it’s a great action flick. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    Video Quality

    There is something I would like to establish here: no matter how good the UMD video quality is, it will never achieve a perfect score unless it’s the original aspect ratio. Period.

    Not only is Pirates of the Caribbean not in it’s original 2.35 ratio, but there is absolutely no warnings that it was cropped to fill the PSP screen. Even movies formatted for TV have a disclaimer that “This movie was formatted to fit your screen.” Had I not looked it up, I would have assumed that it was the correct ratio for the movie (a mistake I made with National Treasure).

    Aside from all that, this transfer looks sharp and colorful. The black levels are much better than National Treasure, though still a ways from perfect. The three enemies of video compression (smoke, fire and water) show no digital artifacts and looks great, which is good since there’s plenty of each. Overall, a better transfer than National Treasure.


    Audio Quality

    Everything sounds nice and full here. The guns and cannons have some great impact and positional audio, and the soundtrack sounds good, although a bit soft (though that seems to be more at fault with the soundtrack mix than the UMD). I could have used a bit more volume in all (like Kill Bill) but it still sounds great and loud enough. Use those headphones!




    I guess you can blame that on the length of the movie (almost 2 ½ hours), but at least we get some good menus, an insert in the case, and a chapter selection, which is worth a point. We also get two forced trailers in the beginning (sigh), one for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and one for National Treasure. I find it interesting that the trailer for National Treasure looks better than the actual UMD transfer of the same movie…very interesting indeed.

    Still, I wish we could have something here. Even a trailer for Pirates would have been nice. Surely there was something they could have brought over from the DVD. At least the movie itself is enjoyable enough to watch a couple more times.



    This was my first time watching this movie, and I really had a lot of fun. It was pure swashbuckling, sure, but at least it brought something new to the table (Depp).

    The UMD itself could have been better, though. It’s an average UMD treatment to a pretty above average film.

  2. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

    Sep 6, 1998
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    Here here. [​IMG]

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