The Tom of 2003 thought Pirates of the Caribbean was the coolest film ever made. He rented it from Blockbuster – one of the first DVD rentals our family made – and picked up this really annoying Jack Sparrow-esque flamboyance where everything he said was emphasised by limp hands and a pseudo-sunstroked wobble, like an Italian with Parkinson’s. He put on eyeliner with the help of some friends, and spend afternoons on the trampoline practising the Jack Sparrow swan dive – the one where your hands sort of flail around in the air on the way down.
Fourteen years later, though I don’t want to be like Johnny Depp any more, I still can’t watch The Curse of the Black Pearl without this stupid childish grin spreading across my face as I chuckle along at Captain Jack’s familiar misadventures.
Without sounding like somebody trying to rationalise their enduring love of a childhood movie (especially one that is considered one of the best of all time – why would I even bother?), I think it’s just that these are the sorts of films you normally grow out of. I’m looking at you, Michael Bay. Pirates, cowboys, superheroes… These topics are so generic as to be well-executed only by those who want to subvert the genre.
Pirates feels like a story first laid out by a grandfather at a bedside – wildly adventurous, light on real story but with the illusion of a deep mythology, full of magnificent set pieces and zany characters whose names have gone down in history. At the jaded age of 25, it’s nice to know that films like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl can make me feel like that again.