Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Detroit Free Press:
The most entertaining amusement of a summer divided between spectacles that force you to exercise your brain and spectacles that seem to suck the brain right out of your head.
Pirates of the Caribbean is fun -- but only as long as you don't expect much.
New York Times:
The movie is better than it deserves to be, given its origins: a ride at Disneyland and Disney World.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com),
One of the few must-see films of this summer.
Pirates of the Caribbean may have taken its nutso inspiration from a theme-park ride. But it has become, without a doubt, its own wild ride.
Pirates steams ahead on a mirthless course of script beats and busy action sequences, coldly steered by director Gore Verbinski to the boom-blast-blare coordinates of producing commodore Jerry Bruckheimer.
Dallas Morning News:
If you're weary of summer movies that play like extended MTV videos, you'll luxuriate in Mr. Verbinski's purely cinematic technique.
Pirates of the Caribbean has a smart script, an attractive cast, some very creative violence and romance to boot.
Here -- in a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced high-seas adventure that incorporates roaring cannons, oddball comedy, a love story and more than a touch of the supernatural -- Depp unleashes his theatrical bravado. He's hilarious.
New York Daily News:
While the plot and action are all deliberately familiar, director Gore Verbinski steers a continual course for sheer, mindless, rope-swinging, crow's-nest-hollering summer fun.
New York Observer:
Pirates reminds me of a vintage MGM musical, a movie that is more choreographed than directed, and one that serves up good clean fun of the PG-13 variety.
Swashbuckling adventures are few and far between these days, so it's a pleasant surprise to see one that is competently made.
An awkward pirate epic that's jampacked with energy, ambition and spectacular effects.
At, say, 85 minutes, this would have been a jolly little swashbuckler, but at 143 it turns into an unholy trial.
Globe and Mail:
Forget the film and check out [Depp], because there's a superlative to be witnessed here: This has gotta rank among the weirdest performances in the zany annals of the silver screen.
There is much by way of noise, computer-generated action, big sets and breezy laughs, and practically nothing to intrude on your thought processes afterwards.
The picture moves so swiftly in its first hour that one wonders if the energy can be sustained. But the crew has more surprises in store.
Depp invests this overfed, action-tractioned swashbuckler with a voluptuous wit and spry spontaneity it surely doesn't deserve.
Pirates will enthrall kids and amuse adults. Its only failing is that at 2 hours and 15 minutes, it's about 20 minutes too long.
The picture's constant forward movement and breezy sense of amusement about itself provide a certain mild sort of diversion.