Review: Roman Polanski’s Pirates

Rating: ★★★★★
I think this is the single most under-rated pirate movie of all time. I’ve read review after review that criticizes it, claiming it’s too slow, too silly, too lacking in plot, etc, etc. Heck, one reviewer even rates it the same as that true disaster, Cutthroat Island.

So let me set the record straight – this is an absolutely gorgeous, terribly fantastic movie. The costumes are phenominal, as are the sets, the acting, and the writing. The story itself revolves around Captain Redd, a down-on-his-luck pirate adrift on a raft with his first mate, the Frog. Vulgar, crude, greedy, and scheming, Captain Redd is a walking cliché who shows us why the cliché became a cliché in the first place, capable of shouting such catchphrases as “me hearties” and “by thunder” with ease and gusto. Rescued by the Spanish Galleon, Neptune, Redd and Frog soon grow weary of the ill-treatment they’re forced to endure at the hands of the ship’s First Officer, Don Alfonso. A pompous peacock of a man, Don Alfonso soon suffers a humiliating defeat when Captain Redd convinces the crew to mutiny and turn to a life of piracy. Control of the ship then changes hands a few more times throughout the Caribbean as Captain Redd and Don Alfonso repeatedly butt heads and take it in turns to reseize the Neptune and, more importanly, its precious cargo of a golden Aztec throne.

And that pretty much sums it up. While it may not sound like much of a plot, it’s not the journey that’s important here, it’s the ride. The action is wonderful, the dialogue a joy. Overflowing with wit, adventure, and daring, this isn’t so much a movie as a slice in the life of two pirates, and a juicy slice at that. It ends virtually as it began, and in the middle Captain Redd and the Frog try to survive and get rich. Anything further would merely serve as clutter and detract from an absolutely fantastic pirate film.

Comments (2)

  1. Capt'n Bing

    I just wanted to say thanks!!! I love this movie and have rarely heard good things about it,which I truly do not understand as I feel it may just be the best Pirate movie of all time!!! Long Live Capt’n Red!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Huzah!!!!!!!!!!
    B.

  2. Milo T Bushwack

    Fans can vote for a DVD release of this film at TCM.

    http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=24742

    Same for Heston’s Treasure Island.

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