South Korean gives us their take on a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’-type story with this epic tale of the high seas. Instead of Johnny Depp in heavy make-up, The Pirates features a strong female pirate protagonist and a ton of big budget antics. It has a similar mix of high action, sword fighting, and humor. The element that stood out for me was the incredible effects that rival studio films like Life of Pi. The undersea life CGI is incredibly realistic, giving the whales and sharks real world substance.
The Pirates (the title the weakest part of the movie, accurate but utterly bland), is set in the 14th century in Korea. The king gives his royal seal to found a new kingdom, but the envoy ship is attacked by a whale and the seal is swallowed. The man entrusted with the seal, eager to save his head blames a band of pirates for stealing it. He then enlists those same Pirates help to hunt down the whale. Captain Yeo-wol (Son Ye-jin), is the female pirate captain who has just ten days to find it or face the consequences. Also on the hunt is the wronged soldier turned mountain bandit Jang Sa-Jung (Kim nam-gil) and his crew of misfits. While Yeo-wol hunts the whale, she herself is hunted by the former captain she deposed.
The Pirates is an immensely fun adventure that has plenty of explosions. If you enjoyed the four Depp films this movie will be right up your alley. In fact there are moments that are quite a bit funnier and the plot is more coherent. See The Pirates in theaters this Friday, September 12th, it is better than most of this year’s summer blockbusters.
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.