Depp is brilliant; much has been made in the 'real' movie reviews of how he's somehow captured that swashbuckle that's been missing in movies, but that's not it exactly. His whole physical presence is goofily apropos -- his walk is equal parts neuro-damage Ozzy Osborne and girly-butch John Wayne; and his arms wave around him, limp-wristed, in a way that suggests both effeminacy and a desparate attempt to maintain balance. He conveys convincingly someone who is completely in the moment at all times, as though everything that happens to him is a complete surprise and a great cosmic joke. He spends the whole movie trying to regain his stolen ship, but at the same time he seems not to really care one way or another, so long as he stays alive to crack another joke and escape the noose.
Kiera Knightly is easy on the eyes, and can do an awful lot with just her left eyebrow. She is potentially quite a star, in that there's a constant appealing persona that's consistent from role to role. Orlando Bloom as the 'good guy' lead does his best in what's always the least interesting part in any Disney movie -- the hero. The movie could have only been improved by letting him in on the joke.
Visually it's a beautiful movie as well, great sets, costumes, photography. I wish they wouldn't edit the action scenes like a music video, because it takes away from really seeing what is happening, and draw attention to the stage-combat artifice by seeking to distract from it.
Geoffrey Rush is, as always, an arresting presence in the movie, and probably gets more good lines than Depp. He really sells the business about the pirate's curse in a way that's almost too naturalistic for all the camp business that goes on.
Most fun I've had at a movie this summer; worth seeing twice.