Rating: Not Rated
Angus Macfadyen as Blackbeard
Mark Umbers as Lt. Robert Maynard
Richard Chamberlain as Governor Charles Eden
Jessica Chastain as Charlotte Ormand
Stacy Keach as Cpt. Benjamin Hornigold
Rachel Ward as Sally Dunbar
Anthony Green as Israel Hands
Danny Midwinter as Elias Ransom
Bill Fellows as Dr. Peter Bruce
Jasper Britton as William Howard
Jake Curran as Joseph Prescott
Robert Willox as Snake Leavitt
Patrick Regis as Thatch
Alan Shearman as Enoch Sanborn
Niko Nicotera as Moses Hobbs
Bonus Features with Cast and Crew
Running Time: 169 Minutes
The following is from the DVD cover:
“In the Golden Age of Piracy, at the dawn of the 18th century, Blackbeard stood out among the lawless rogues as the most fearsome and notorious seafarer of them all. He killed for the reputation, and his reputation has become legend. Now, for the first time, comes the true story of pirate Edward Teach, the man who terrorized the seas.”
“Blackbeard” is not rated.
Let’s face it, the only reason “Blackbeard” was made was to cash in on the buccaneer hype generated by “Pirates of the Caribbean.” And for what it was attempting to do, Blackbeard does it well. The film features beautiful Caribbean locations, impressive pirate ships, cool swordfights, and a good actor playing Blackbeard. It captures much of the look and feel of the Pirates films. For a TV movie, it’s decent. That being said, though, it really highlights what made the Disney films so good.
First of all, “Pirates of the Caribbean” has better actors and better characters. Johnny Depp and Angus Macfadyen are on two completely different levels. The same goes for Mark Umbers and Jessica Chastain who lack both charisma and chemistry of Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom. It doesn’t help that the movie tries to create a romance between Blackbeard and Chastain’s character. It was totally unbelievable, even more than ghost pirates and sea monsters. “Blackbeard” also drags its story out well beyond what was necessary. The pacing would have been much better in a 2 hour film instead of a miniseries. Finally, the music in “Blackbeard” is absolutely atrocious. It’s just as bad as any cheap TV score you might hear, but is even worse because it tries to copy the Pirates score. The result is a cheap imitation.
Angus Macfadyen, playing Blackbeard, is about the only high point among the cast. He’s ruthless, cunning, and psychotic. He’s a very effective bad guy. Everyone else is utterly forgettable or replaceable, even with cameo appearances by Richard Chamberlain, Stacy Keach, and Rachel Ward.
If you’re into pirate movies, you might find “Blackbeard” worth checking out. However, don’t expect this to be a historical drama. It appears that a lot of license was taken with the historical facts.
There are a few bonus features included on the DVD, but they are extremely short. The longest is maybe 3 minutes long. One features Jessica Chastain talking about learning to shoot in the film. Another features Richard Chamberlain discussing his role. Yet another features the cast talking in general about the character of Blackbeard and the film itself.