This mega-budget action epic flopped at the box office with a resounding thud, and it probably deserved that fate for not living up to its lavish potential. But Cutthroat Island has had a healthy shelf life on video, and d... more »igital video disc can only improve the film's potential as a spectacular guilty pleasure. Geena Davis plays Morgan, the swashbuckling daughter of an aging buccaneer who inherits one-third of a map to a secret pirate treasure. But the map is in Latin, and she needs a lowdown thief and scoundrel (and presumably a Latin scholar), played by Matthew Modine, to translate the map when they obtain the other two pieces. That's when the mayhem begins and the dashing duo race for the treasure against Morgan's scheming uncle (Frank Langella) and a hoard of greedy pirates. With wall-to-wall action ably handled by Davis's then-husband Renny Harlin, Cutthroat Island is more fun than its box-office performance would indicate. --Jeff Shannon« less
Christine S. from NEW FAIRFIELD, CT Reviewed on 1/4/2012...
I give this movie 3 stars. I enjoyed it very much. The host of character actors brought so much to the movie, which helped, otherwise it would have been 1 star. The special effects (explosions) gave it a lot of extra pizzazz.
Swashbuckling fun at its best!
Mr Vess | Cracow | 10/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pure joy for fans of old fashioned sea adventure and entertaining, if stereotypical, peg-legged, eye-patched pirates shouting "Arr!", this movie does not pretend to be anything else than it is - great fun based on popular legends and beliefs rather than the facts on pirate lives. And so much the better! Non-stop action, fantastic score, breathtaking sceneries and props, adequately fun script, and, yes, even good acting (to my surprise, Geena Davis actually managed to deliver a good performance!). Frank Langella is almost as good a pirate as Walter Matthau was in Roman Polanski's equally underrated pirate classic. Hearing various bad comments about the movie, I had low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that the bad reviews and comments were simply unfair. Apparently, critics these days follow one another in "their" opinions rather than actually watching the movies, and people are looking for violence and blood of "Dobermann" kind rather than simply entertaining if unrealistic movies like "Cutthroat Island" (actually, the movie seems to have been researched quite nicely - it's the first time I've seen Hollywood use actual "squad" wine bottles in a pirate movie instead of modern-shaped ones!)"
Great swashbuckling fun!
D. Roberts | Battle Creek, Michigan United States | 09/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film features everything a good pirate flick should: stormy seas, a spectacular naval battle, a sexy pirate captain (Geena Davis) and buried treasure complete with a treasure map written in latin (the preferred language of pirates). This is one of the few times I've seen Davis in a leading role; normally, she is a supporting actress. She pulls it off quite well, although in a couple of scenes her acting is a bit wooden. Frank Langella stands out as an old-salt, ruthless pirate while Matthew Modine is great as the movie's comic relief.What really makes this movie worth buying, tho, is just how well done it is. The 17th century sets are lavish - you feel as tho you are back in the period in which the movie takes place. The soundtrack is riveting, and I found the sound of the DVD quite excellent. Not sure if they did anything different than they do with other DVDs, but it sure seemed like the audio was a notch above most DVDs - esp in the storm sequence.This is the kind of movie that critics make a living off of by slamming. What does this mean for the rest of us? Why, it means that it's a fun time to be had by all! And may the movie critics goto Davy Jones locker..."
Lots of fun for a rather mediocre movie
Matthew S. Schweitzer | Columbus, OH United States | 01/09/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cutthroat Island is not a great movie by any means. But it is a lot of fun if you enjoy pirate treasure, sea battles, sword fighting, a great soundtrack, and wonderful period costumes. The script is pretty weak and much of the acting is wooden. Worse yet, it seems that no one learned anything from Errol Flynn's The Sea Hawk because they once again include a rather annoying monkey as comedy relief. But what they do right is what makes this movie worth watching. The film wonderfully recreates the 17th century Caribbean world of the pirates and is probably the most realistic looking realization of this time and place to date. The actual portrayal of the pirates themselves owes more to "Treasure Island" and "Peter Pan" than "The American Sea Rovers", but there is definately something compelling in the romantic myth of the golden age of piracy. The pirate movie has suffered in recent years and Cutthroat will probably do nothing to revive it, which is really a shame as they, like the western and sci-fi adventure, are the best incarnations of modern myth to be found today. The story revolves around the quest of Captain Morgan Adams, the sexy yet honorable pirate queen, to avenge her father's murder and outwit her evil pirate nemesis and fratricidal uncle, Captain "Dawg" (who makes these names up?). Taking command of her late father's ship and now in possession of part of a map to locate her father's lost treasure, Morgan sets out to win the vast riches for her and her hardy crew. On the way she engages the services of the roguish "Doctor" Shaw, manages to obtain the remaining pieces of the map, then goes on to brave mutinies, betrayals, storms at sea, exploding cannonballs, bad dialogue, and cliched bad guys in a worthwhle romp through an era gone by, when men and women sailed tall wooden ships, killed many people for profit, and drank themselves into oblivion on the high seas. I gave Cutthroat Island one more star than it probably really deserves simply for being a really guilty pleasure. So grab your bottle of rum and cold steel cutlass and check it out!"
One of the Best in film score history . . . .
Andres Segovia | 05/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...but widely ignored. Some have said that The Passion of the Christ established John Debney as a force to reckon with in the drama score category. What about action? The guy is only hired to do comedy and very few action films. CutThroat Island is an epic score, the only one I know John Debney has done. The film was a disaster at the box office. Had it been a success, maybe John Debney would have two oscar nominations counts instead of one.
In the single disc version, one gets about 71 minutes of music. From "Main Titles" to "end credits" John Debney keeps your ears happy and your room shaking - depending on your speakers' volume level.
The main title of the score is one that will stay in your mind for a long time. Its repeated in most of the tracks on the album and it never gets tiring. It starts off with low brass before the strings swell the music into a loud fanfare.
There are a few other themes in the album. Track 3: The Language of Romance introduces the beautiful love theme played by the flute. Another theme used three times in this album is a cue for a victorious moment. The militaristic cue is introduced at the end of track 6 and given steriods for the triumphant finale in track 18. The last track is basically a suite of the main themes of the album - as it should be. Overall, great soundtrack.
[COMPLETE SCORE REVIEW]
If 71 minutes isn't enough, not to worry. The COMPLETE SCORE was released on 2 CD late March [...]. This version contains over 2 hours of music!
The second CD contains Track 17 and 18 of the single disc version. I have never seen the movie so I didn't know how long the action sequence lasted. Tracks 17 and 18 of the single disc version are added to one very long track - over 17 minutes! - to make probably the greatest single action, epic piece ever written! Track 8 of CD 2: "The Battle/To Dawg's Ship/Morgan Battles Dawg/Dawg's Demise/The Triumph." You have to listen to this track to truly understand why I won't be able to shut up about it. The second disc also includes 5 bonus tracks, some of them are alternate versions of some of the original cues (e.g. without choir).
This is an incredible score and a must have for anyone that truly appreciates musical art. (Oscar, how did you ignore this one?) Buy it. Buy both versions. They will undoubtly be worth more in the future. You won't be disappointed! CutThroat Island is truly a masterpiece!"
A swashbuckling pirates tale!
Priscilla Stafford | Yokohama, Japan | 08/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When the piratess Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) loses her father, she becomes captain of his ship and crew. As her first act as captain, she decides to search for the treasure on Cutthroat Island. But the actual map for Cutthroat Island is in three pieces, one of which she got from her father. The other two are with her uncles, the cowardly Mordachai (George Murcell) and the evil Dawg Brown (Frank Langella). So Morgan, with the help of her crew and the somewhat untrustworthy thief, William Shaw (Matthew Modine), she sets off to take all the maps and find the treasure of Cutthroat Island.A very entertaining movie filled with action, adventure, and piracy on the high seas, "Cutthroat Island" is a pure adventure movie. The plot is pretty mediocre, allowing as much action and suspense to be put in the story. It's your typical pirate story though, pirates must find, understand, and figure out the map leading to a mysterious island with hidden treasure of unthinkable riches. But throwing in a tough, hard-bitten, and beautiful piratess was a pretty nice touch, including a thief to provide some comic relief.Geena Davis surprises me again with her talent in being able to play many different roles from a ghost in "Beetlejuice", a baseball player in "A League of Their Own", a mother full of heart in the Stuart Little movies, and now a piratess in "Cutthroat Island". She gets to give plenty of punches plus handle the cutlass with ease as she fights pirates, the military, and her uncle. She's definitely very cool! As for Matthew Modine, I had never seen him in any movies before but I found him astoundingly funny though he gets plenty of action. He in a way reminds me of Cary Elwes as Wesley in "The Princess Bride" with his sarcastic humor and boundless enthusiasm. Oh, it was also a special treat to see the young and sweet Christopher Masterson as Bowen. Though his role was small, he was excellent as a cabin boy with his obvious admiration and loyalty to his captain. He's probably more known as Chris Masterson, starring in "Dragonheart: A New Beginning" and also starring in the series, "Malcom in the Middle".So if you're in the mood for a movie with giving off lots of action, energy, suspense, and swashbuckling, make time to watch "Cutthroat Island". Rated PG-13 for the action and fighting and also for some innuendo."