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Pirates (Blu-Ray)

Studio: Digital Playground » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 2/11/08

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended

Note: This review is for the recently released Pirates: Blu-Ray, setting the stage for Digital Playground to enter the superior format after a prolonged battle that left it turning to the HD-DVD (Joone having original gone on record as a big supporter of Blu-Ray until he was shunned at every turn by replicators). Now in an upgraded 1080p version, the former Pirates HD-DVD release will have some competition as the arguably most popular release in recent years is available on all major formats. The upgrade this time looked similar to the previous release with the exception of the upgraded extras, the learning curve for the format discussed at length by Joone, Chris Thorne, and myself at the recent AEE last month. If you’d like a taste of what you can expect from the movie, here is a TRAILER you can look at to get an idea, the pictures below taken from the original a few years back.

The menu looked nearly as good as Janine and Jesse

Pirates: Collector's Edition (Blu-Ray)

Digital Playground and Adam & Eve

Genre: Feature

Director: Joone

Cast: Carmen Luvana, Kris Slater, Jesse Jane, Scott Nails, Devon, Teagan Presley, and Evan Stone, Steven St. Croix, Jenaveve Jolie, Austyn Moore, Janine, Tommy Gunn
Non-sex roles by Mando M, Nhan, Frank Bukkwyd, Brian Surewood, Harry Bali, Kerser Soze, Charmane Star, Trina Michaels, Austin Kincaid, Jolie Harris, Joshua, Sir Nik Satanas, Ted Shred, Mistress Erzerbet, Tino, Ivan, Kelli Tyler, Roach, Joseph T. Creep, Halla Valentine, Danika Sandberg, Captain Dagger, Aaron G., Malorie Christian, David H., Red Siren, William Q., Nicodermus Grimm, Little Don (Hey, I'm not little!), Doc, Durmel Deleon, Dirk Snee, Trevor, Kitty, Maisie, James Richard, Cameron Lee, Pyro, Rambin Rob, Joe Hopkins, Lexi Lamour, Dave Dimonico, Julian; others uncredited

Length: 129 minutes

Dates of Production: 4/14/2005 to 6/7/2005

Extra's: The major difference this time was that the extras were up converted to 1080p along with the movie itself, enhancing their looks a little bit more than what you would expect of a porno from 2005 shot on 720p. Okay, as far as more standardized extras go, the 19.5 minute long Behind the Scenes by King Kimo was very well made. It gave the entire leading cast a chance to discuss the movie and it added some nice replay value. There was also a very well done audio commentary with Joone (whose voice seemed processed to disguise it) and many of the cast. The main characters got a chance to discuss their roles and experiences on the set of the movie with some decent anecdotes that rival some of the better mainstream commentaries. There was a 6.5 minute long Blooper Reel, a 2 minute short that was the inspiration for the movie (it was a little short starring Evan Stone that was shot in Bora Bora during the making of Island Fever 3), a 2 minute look at the special effects, biographies for the contract gals of both companies and director Joone, a 3.5 minute long audition reel of the cast and four trailers to movies like Pirates II, Babysitters, Island Fever 4, and Pirates.

Condoms: Yes

Audio/Video Quality: Pirates Blu-Ray was presented in the same 16:9 widescreen color it was shot in by director Joone for release by the joint venture of Digital Playground and Adam & Eve. It was shot using the 720p Panasonic High Definition 24p cameras that Digital Playground has been learning on in recent times, and the results were very decent (of note this time was the up conversion of the original 720p to a full 1080p, even for the extras, using either the MPEG-4 or H264 codec for as good a picture as you will see the material in. The increased level of detail was clearly noticed over the SD version as were the contrasts, fleshtones, and other visual elements but the increased resolution also magnified the minor flaws and other visual elements that the original "HD" release confined to the relatively masked computer screen (as WMV wouldn't play in standard DVD players at the time). Still, for most of the show, the added depth and detail enhanced the fun of the original; proving better looking in this updated Blu-Ray version, the macroblocking, posterization, and grain sometimes a bit harsh for me to take in. The fleshtones looked accurate and the all important composition of the shots was handled in such a way as to enhance the look of the entire cast. The special effects using CGI were a bit on the weak side for a mainstream budget, reminding me of low budget syndicated television shows like Lost World or Conan, but this is porn and even effects like those used in some computer games are better than a painted wall with graffiti spray painted on it as is usually the case. Comparing it to another joint venture of a seafaring type starring Jenna Jameson (Conquest), Pirates absolutely wins hands down on all fronts; making the comparison as if a rowboat were fighting a battleship.

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The audio was another area where some significant attention was paid. The movie was shot using 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, and there was some real separation between the channels for the music and sound effects (though the vocals seemed solidly coming out of the center channel only). It wasn't on the level with a decent mainstream production but as high as the budget for Pirates was, it wasn't enough to allow for competition with any Johnny Depp movies coming out this summer. The dynamic range was also enhanced over most porn, and by a significant amount I might add, with the vocals clearly discernable over the well crafted soundtrack. The soundtrack seemed made for each scene too; a big change from most porn, with some care given it. The only way to improve it would probably be to record the vocals in 5.1 and specifically add sequences to better use the special audio effects. This newly remastered version did take as much advantage of the Dolby Digital + version as I think was possible but like all remastered versions, the source material proved to be the biggest limitation of the improvement so wait until the upcoming Pirates 2 comes out to see really significant improvements in the process as the camera and audio advances in the last three years have really come a long way.

Body of Review: By now, most of you out there will have heard of director Joone's latest extravaganza porno called Pirates: Collector's Edition. If not, you've been living under a rock as it has broken sales records of all sorts in the handful of weeks it has been on the shelves. The movie was made as a joint effort between the folks at Digital Playground and Adam & Eve, two of the most couple friendly companies in porn these days. This would be the virtual equivalent of Wicked Pictures combining forces with Vivid to release a blockbuster, something I don't foresee in the near future. The movie still sells so well that some distributors (in New Zealand apparently) have asked the company to postpone the sequel but while we wait for it later this year, we can see the Pirates: Blu-Ray version to relive the adventures all over again. The movie is a swashbuckling adventure that has a group of pirates attempting to uncover a source of great power as well as the forces of good that oppose them. If this sounds a little heady for a porno, let me point out that the three disc set had plenty of room for story and sex, each getting some solid screen time here. Carmen Luvana plays Isabella, a woman torn from the arms of her lover by pirates who then cast her into the ocean as they set sail for a mysterious island where their desires can be made real. Jesse Jane plays Jules, the first mate (and boy does she mate a lot!) of a pirate hunting ship, The Sea Stallion. As contract stars galore participate, the high stakes adventure sees them fighting and scheming to save the day in a movie that's going to be talked about for a long, hard, time. Here's a look at the scenes of the movie with some pictures to illustrate the scenes:

Scene One: Carmen Luvana, the blonde on the center of the front DVD cover, was up first in a scene depicting her wedding night to Kris Slater aboard a ship at seas. He went down on her as she squirmed in pleasure and she returned the favor with a short but sweet blowjob to get him extra hard. They screwed vaginally for a few minutes and he popped off on her crotch. It was a limited scene but appropriate for the story and Carmen was looking most fit.


Carmen ready to do what she does best

Scene Two: Jesse Jane, the second blonde from the left hand side on the front DVD cover, was up next in a bedroom scene with Scott Nails as she boosted his morale with "earnest worship" as Evan called it in his narration. They went down on one another with her wearing a white corset that looked good on her. They then screwed vaginally in two positions before he popped a load into her mouth. If you want to see a sweaty babe in action, Jesse is your girl. Yum!


Jesse all decked out and ready to rumble.


Janine ponders the mysteries before her about coming back out of retirement for the sequel.

Scene Three: Devon, Teagan Presley, and Evan Stone, were up next as the pirate hunters from the Sea Stallion set into the hostile port in order to get their provisions. The gals played hookers (gosh!) and while I would've liked to have seen them in a lengthier scene and/or meatier roles, they too looked good in their outfits. Granted, they looked even better out of the costumes but that goes without saying, yes? In any case, the two contract gals slobbed Evan's knob and they assisted one another with Devon getting the lion's share of cock inside her lovely pussy in this new meaning to the term "land Ho". Teagan jumped in for some PTM (pussy to mouth) claiming she wanted to "taste his massive sword" and he was most obliging of the request. The load he rubbed out wasn't huge but each gal got a bit of it to play with. For those who are new to porn, they're the gals on the far right hand side of the front DVD cover.


Teagan and Devon had smaller roles but larger breasts.

Scene Four: Jesse Jane, still looking fine as ever, was up next in a scene with weasel Steven St. Croix, having met him in the inn. She really turned up the heat here and tore into him during both the screwing of that fine pussy and the oral. The way she deep throated him showed she's been practicing at her skill and it was a very heated ride for both of them. I personally liked how she met each thrust of his by pushing back as if on fire and in need of quenching a thirst.

Scene Five: Carmen Luvana, surrounded by the mean old pirates, was bound in a chair and given the opportunity to live by engaging in a lesbian scene with the lusty and lovely Jenaveve Jolie in the seafaring version of a bachelor party. Initially resistant to the charms of the pirate gal, Carmen soon warmed up to the fun when she got some licking loving on her ample implants and couchie. It was an interesting scene in terms of the spectators alone but I thought Jenaveve did an especially good job this time.

Scene Six: Austyn Moore, a very attractive blonde able to sexually compete with any of the cast, was up with Evan Stone as the building burned down around them. She was a modern day equivalent of a badge bunny, seeing Evan as the authority figure she so craved to have. Her deal was simple, he would satisfy her sexually and she'd untie his ropes to save him. It sounded like a fair deal to me and the two did each other orally before he boned that tight pussy of hers. It ended when he jerked out a load to her mouth, and then tied her up in a safe location to go back to hunting pirates.

Scene Seven: Janine, arguably the non-sex lead of the movie as the pirate queen, was born to the role with her many tattoos adorning her fit body. Her partner was Tommy Gunn and the scene started when she demanded he go down on her or she'd slit his throat. Appreciative of her newfound lust, he gladly did so and fingered her at the same time. The upbeat tempo of the music added to the scene somewhat and she proved that years of only eating salads hadn't diminished her skill at sucking cock. She then rode him vaginally with the kind of energy many performers nearly half her age routinely fail to show, proving her worth yet again. Whew!


Janine and Tommy about to earn their pay

Scene Eight: Jesse Jane and Carmen Luvana, both looking like the perfect match for one another, were up next in a bed aboard the Sea Stallion. This reminded me of the many Marvel and DC comic pairings of the 1970's, like where Superman met Spiderman. In short, these are the two leading representatives of their respective companies (Jesse at the helm of Digital Playground and Carmen the spearhead of Adam & Eve) with a lot riding on their performance. If either one appeared to be dominated by the other, their company would lose face so each attempted to get the other off first. In the end, like all well suited matched pairings, they were what I'd call a tie for one another but it was an excellent lesbian tryst I won't forget any time soon, surpassing even the previous pairing earlier in the movie.


Looking for treasure, the pirates took a break from all the sex

Scene Nine: Carmen Luvana and Kris Slater, back together again, celebrated with a little victory nooky that utilized Carmen's recent training in the arts of satisfying a partner. Unfortunately, she was so good at it that he lasted about as long as most fans would, popping off in a couple of minutes of her hardcore riding on his cock. Still, it was a decent ending scene for her to participate in.


The undead seemed upset that they no longer had the equipment to play nice with the gals

Scene Ten: Janine and Jesse Jane, in another lesbian pairing that evoked mental images of climatic battles, showed the world that a pairing between gals of different ages could be well handled indeed. I've been fan of Janine for years due to her excellent lesbian skills and the freshness that Jesse brought to the scene enhanced that significantly. Janine stood as the dominant partner here, as if there'd be any doubt, and after some tender kissing, they really went to town. Janine fingered Jesse with a lot of passion and it looked as though they each had some long withheld desire to work together given the way they kicked up the performance to new heights. Fans of the more bizarre will also appreciate the technical DP with the candlestick stuck up Jesse's lovely behind but in fairness, I found Janine the more appealing of the two (and I've been a fan of Jesse's since day one).


The winners live to fight another day.


Off goes the fearless crew to hunt more pirates in a sequel

Summary: Pirates: Blu-Ray offered up a nice selection of attractive women having a variety of sexual practices that fans will be able to enjoy in many ways but also a story that was fun to watch unfold. While some of the acting was as bad as expected, the fun factor of the story never got in the way of the heated action (in and out of the bedroom) and the admittedly funny special effects added a campy sense of fun too. If this is what we get when two powerhouse companies get together, I'd like to see more of it in the future; as would others if you believe the sales figures reported to date. The technical qualities were very high end and the Blu-Ray version of the movie really looked good compared to the SD version but it was ultimately the ladies of the show that made it the eye candy it was. How often do you see five contract gals in a single movie, especially a movie of this caliber? I'm going to rate this as a Highly Recommended for all it had to offer a fan on so many levels, I just hope the bar wasn't set too high for other companies that may just give in. Had the extras been updated significantly, I might have considered keeping the higher rating but even the original might not have made it that high given two years of progress has taken place since the movie came out in 2005. In short, Pirates was the kind of movie that crosses over the mainstream threshold better than almost any of the 13,000 porn releases every year and offers a great ride all around. Lastly, the Blu-Ray version had enough resolution to display all the flaws magnified too so don’t expect it to look state of the art compared to the sequel coming out in September.

You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon

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