YMMV / Cutthroat Island

  • Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack is probably John Debney's best as well as one of the top modern swashbuckling film scores - or just top film scores, period. A number of veteran film score collectors consider it even superior to the music from Pirates of the Caribbean. To note how those notions translated to objective success, Debney was just about the only participant in the film whose career actually benefitted from working on it - he remains a prolific, in-demand composer to this day.
  • Complete Monster: Douglas "Dawg" Brown is the Black Sheep of the Adams pirate brothers and the captain of the ship Reaper. Each of the four brothers has a piece of a map to a fabulous treasure and Dawg wants it all to himself. The first thing we learn about him is he murdered one brother and has another hostage to murder after he gets his piece of the map. When his brother gives his map to his daughter Morgan, Dawg stops at nothing to kill his niece. He attacks his last brother Mordecai and threatens to run him through if Mordecai doesn't give up the map. When a luckless mook accidentally falls into Mordecai and impales him on Dawg's knife, Dawg kills the man growling that he killed Dawg's brother, though he's only angry Mordecai died before Dawg got the map. He tries to torture Morgan by trying to let an eel eat her face, guns down a crewman when the man complains they're running out of food and stops at no crime short of trying to steal the treasure from Cutthroat Island.
  • Critical Backlash: Cutthroat Island is one of the biggest box office bombs ever and the film credited with the sinking of the pirate flick genre, so it is natural that many people who have watched the film consider it at least not as bad as to deserve such a dishonor. In fact, there are quite a few who have come to believe it's actually a genuinely good movie regardless of the economic mismanagement and production troubles that led to its failure. Roger Ebert of all people was among those; at the very time of the film, while most professional critics were panning it, he gave it three out of four stars, the same number he would give years later to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  • Narm:
    Morgan: Bad Dawg.
    • The overly glorious and over-the-top music, especially those moments featuring Ominous Latin Chanting or some variant thereof, makes the comparatively mundane onscreen events seem almost parodic. Spoony, in particular, argued it.
    • Geena Davis's performance. As Lindsey Ellis puts it, she comes across less as "bloodthirsty pirate queen", more as "cool aunt taking some kids to an R-rated movie."
  • Narm Charm: Even at its worst, the film is not difficult to enjoy. Its corny and sometimes weird dialogue, its magnificent and almost literally too good soundtrack, and the mix of acting glee and spirited incompetence by the cast all together can be rather endearing.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Watching the film without any of its historical background in mind can easily give the impression that it's just a small step away from being a legitimately decent movie. Everything — the action, the humour, the dialogue, the romance, the characters — are generally okay, sometimes even good, but they carry something that make them seem just a bit... off. It might be the subtext of its Troubled Production, the inexperience of some cast members, or simply that the genre Cutthroat Island buried was certainly dying by itself and it didn't translate well to the cinema style of The '90s.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Both the My Year Of Flops review and The Nostalgia Chick review credit Frank Langella for trying his best to save the movie despite a conspicuous lack of effort from everyone else. Of course, to hear Langella tell it, he wasn't trying to save the movie... he was just having a fantastic time playing pirates.
  • Vindicated by History: To a degree. While definitely not a Cult Classic, the movie has its fans today, and it's believed that it might have failed precisely because the audience of the time wasn't willing to accept a strong female action Anti-Hero.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/CutthroatIsland