Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)

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Early promotional poster for Curse of the Black Pearl, before Disney decided to abandon the anti-Spaniard angle.

Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy adventure films produced by Disney. Set in the late 17th century Caribbean — in an era known to be the golden age of pirates, sea battles, magical artifacts, giant ocean monsters, and cursed squid people — the films follow the adventures of part-comic relief part-badass Captain Jack Sparrow, eunuch Will Turner, kisser-of-death Elizabeth Swann, and a large host of other colorful characters, most of whom are there for comic relief and not much else.

The series is made up of four films, with two more in the works. While many fans and critics would argue the series has been stretched one or two (or even three) movies too long, Pirates of the Caribbean nevertheless remains the fifth highest-grossing film series of all-time, earning a pile of cash marginally larger than America's debt crisis.

Cast and characters[edit]

Mateys[edit]

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  • Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) – The main star of the films is Jack Sparrow, a charming, cunning pirate with nice dreadlocks and a goatee to match. He is capable of getting out of any dangerous situation — which is surprising, since he spends more time acting silly and spouting funny lines than he does actually trying to escape. Sparrow was originally captain of the infamous Black Pearl pirate ship; however, after he won the pirate lottery and did not share any of the winnings with his crew, he was thrown overboard and left on an island full of pygmies. He escaped by roping some sea turtles and jetskiing his way into the first film.
  • Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) – A eunuch and blacksmith's apprentice working in Port Royal, Jamaica, who is desperately at search for his father Buffalo Bootstrap Bill Turner. He makes a bargain with Jack to help him save Elizabeth from the cursed crew of the Black Pearl, in return releasing Jack from prison. After that, Will does little for the rest of the trilogy except stand around conveniently to move the story along. In the midst of a fight, Will proposes to Elizabeth to get married, which they did with a little help from Barbossa. During the fight, Will gets killed by Davy Jones, but comes back to life and ironically becomes the new owner of the Flying Dutchman. Conviently, all the crewmates including his father were eunuchs, prompting Will to rename the ship to the Frying Eunuchmen.
  • Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) – Although Elizabeth seems sweet at first glance, beneath the exterior, she is a spawn of Satan, as every man she has kissed in the series has died. Not to mention she dislikes wearing her father's corsets, has no clue about being a pirate, and thinks she can get anything she wants through the use of Parley. Later in the series, she gets married to Will and they somehow have sex, despite the fact Will is a eunuch. Ten years on, Will returned from escorting Chinese tourists across the ocean to Disneyland; he found Elizabeth and their son waiting for him.
  • Admiral James Norrinton (Jack Davenport) – The local law goody goody, James is a strict, by-the-books man with a deep voice, no sense of humor, and a tendency to walk around glaring at everybody. He constantly jumps back and forth between the pirates' side and the Royal Navy's side, until the third film where he finally settles on the pirates' side and frees Elizabeth and some Chinese tourists from the brig of the Frying Dutchman. Unfortunately, after being smooched by Elizabeth in exchange for rescuing her, Norrington is cornered by Bootstrap Bill and stabbed to death.
  • Governor Weatherman Swann (Jonathan Pryce) – The governor of the port, Swann is the father of Elizabeth, although he regretted having her at first when her mother died at childbirth. He likes wearing a judge's wig to keep his head warm and also likes torturing his daughter by making her wear suffocating corsets and locking her in ship cabins. He becomes the slave of Cutler Beckett and later is killed by Mercer by pushing him off a longboat.
  • Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) – The sometimes-captain of the Black Pearl who laughs a lot, pronounces "are" as "aarggghhh", has great taste in fashion, and has a pet monkey named Jack. In the first film, Barbossa appears as the undead captain of the Black Pearl, who kidnaps Elizabeth as she has the gold coin that can reverse the curse. Jack (not the monkey) saves Elizabeth and shoots Barbossa dead; however, Barbossa was later revived by a voodoo lady and hid in her shack for the entire second film, before reappearing in the third film to do some more laughing. Now a good guy, Barbossa reluctantly teamed up with Eunuch and Death-Kisser to save Jack (not the monkey) from Davy Jones' Locker. He argued a lot with Jack (not the monkey) and helped fight in the final battle against Davy Jones and Cutler Beckett, then stole the Black Pearl back from Jack (not the monkey) and did some more laughing.

Mutineers[edit]

  • Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) — The main antagonist of the series and head of the evil organization known as the East India Trading Company, also known as SPECTRE. He is a psychopathic, bisexual, tyrant with sadistic and narcissistic tendencies. His goal over the course of the films is to gain control of the Flying Dutchmen and rid the seas of pirates. Among Beckett's many evil deeds are crashing Will and Elizabeth's wedding, mentally and physically scarring Jack Sparrow, and allegedly giving up rum in favor of sherry.
  • Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) – An evil, sadistic control freak with a beard of tentacles, no redeeming social graces, and worst of all, a Scottish accent. He is the main antagonist of the second film but the third he is demoted to the role of Beckett's bitch. Jones is the captain of the hellish mythical ship known as the Flying Dutchman. He descended into emoism after Calypso, the Goddess of the Sea stood him up on their first date. He took it quite hard, cutting out his heart and dedicating the rest of his immortal life to wreaking pain and suffering.
  • Pintel and Ragetti (Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook) – Two bumbling pirates, the latter of which used to star in The Office alongside Ricky Gervais. Also known as Pinhead and Raegae, these two worked with Barbossa, then Jack Sparrow, then Barbossa again. The two are Blingmeisters and rule the world. Pintel likes snarling a lot and displays his teeth. The chap could use a good dentist. Ragetti has a wooden eye which is later replaced by an eyepatch to at least reference to some pirate cliche things.

Setting[edit]

Much of the series takes place on Port Royal, a dull and kind of boring harbor in the middle of the Caribbean. Founded in 1492, the port is under the very watchful eyes of Governor Weatherby Swann, who likes to wear a wig just to keep his head warm. The port is protected by a ridiculously weak fort (built from reinforced cardboard, by the looks of it), with an army of even more ridiculously useless and queer foot soldiers who just stand around wielding rubbish guns. They don't do much, besides look stoned, and dying. The head of the army is Commodore James Noddingofftodreamland, who has a deep voice, no sense of humor, and a cool sword made by the eunuch blacksmith.

Ships also play an important role in the series. The Black Pearl is Barbosa's Jack Sparrow's Barbosa's ship, which has gone through more owners than you can count. The Flying Dutchman is the kickass ship that belongs to Davy Jones and his crew of freaky fish guys, which despite its name, does not fly and was actually not made by the Dutch. Thanks to Calypso ditching Davy Jones, he got angry and cursed his ship, turning it into a nightclub for brainless sea creatures.

Production[edit]

Originally based on a theme park ride, the first film's initial script (written in the 1990s) was rejected by Disney. Then, in 2002, it was heavily re-edited, splashed with beer, set alight and then flushed down a toilet. Once the script was pieced back together, it was rewritten into a romp about a bunch of drunkard, gun-toting jolly rogers who were following a ship full of undead gangsters to find a chest full of cheap bottle caps painted to look like cursed dubloons. Disney loved the idea, and it was released the next year.

After the unexpected success of the first film, the cast and crew signed for another two adventures. Because as we know, everything nowadays has to have a sequel or two. With a set cast, the writers knew they would not be able to create totally new characters and situations, so they settled on continuing on the story that the first movie left off. They wanted to explore some of the possible complications that would arise from the previous film's various sub-plots, as well introducing some new elements to the story. In the end, they settled on replacing the undead pirates with squid pirates, made the battles from the last movie even more outlandish, and left it at that.

In a surprise move, Disney released a fourth film in the franchise, in 2011. It deviated from the earlier movies in that it stood as its own movie, introduced a skew of new characters, and didn't have any originality at all. An upcoming fifth film is set to be released in 2017 (they are really milking this for all it's worth, aren't they?).