Pirates of the Caribbean

The complete franchise guide!

Skip to #WhatWeLearntFrom

Is there any more to the Pirates of the Caribbean than swashbuckling and a typical Disney adventure?

This particular franchise has the backwards history of starting out as an amusement park ride at Walt Disney before transforming into a blockbuster adventure in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. That didn’t stop it from becoming the third best performing film of 2003 beating The Matrix Reloaded, Bruce Almighty and X-men 2 at the box office, behind Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Finding Nemo and shows that whatever the origin, content is king.

When comparing the stats, the first film has the most chases with a franchise record of 7, over a franchise average of just 4. Flame explosions follows a similar trend with the first film scoring 35, when the franchise average is a more down to earth 11. These stats underline The Curse of the Black Pearl as the real flagship (pardon the pun) film providing almost constant excitement with action coming from all angles. The later three films provide a letdown in this respect, partly due to a larger focus on character with all characters in Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End appearing consistently moody and alone at least once in each film. These two films also have the weight of one story which has been spread across two films for maximum box office profits. Unfortunately, this has simply resulted in more filler conversations and odd minor action sequences which fail to add to the plot.

However the third film, At World’s End, does have the highest recording of deaths with a huge 103 compared with a franchise average of 52; in fact the second largest recorded death count goes to On Stranger Tides with a significantly smaller 49 deaths. This anomaly is largely due to At World’s End’s culminating battles between pirates, a British fleet and a monster named the Kraken. This meant that the pay off from a story stretched over two films was a large battle with lots of people losing their lives for entertainment. Although At World’s End is significantly better than its predecessor, Dead Man’s Chest, it’s a real disappointment that such an epic finale had to sacrifice almost one and half of films to happen.

What’s more, it seems baddies in the franchise are there to be killed with a total of 155 baddie deaths throughout the franchise compared to a significantly lower 42 deaths for goodies. As in most franchises, baddies are once again cannon fodder for action sequences. Here at FilmAttic we’d like to see the same amount of resources go into killing off a larger group of goodies which would in turn give central goodie characters a real motivation and reason for annihilation of the main villain.

A quirky fact: Jack Sparrow kills only one person throughout the entire franchise and that kill occurs during the first film. As is now well known of Sparrow, he is an unpredictable and cowardly hero who escapes danger with a mix of luck and ingenuity and in turn he avoids conflict at all costs. When required to participate he does it in a slapstick and light hearted Disney version of your traditional Hollywood fight scene with no real consequences during almost any of these. Sparrow also only shoots his gun 6 times, once in the first film and five times during the second, so for those dressing up as the iconic character you could easily leave the pistol at the costume shop.

Pirates of the Caribbean stands as an action adventure with a reluctant cowardly hero and light hearted action sequences which entertain more than push the narrative forward. However having Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer as the overseers, this franchise enjoys an impressive cast and crew, a fun story and great characters which all result in great viewing for all ages to enjoy.

What we learnt from...

Pirates of the Caribbean

Gold is everything in life
If you’re a pirate child it’s best to stay quiet
Supernatural stuff happens, get over it.
Never trust your Captain, first mate or the monkey
If you’re a pirate and immortal, don’t bother changing - think of the insurance jump
There is more to life than a cellar of rum, but burning rum is sacrilege
The Navy during this period was rather silly
Keep your daughters away from blacksmiths
Keep your tentacles trimmed so they don't grow over your chin
Never agree to work for Davey Jones – you could turn into a fish
Never take on the Kraken, it’s bigger than you
Avoid falling in love with Calypso, goddess of the sea
Never capture a goddess, she will only get angry at you later
It’s not wise to cut your heart out and stuff it in a chest
Battle weddings are inappropriate but wonderfully magical
Anyone can become a naval Captain, even a resurrected, notorious evil pirate
The Spanish don’t like conflict, they like focus