Pirates of the Caribbean: a Doomed Franchise

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

The Pirates of the Caribbean is a franchise that has been around for 14 years. Growing up with these movies gave me fond and traumatic memories, but when I rewatched them recently, all I felt was affection. When star Johnny Depp, embroiled in a nasty court case with Amber Heard, said he wouldn’t return to the franchise even if “Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas,” fans were heartbroken. I thought it was sad but also for the best. It’s hard to say this, but the movies have been declining in ratings and popularity for a while now.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) This movie was only made to give lore to one of the rides at Disney World, and executives thought it would flop because there had been a decline in the genre of pirate movies. If you couldn’t tell, it was not a flop at all. “I think the first movie has always been the best,” said Madame Youngworth. This one was definitely fun to watch as a kid, but now that I watch it as an adult, I understand some of the concepts that I di:dn’t get when I was younger. Some little girl named Elizabeth and her dad’s ship sail past the wreckage of a pirate ship and spot a little boy named Will in the water. They rescue Will and Elizabeth finds a weird coin around Will’s neck, which she pockets. We flash forward to a grown-up Will and Elizabeth; Elizabeth is the daughter of the governor of Port Royal and Will is a blacksmith. Around this time, Captain Jack Sparrow docks in the harbor, saving Elizabeth from drowning. But her mysterious coin necklace sends out some vibrations into the water, bringing pirates into Port Royal to raid the place. They kidnap Elizabeth, thinking her last name is Turner, so the royal navy, Will and Jack set out to rescue her. This movie received an 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest score of the franchise so far. Like most of the first movies in a franchise, this did absolutely great and became a classic.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006): When I was little I thought this was the best movie of all time. But I was an idiot. This was fine in the sense of a sequel. “It’s the one I liked the most,” said Ms. Mathisen. It’s a little hard to judge this movie critically, but I have to anyway. The plot is all over the place, somehow Will and Elizabeth are getting married but it’s rudely interrupted when they have to track down Jack because he went missing. Why, you ask? Well, Jack has a blood debt to some octopus man named Davey, so he hides in an indigenous people’s clan to wait out the debt collection. So when Will and Elizabeth find Jack, their main goal is to find the octopus man’s chest and stab his still beating heart to end his life and the debt. Oh, and the octopus man has a giant kraken that can swallow whole ships, so that’s cool. This movie has a 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, 27 percent less than the first movie. In my opinion this movie was ok, but for your opinion you might say something else, because you might have a different opinion than me, and that’s how opinions work, I think.Pirate

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007): This one was my absolute favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie ever. It has that one scene, y’all know what scene I’m talking about, that one with two ships and a big ol’ whirlpool, that one. So after a long sequence of events, Jack, Will and Elizabeth get back together to finally fight the octopus man and his waterlogged crew. It’s very hard to continue this summary without spoilers, so I’m just going to wrap this up quickly. Elizabeth and Will get married on a boat while fighting the octopus man. After killing the octopus man, Will is cursed to be the captain of the octopus man’s ship forever. This movie received 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoe, but I love this movie, no matter what anyone says and no matter how many plot holes there may be.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011): It’s incredibly hard to watch this movie on my own since I would be bored and want to make fun of it with someone. But anyway, Jack Sparrow has an imposter. It’s interesting! For like 8 minutes. Then we learn that it’s just his ex. And his ex happens to be the daughter of the pirate Blackbeard. They basically make Jack find the Fountain of Youth against his will. Blackbeard weirdly enough has magic powers. And of course the brown-toothed British want to get their grubby mitts on the Fountain of Youth too. It’s so hard to get through this movie without someone with you to watch it. This movie has a 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s all I have to say about it, on to the last movie. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tale (2017): Ok, let me be real with you for a second, this was my first movie as a kid that was absolutely atrocious. I didn’t know how bad a movie could be until I watched this. Both men that directed this movie had directed only a total of eight  films, so I guess that makes you qualified to direct a major franchise’s new movie. Two of the lead characters in the movie, besides Johnny Depp,  had just minor roles in big movies or been in bad movies/tv shows. According to Screen Rant, Jack Sparrow during the first movie would be around 38-39 years old, so in this movie he should be about 58 years old, which is surprising to say the least. Typical pirates around that time would live to their mid-30s; the oldest pirate to live was Captain William Kidd, who reached 54 years old, Jack Sparrow is living longer than any real-life pirate. But this is a fictional movie, so a lot of other things don’t make sense either. Jack is drunker than a college kid at a frat party. He and his crew are basically going bankrupt so Jack decides to trade his magical compass for a bottle of rum which awakens drowned ghost men. The men themselves say that he has finally given up the compass like he hasn’t before, Jack gives his compass away like candy on Halloween, so that’s a plot hole. Henry Turner, son of Elizabeth and Will, grew up with no daddy just like his father and is determined to break the curse on his father from the third movie. And this one girl named Carina who is way too into astrology because her dad left her a necklace and a book, so basically her quest is a scavenger hunt for her dad and Poseidon’s trident (which can break curses). So it’s no big surprise that Henry and Carina team up, and Jack and his crew are just their escorts. A fun thing to do to pass the time while watching this movie is to count how many times they say father. This movie received a 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so if the executives for Pirates of the Caribbean do manage another installment -with or without star Johnny Depp – it’s probably going to get like a 21 percent.

Featured image: https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/pirates-of-the-caribbean-the-curse-of-the-black-pearl/2XuO7Cc1YEau

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