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YMMV: Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Adaptation Displacement: After complaints from patrons wondering where Jack was, the original theme park rides, which were always among Disney's most popular attractions, were modified to include elements from the films.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: There's various ways to interpret Norrington. Some see him as a bastard Inspector Javert who was only trying to save his own hide and honor, some see him as The Woobie who got way more punches than he deserved and did what any other reasonable human would have done in his situation. Those are the most popular, there's also handful of other points of view.
    • And so is Cutler Beckett. Many people see him as a Complete Monster (see below), while some consider him as a Hero Antagonist who wants the best for England, and tries to remove the evil of piracy, who are the real villains in their interpretation (and to be fair were not exactly nice people in real life).
    • And then there's Captain Jack Sparrow - is he really a Lovable Rogue, Crazy Awesome rebel and Genius Ditz, or a deceptively evil man who manipulates the good will of others, even if he is the lesser of two evils when compared to someone like Barbossa.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Critics expected Curse of the Black Pearl to be a faint blip on the cinematic landscape, destined to set an example for those with the absurd thought of adapting theme park rides for the big screen and that pirate movies were forever dead, destined to flop ... Boy were they wrong.
  • Awesome Ego: Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • Awesome Moments: See for yourself.
  • Awesome Music: Special mention goes to the main theme, Davy Jones' theme, both the organ and music box versions, and the love theme for Will and Elizabeth in At World's End, which becomes the backbone for the entire score of the movie...Then again, it is Hans Zimmer's work.
    • Hoist the Colours!
    • The Kraken!
    • The track "Parlay" is an homage to Sergio Leone's "Man With A Harmonica". Barbossa, Jack, and Elizabeth are walking down a sandbar to parlay with Beckett, Davy Jones, and Will... and then the electric guitar slashes in. Truly one of the best moments, at least in terms of cinematography, in the entire trilogy.
      • According to Zimmer, this isn't even a guitar but the orchestra put through a guitar amp.
    • Tia Dalma, a less epic but very atmospheric track.
    • Subverted hilariously in On Stranger Tides.
    • What Shall We Die For
    • Drink Up Me Hearties
    • He's A Pirate. This one really deserves the crown for being featured as the battle theme for Port Royal in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Dead Man's Chest gets a lot of flak for the scenes with the island natives being this, even though the writers wrote it with the intention of showing that Jack wasn't safe anywhere he went, be that on land or water. It's also the resolution to a Brick Joke that Jack ad-libbed in the first film.
    • The trippy peanut scene from the third film. Again though it was to showcase the madness of the Davy Jones Locker.
    • The very beginning of At World's End, with what is either a prison that executes inmates on an industrial scale or possibly the gates of hell. Course this was to illustrate how bad things have gotten for pirates now that Beckett has taken over.
    • On Stranger Tides, the few moments Jack spends stealing Judi Dench's earring.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Jack and his jar of dirt.
    • By the fourth film's end it is made very clear that though Captain Jack Sparrow may love rum, the company of women (and men), and the freedom to do whatever he damn well pleases... there is only one thing that truly, genuinely, has his heart...and his beloved Black Pearl.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The second and third movie have a Complete Monster in Cutler Beckett the Big Bad of the second and third films in the trilogy. Upon his arrival at Port Royale, Beckett assumes illegal control and has the governor's messenger to the king murdered. Beckett later enslaves Davy Jones, forcing him to kill his pet Kraken and making Jones his personal attack dog of the seas. Governor Swann himself is later murdered when Beckett decides he's of no further use. It is made abundantly clear that Beckett's prime desire is power and control, and piracy is a threat to that, particularly when he initiates a purge of anyone even vaguely associated with piracy with all legal proceedings suspended. The result is a massive line of people, many of whom aren't even pirates, taken to the gallows to be hanged. Not even children are safe, as a little boy is shown being hanged as Beckett looks on without remorse or emotion. His only emotion is a satisfied "finally" when the prisoners indicate the pirate Brethren Court is going to be called.
    • Blackbeard from the fourth film is also an example. He enjoys torturing his prisoners, locks them in cages and burns them alive, punishes anyone who tries to disagree with him, his horrible treatment of Syrena, and in the end, he is ready to sacrifice his OWN DAUGHTER, to save his own life. His disregard for his own daughter's life was even implied when he was ready to force Jack Sparrow to jump the gorge under the threat of her death, and ordered a mook to load two guns with a bullet each, and keep even himself in the dark as to which guns are loaded, and later lied to his daughter about knowing which ones are loaded.
  • Crazy Awesome: Both Captains of the Black Pearl get a lot of this. Jack's father too. It's in the genes.
    Lord Cutler Beckett: You're mad!
    Captain Jack Sparrow: Thank goodness for that, because if I wasn't, this would probably never work.
    • And then Barbossa steers his ship deeper into a maelstrom while singing a pirate song. Pure Crazy, Pure Awesome.
  • Creepy Awesome: The mermaids in On Stranger Tides.
  • Cult Classic: The original theme park ride.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A variant has set in by the third movie due to the overdose of Gambit Pileup and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Will, Elizabeth, Jack, Barbossa, Cutler Beckett, Davy Jones, Norrington and Sao Feng all have their own agendas, most of which change at least once over the course of the film and result in more Strange Bedfellows than you can shake a stick at. Some viewers had no choice but to resign from the story entirely.
    • The fourth film as well. Barbossa is the most sympathetic character in it.
  • Die for Our Ship: Willabeth vs. Sparrabeth is Serious Business.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Barbossa to the point that he becomes the Token Evil Teammate at the end of the second movie.
    • Davy Jones due to his deliciously hammy villainy and Cry for the Devil backstory.
    • Even Cutler Beckett for those who agree that all pirates are evil and should be killed.
  • Dry Docking: The YKKTW for the trope was even called "Stay Away From Jack Sparrow!"
  • Ear Worm: All of Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt's music is pretty catchy, but two tunes stand supreme: "He's a Pirate", the de facto theme song of the movies and "Hoist the Colours" from the beginning of third movie.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Norrington.
    • Lieutenants Gillette and Groves (the latter not even being named in film) are very popular among the Yaoi Fangirl population.
    • Barbossa in the third film went from "Love to Hate" villain to "love to watch" good guy.
    • Anamaria
    • Tia Dalma. Along with Davy Jones, she's one of the few things about the sequels that everyone likes.
    • Mercer, Lord Beckett's second-in-command.
    • The fandom seems to have taken a shine to the Spaniard from On Stranger Tides despite (or perhaps because of) his limited screen-time.
    • Davy Jones, aka Cthulhu in a pirate costume.
  • Ending Fatigue: Even those who like At World's End have to admit that the final battle goes on... and on... and on.. and on...
    • Some even felt that the first film went for one action set piece too many with Jack's escape/rescue at the end.
  • Evil Is Cool: Barbossa, Davy Jones, Cutler Becket, and Blackbeard all have their cool moments, and thus all have their fans.
  • Evil Is Sexy: The mermaids in the fourth film, if you see them as evil.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • The Curse of the Black Pearl:
      • When Jack saves Elizabeth from drowning, the movie launches into a case study of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, as the act immediately outs him as a pirate, and Elizabeth unsuccessfully tries to defend him over the fact that he's just saved her life.
      • Jack teaches Will that honour is not, in itself, a tool for accomplishing anything, particularly winning a real fight, especially against someone who cares more about winning than feeling good about fighting fairly.
    • Dead Man's Chest:
      • Various characters have the book thrown at them for helping Jack in the first movie because, again, a good man can be at odds with the law.
  • First Installment Wins: Most people consider the first to be the best because it was fresh and original in its style and humour.
  • Foe Yay: Jack and... well, everybody. Partly Johnny Depp, Jack Sparrow's actor's fault, since he confirmed that Jack is bisexual.
  • Fountain of Memes: Jack.
  • Genius Bonus: During Will's search for Jack in Dead Man's Chest, a sailor mentions that he sometimes goes to the cannibal island to trade for "delicious long pork". Long pork is an old euphemism for human flesh.
    • When Pintel wants to damn the man who invented the word parley, Jack retorts that would be the French. Joking aside, the word does come from Middle French.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the Japanese dub, Will is voiced by Daisuke Hirakawa. What does this mean? That Makoto Itou becomes the captain of a really NICE BOAT... and without losing his head!
    • In the first film, Barbossa's reputation says he was spat out of Hell. This finally does happen in the third movie.
    • Again in the first film, Elizabeth is mockingly told "a little mermaid flopped up on deck". Fast forward to the fourth movie where we find that mermaids do exist in the POTC universe.
    • "Hello, beastie."
  • Ho Yay: Yaoi Fangirls around the world see it, at least. Jack and Will, Jack and Norrington, and more.
    {The first movie} so wraps you — okay, me — up in its aching yearning for the rash and the adventurous and the romantic that you — okay, I — let out a little gasp of frustration every time Orlando Bloom fails to kiss Keira Knightly, or Johnny Depp fails to kiss Keira Knightley, or Johnny Depp fails to kiss Orlando Bloom. God, somebody kiss anybody, I just can't stand the anticipation anymore.
    • Jack and Beckett was rather blatant, especially in the extended version of their "The Thing You Want Most" scene in AWE. Beckett sounds more sad than angry, which hints that it was something a bit more than a betrayal against the company. Beckett also, several times, tries not to laugh, or laugh too hard at Jack's antics, almost like he doesn't want to be lulled into the sense that everything is still okay between them. In addition, this is one of the only scenes were Beckett spends the majority of it not looking at the person he's talking to.
    • Pintel and Ragetti. Even the latter's actor during the second movie stated he thought the characters were a gay couple. It must be the pink shirt.
  • Inferred Massacre:
    • In Dead Man's Chest, it's strongly implied this happened to most of the Pearl's crewmen, when Will Turner finds Cotton's parrot, and it squawks "Don't eat me!"
    • In On Stranger Tides, from Barbossa's account of the Pearl's capture, the audience can assume that Jack, Barbossa, Gibbs, and Jack the Monkey are the only survivors left of the Pearl's crew. Granted, Jack the Monkey was alive aboard the bottled Pearl, but he's immortal anyway.
      • We also see Cotton's Parrot, which might mean that the rest of the crew is still alive on it. Or that the parrot survived on its own.
  • Iron Woobie: Norrington
  • Jerkass Woobie: Davy Jones
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Captain Jack.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Killing Jack for real in Dead Man's Chest. It turned out to be a mere Our Hero Is Dead and he gets better after being rescued.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Captain Jack Sparrow is quite a good guy by pirate standards, but he's still got just enough of a treacherous streak to qualify for this. Wouldn't want things to get boring, after all. Jack is one of those characters who really puts the "magnificent" in this trope.
    • Barbossa is a contender too. Back in Curse of the Black Pearl, when Elizabeth tries to get him to stop attacking the city he says "I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request." and keeps her hostage. Later when he sends her an invitation to dinner, she tries to Ironic Echo him:
    Elizabeth: You may tell your captain that I'm disinclined to acquiesce to his request.
    Pintel: He said you'd say that, and he also said that if that's the case you'll be dining with the crew. And you'll be naked.
    • As is Lord Cutler Beckett in Dead Man's Chest, before he gets worse in the next film.
  • Memetic Mutation: I've got a jar of dirt...
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Some fans believe that Davy Jones really crossed it in the second film, where keeps William Turner prisoner, sets him to be brutally tortured, and then threatens to kill him with a sinister laugh.
    • While Captain Barbossa of the first film was still a bad guy, he was Affably Evil and he and his crew had enough interesting personality quirks to be likeable in their own way- even the brutal opening attack on the town doesn't keep him from being allowed to come back in later movies as an Anti-Hero. By contrast, the new Big Bad Cutler Beckett of the next two films was an outright bastard and crossed the MEH around the time that he had a ten-year-old boy hanged for piracy or even just associating with pirates.
    • Blackbeard crossed this when he had Syrena tied up half in the water for a slow, painful death to extract a tear from her. Phillip, who before stated that everyone had some good in them, admits he was wrong and there is no chance of redemption for Blackbeard.
    • In Curse of the Black Pearl, the pirates just engage in generic villainy and are demonstrated to be sympathetic since they're trying to break their curse. They cross this though once they decide to cut Elizabeth's throat, "just in case", when her blood fails to do the trick.
  • More Popular Spin-off: It was based on a theme park ride after all. (Albeit Disney's cult favorite theme park ride.) When Dead Man's Chest came out, the attraction was updated to feature Jack, Barbossa and Davy Jones.
  • Nightmare Fuel: You wanna see through the point of view of those poor sods who fall into the hidden jaws of the Kraken?
    • When you first see the crew of the Black Pearl really look... Either that, or it's just cool.
    • Davy Jones' crew, especially that the fact the ship is alive.
    • Jack's hallucination of himself as part of the ship, just like Bootstrap Bill in the third movie. A funnier instance, but still pretty freaky.
    • The mermaids in the fourth film. Sweet and sedecutive one minute, screeching and sharp-toothed the next. It's like looking at half-human piranhas.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Spaniard in the fourth movie is a downplayed example. He's important to the plot, and has a couple of brief appearances, but his only substantial scene is the climax.
  • One True Threesome: Jack/Will/Elizabeth is quite popular, and supported by the film's Love Triangle.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Angelica for Elizabeth in some circles. The priest and mermaid are also seen by some as replacements for Will and Elizabeth.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Anamaria. Hey, kids! It's Neytiri! Or Nyota Uhura!
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: It is rumored that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley's decisions not to reprise their respective roles for On Stranger Tides, as well as their Creator Backlash bordering on Old Shame dispositions toward the characters, stem from the romance story which took over the trilogy, rather than the characters themselves.
    • The subplot between Philip and Syrena in On Stranger Tides grinds the film to a stop each time they appear. To its credit, it remains a subplot.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Given that they're in the title and all the focus is on them, the fans can be forgiven for cheering for the pirates and wanting them to win. While granted most of them are Lovable Rogues and very little piracy is actually shown, they are still pirates, who were obviously quite nasty people.
    • There are quite a few people who sympathize with The East India Trading Company. Many of their fans forget that Beckett fighting against pirates wasn't Order Versus Chaos; it was removing the competition, as he did a lot of piracy and murder himself.
    • The film's writers mention they intentionally wrote Captain Barbossa as an Anti-Hero throughout the first movie, given his singular goal is to end the ten-year-long curse that has plagued him and his crew. Throughout the film they wanted to give the audience the impression that despite being the antagonist, he might not actually be a bad guy. This is why Barbossa's scene where he explains the torment of the curse to Elizabeth was constantly being rewritten and added to by both the writers and Geoffrey Rush to get it perfect. It definitely shows.
  • The Scrappy: Philip the clergyman from On Stranger Tides. Many people thought he was an out-of-place character (missionary on a pirate ship) and that his subplot was pointless; that whole interspecies romance thing doesn't fit at all with the main plot except for the three seconds or so that Blackbeard exploits it. Some even see him and his mermaid girlfriend as replacements for Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, the straight man and straight woman to Jack Sparrow's fall guy in the previous films.
  • Shipping: Contains every imaginable type of ship. Trope Codifier for "shipping" as a verb!
  • Strawman Has a Point: Though he was cursed for doing so, Davy Jones's reasons for abandoning the job and giving the Brethren Court the means to bind Calypso were pretty understandable. Despite Calypso's line of "It's my nature", it's a very flimsy excuse for having him do his job for ten years and then not give him the small reward he earned (seeing him for one day). On the other hand, neither Jones nor Calypso comes out of that relationship looking too good.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The addition of elements from the movies to the original rides has resulted in quite the Broken Base. Even BEFORE the movies existed, there were fans outraged over the differences between the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom versions.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The synopsis of the third film explicitly paints James Norrington as Co-Dragons with Davy Jones, which sounds awesome, since he's the closest thing Jack has to a lawful counterpart and one of the few villains to both outfight and outsmart him. Unfortunately, the sheer length of the third film cut him down to three main scenes, none of which showcase him as dangerous, since Jones is The Brute and in many ways still The Heavy of the film.
    • The AWE trailers' focus on the Brethren Court teased fans of the possibility of an epic fleet battle for the climax. Instead, we got a duel (if an admittedly awesome one) between the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman, with the 300-strong East India Company fleet retreating after Beckett's flagship is obliterated.
  • Uncanny Valley: There's just something strange about Calypso, mostly when she grows and starts speaking jibberish.
    • Also Bootstrap Bill, practically a living piece of the Dutchman's wall. Jack hallucinates himself in this same way too.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: This is a Disney franchise, and despite its subject matter, is generally considered family friendly, and isn't too violent or adult. Then there's that scene in the beginning of At World's End in which dozens of innocent people, including young children, are sentenced to death and hanged while singing mournfully. Sweet dreams, kids! Dead Man's Chest beat At World's End to the punch with the pirate prison scene, with the family-friendly image of a pirate screaming as a bird pecks his eye out.
  • What The Hell Casting Agency: The first film, Curse of the Black Pearl, states very clearly at least twice that Will, played by lean, smooth pretty boy Orlando Bloom, is the spitting image of his father, Bootstrap Bill Turner. In the second and third films, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, Boostrap Bill is played by big, stocky, craggy faced Stellan Skarsgård. What, they couldn't find an actor who at least matched Bloom's physicality?

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