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Film / Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

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Spoilers for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
"World's still the same, mate. There's just less in it."

"You know the problem with being the last of anything; by and by there be none left at all."

At World's End (2007) is the third movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The third installment chronicles the adventures of Will, Elizabeth, and a newly resurrected Captain Barbossa in their journey to retrieve Jack from the afterlife. It resolves with the final showdown between the forces of Cutler Beckett (now with Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman as their flagship), and the assembled pirate forces of the world, with an angry sea goddess thrown into the mix.

This installment was the most expensive film ever made at the time, costing $300 million before marketing, a record it held until its Trilogy Creep, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, came out in 2011, with a cost of $378.5 million.

The film’s events are adapted into a world for Kingdom Hearts III.

Unrelated to the 2013 movie The World's End or the video game World's End (though this movie did receive its own video game adaptation, by Eurocom and Disney Interactive Studios).

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: During the climactic battle in the maelstrom, Pintel and Ragetti stuff Jack the undead monkey into a cannon and fire him towards the Flying Dutchman.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: A surprising number of them. Davy Jones' very emotional reunion with Tia Dalma and Barbossa's conversation with Jack next to the dead Kraken are several good examples, as is Jack's brief discussion with his father, Captain Teague.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: This is played with. Captain Teague, Jack's father, shoots another for questioning the pirate code. However, nothing really major happens — the dead pirate is a nobody, and none of the assembled pirates really want a fight to break out at their meeting — despite a fight having broken out minutes before over the course of action to be taken in response to Beckett's declaration of war.
  • And Starring: The cast roll here ends "with Chow Yun-fat and Geoffrey Rush".
  • Appeal to Inherent Nature: Calypso justifies her failure to meet Davey Jones after his ten-year sojourn aboard the Dutchman with this trope. She then points out that it was her tempestuous, flighty nature that had led him to fall in love with her in the first place, so he's being a hypocrite to condemn her for not remaining true to that.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Will/Bootstrap's knife.
    • Jack's compass.
    • The pieces of eight.
  • Arc Words:
    • "The Dutchman must have a captain."
    • "It's just good business."
    • "Part of the ship, part of the crew."
    • "Hoist the colours."
  • Argument of Contradictions: Jack and Barbossa get into one after Jack expresses support for Elizabeth's desire to fight.
    Barbossa: You've always run away from a fight!
    Jack: Have not!
    Barbossa: You have so!
    Jack: Have not!
    Barbossa: You have so!
    Jack: Have not!
    Barbossa: You have so and you know it!
    Jack: Have not, slander and calumny! I have only ever embraced that oldest and noblest of pirate traditions. I submit now that here, now, that is what we all must do; we must fight... to run away!
  • Armour-Piercing Question: When Will and Davy Jones meet up, Will manages to shoot down Jones's angry ranting about Calypso (tellingly, Jones doesn't even try responding to the question).
    Davy Jones: She pretended to love me. She betrayed me!
    Will: And after which betrayal did you cut out your heart, I wonder?
  • Artistic License – History: The film's portrayal of Singapore is both fantastic and inaccurate. At the time the story is set, Singapore was a small village within the Malayan Sultanate of Johor, not a decrepit port-city full of Chinese imagery like we see in the film. This last point is rather baffling, as it makes the same sense as if they had portrayed Shanghai as a city full of mosques and people with beards and turbans.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • Norrington is promoted to Admiral (from Commodore, a temporary position appointed to or held by the most senior post-Captain, made a substantive rank in 1997). Promotion to Admiral was based strictly on seniority (hence the later change in the rank of Commodore), so short of murdering every Captain above him and at least one Admiral, there is no way the East India Trading Company could "influence" such a promotion (having a dismissed Captain reinstated is within the realm of possibility, though, albeit unlikely).
    • At the end of the film, the Endeavour is destroyed at will by the Pearl and the Dutchman because Becket freezes on sheer Villainous BSoD and his second-in-command will not break the chain of command to order to fire back. In real life, while proper command was certainly a big deal in the uptight Royal Navy (and we could expect Becket to be fussy about it), there were basic circumstances where lieutenants would not only be allowed, but expected to take initiative on the best interests of his ship, as they are today. Being under direct attack and watching his immediate superior issue no orders at all (and looking visibly unable to do so) would have been considered a textbook example of a situation mandating the guy to take command and order to fire himself. In fact, the same official later breaks the chain of command anyway to order the crew to abandon the ship, begging the question of what impeded him to do the same minutes earlier to avoid its destruction.
  • Artistic License – Physics: When the Black Pearl and the newly allied Flying Dutchman charge the Endeavor, the opposing ships rush each bow-first with all their sails at full billow. This would require the wind to be blowing from two directions at once.
  • Ass Shove: Hinted at (though a bit tongue-in-cheek, given the size of the damn thing) when Elizabeth pulls a really big gun from her Trouser Space.
  • Attempted Rape: While holding her captive, Sao Feng tells Elizabeth he'll give her his "desire" if she consents. When she asks him what he'll do if she refuses, he states he'll have her fury and forcefully kisses her. Had the ship not been hit, it's not unlikely he would've forced himself on her.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: For the King of the Brethren Court, Captain Elizabeth Swann.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For all his selfishness and scheming, you've got to "Awww" at the look on Jack's face when Will gets stabbed.
  • Babies Ever After: The Stinger shows that Elizabeth and Will conceived a son during his one day on shore before he left to captain the Dutchman. She reared the boy and they return to meet him after ten years.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: During the Final Battle, Davy Jones intercepts Jack's sword with his crab claw arm, then breaks it.
  • Bathtub Mermaid: Negotiations are taking place on a sandbar, but since Davey Jones is cursed to be unable to set foot on land, he's standing in a big wooden bucket of seawater, with several others visible behind him.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Davy Jones' heart (and Will's, at the end) continues to beat from inside the Dead Man's Chest.
  • Big Book of War: The Pirate's Code. Amusingly, the actual book itself is apparently only a few pages of actual code — the rest is discussion on what the code should be.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • A given whenever Jack is involved.
      Barbossa: Isla de Muerta, remember? You shot me.
      Jack: No I didn't.
    • Barbossa tells Tia Dalma he never reneges on a bargain once struck. This is as he's trying to weasel through their bargain.
  • Boats into Buildings: Shipwreck City is an Exaggerated example. The town itself is built out of of hundreds of scuttled ships piled haphazardly atop each other in a Shipwreck Cove, an inlet found within the dormant volcano known as Shipwreck Island. The structure of Shipwreck City easy reaches over a dozen stories into the air. No-one knows precisely how old the city is, though according to legend its foundations consist of Greek triremes, Roman galleys, and dragon-prowed longships.
  • Bowel-Breaking Bricks: Pintel and Ragetti each grab a cannonball, planning to drop them on the bodies floating in the water while escaping Davey Jones' Locker. As they're about to, they see Tia Dalma standing there. The camera cuts to their lower bodies, as they drop the cannonballs on the deck.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Jack (and monkey-Jack's) quest for peanuts.
    • Once again, Jack makes a comment about Will and groins — this time angrily referring to him as a "codpiece".
    • The compass which shows you your heart's desire — at the end, it first points to the rum.
    • After the (failed) Mexican Standoff, Pintel suggests using the defunct pistols as clubs. In the climactic battle, Jack notices one of Jones' soldiers has his pistol, and hits him on the head with it before shooting Jones.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In the backstory, the sea goddess Calypso (Tia Dalma) was trapped in mortal form by the first Brethren Court to make it easier for pirates to rule the seas.
  • Call-Back: Jack escapes from the Dutchman's jail using the same trick that Will used in the first film to free him, after repeatedly telling himself "Think like Will."
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • More like, "You can't die, still need you." Barbossa is back, and eventually so is Jack, but they have been resurrected from the dead because they were Pirate Lords when they died, and failed to name a successor before they died. Tia Dalma brings both of them back so they can attend the Brethren Court, otherwise they probably would've stayed dead.
    • Also, Beckett wants to find the location of Shipwreck Cove in order to destroy The Brethren Court, but he knows that the only option he has is to use Jack's Compass that can lead him to his hearts' desire — which unfortunately for him in this moment is seeing Jack dead. He attempts to invoke Cutting the Knot, thinking that if he kills Jack here-and-now, the Compass might then lead him to the Court. Only for Jack to say that Shipwreck Cove is well-fortified and that the other Pirate Lords could shelter there for years waiting for Beckett to eventually give up. But with Jack as a Pirate Lord on the inside, he could convince the other Pirate Lords to leave.
  • Celeb Crush: As part of their Batman Gambit, the pirates must enact a ritual involving words spoken as if to a lover, but the pirates are Large Hams who've never known a love they didn't pay for... except one:
    Ragetti: [whispers tenderly] Calypso... I release you from your human bonds.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Wyvern's rambling from the previous movie becomes important in this one, particularly the one about the Dutchman needing a captain.
    • Jack's sword, which gets broken during his fight with Davy Jones.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Calypso's transformation. She's not completely powerless, summoning a whirlpool on command, but she has no physical body anymore because it turns into a mass of crabs, which promptly fall into the ocean.
  • Continuity Nod: While imprisoned on the Dutchman, Jack and his illusionary counterparts alternate between muttering "think like Will" and "think like the whelp", as Barbossa referred to Will at one point during Curse of the Black Pearl.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The Court of the Brethren is made up of pirates from around the world, including French, Spanish, Arab, Chinese, and African contingents.
  • Cue the Falling Object: After a short scuffle between the EIC and the pirates and Jack Sparrow's daring escape from the ship, Beckett order the Endeavour to pursue the Black Pearl... only for the main mast, damaged by a canonball fired by Jack earlier, to crack and fall in the background, delaying the pursuit.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The HMS Endeavour had absolutely no chance against fighting both the Black Pearl and the hijacked Flying Dutchman at once.
  • Dangerously Loaded Cargo: Subverted and enforced. When Jack figures out how to escape Davy Jone's locker, he starts running from one side of the Black Pearl to the other with the crew accompanying him to get it to capsize. Barbossa heads below deck and orders the rest of the crew to unstow the heavy cargo and cut the gun deck's cannons loose, since everything being properly stored and tied down was preventing the ship from capsizing. With the additional shifting weight from the loose cargo and cannons, the Black Pearl is able to fully capsize, although two crew members are killed in the process; one of whom is crushed by one of the main deck's cannons as it careens across the ship.
  • Darker and Edgier: Not only is it darker than its predecessor films, it is a very strong contender for being the darkest film Disney has ever (directly) released. The film opens with the extrajudicial hanging of hundreds of people, including a child. It doesn’t let up from there either, with nightmarish imagery matching the previous films and a plot that focuses on the end of piracy and freedom on the sea. Several sympathetic characters bite the dust in sudden and heartbreaking ways, and much of the movie has a somber and tragic feeling. The final battle, while awesome, has an almost apocalyptic tone, and includes the violent onscreen death of a main character. This movie is not the same fun adventure as the first two, it’s a true epic with incredibly high stakes and moments of extreme tragedy
  • Death Glare: Captain Teague gives a deathly cold, silent one to the other Pirate Lords in response to Jack asking them if they intend on breaking the Code by refusing Elizabeth's elected authority as Pirate King.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Norrington's Death by Unrequited Love.
  • Defiant to the End: The pirates that are to be hung at the beginning of the movie start singing "Hoist the Colours" to call the Brethren Court to rally, but the song is also a warning to Beckett that the way of pirates will never die.
  • Delayed Reaction: When Tia Dalma uses her sand crabs to locate and bring Jack back to the crew of the Black Pearl, it takes a while for Witty Jack to figure out that his ship has been suddenly ferried, without effort, across Davy Jones' Locker, after he himself was trying his damnedest to move it with a piece of rope. It takes even longer for him to realize that the ship is moving at breakneck speed, and he will soon be left behind if he does not catch up.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Davy Jones has been coerced into following orders from Lord Cutler Beckett, as Beckett possesses Jones' Soul Jar, delivered to him by Norrington at the end of Dead Man's Chest. That being said, he is not happy at all with this situation, and tries to revert it any time he gets, while being as unhelpful as he can to the EITC. Also, he is still the most powerful individual on the field, and the only reason Beckett has now the higher ground in the war against piracy, making him border on Dragon-in-Chief.
  • Descriptiveville: The Brethren Court meets in the town of Shipwreck, in Shipwreck Cove, on Shipwreck Island. As one might imagine, it's easy for a ship to run aground there, and the town is made up of dozens of foundered ships. Lampshaded:
    Jack: For all that pirates are clever cobs, we are an unimaginative lot when it comes to naming things.
    Gibbs: Aye.
    Jack: I once sailed with a geezer, lost both of his arms and part of his eye.
    Gibbs: And what'd you call him?
    Jack: Larry.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Beckett tightens the leash on Jones by having the Dead Man's Chest returned to the Flying Dutchman, with guards ready to destroy it on command. He clearly doesn't expect the chain of command to be disrupted by an active combat situation.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: It appears for a moment that Jack expects Beckett to honor their bargain; Beckett, preparing to attack the Black Pearl, can't believe Sparrow is actually that naïve.
    Beckett: It's Nothing Personal, Jack. It's just good business.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: James Norrington stabs Davy Jones with his final breath instead of accepting his offer.
  • Dismantled Macguffin: The Nine Pieces of Eight turn out to be the missing ingredients in a spell to free Calypso. Jack's resurrection is required because he was carrying his when the kraken got him.
  • Disney Villain Death: After getting stabbed in the heart, Davy Jones falls over the side of the ship and plummets into the maelstrom during the final battle.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Davy Jones moves to regain control of the Flying Dutchman at every possible opportunity, eventually throttling Mercer with his tentacle beard as soon as they're alone.
  • Dope Slap: When in need of his Piece of Eight, Barbossa asks it from Ragetti, to whom he entrusted it. It happens to be his wooden eye, and Barbossa makes it pop out of his eye socket with a dope slap.
  • Double-Meaning Title: At World's End refers to both the edge of the world, which the group fall off of to reach Davy Jones' Locker, and the end of the world of piracy as orchestrated by Beckett.
  • Dragon Lady: Mistress Ching. We do not see much of her dragon ways but additional sources show her to be a formidable and rather vile example.
  • Dynamic Entry: Jack's cannonball stunt, except no-one gets hurt in the process and it doubles as a Dynamic Exit.
  • Emergency Transformation:
    • Will Turner becomes the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. Jack gives up his own chance at immortality to save Will by helping him stab Jones' heart. The crew then cuts Will's heart out to replace it.
    • Subverted earlier in the film, when Davy Jones makes an implied offer to save Norrington's life in exchange for his joining the crew of the Flying Dutchman. Norrington replies by spearing Jones with his sword.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • Jack figures out how to escape Davy Jones' Locker when he's fiddling with the map and his bad angel makes a remark that causes him to realize he has to capsize the ship so it will be upside down when the sun sets.
    • Will manages to determine Davy Jones was in love with Calypso when the two are in Beckett's office, and Jones is grumbling about Calypso.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • Beckett and Jones clearly do not get along, even with Jones under Beckett's thumb. On the two occasions Jones sees a chance of breaking free, his crew immediately start killing Norrington and Mercer's soldiers.
    • The whole conflict of the movie, which is between thieving, murdering pirate outlaws and a thieving, murdering Company. The two main factors which distinguish the pirates as being the lesser of two evils is their willingness to compromise under specific conditions, along with the fact that they are rarely — if ever — seen killing unarmed combatants or civilians (unlike the crew of the Black Pearl in the first film). Both of these are in contrast to Beckett's utter lack of ethics, and borderline sociopathic willingness to lie, cheat, extort, manipulate, and mass murder anyone (including innocent civilians) who dare to impede him in his quest to obtain even more power for himself.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: There's a moment in the Singapore bathhouse when Sao Feng holds a man he suspects to be on the side of Barbossa at sword point.
    Sao Feng: Drop your weapons or I kill the man!
    Barbossa: Kill him, he's not our man!
    Will: [realising] If he's not with you [nods to Sao Feng] and he's not with us, who's he with?! [cue EIC soldiers storming the place]
  • Exposed to the Elements: The journey to Davy Jones' Locker features the crew sailing through a frozen ocean. One unnamed Chinese crewmember's foot is frozen through, to the point that he accidentally snaps his big toe off. The rest of the crew are still wearing the same clothes they had in Singapore, yet suffer no ill effects apart from Pintel and Ragetti shivering.
  • Exposition Already Covered: Played for Laughs. Mr. Gibbs, the series resident Mr. Exposition, begins explaining to Will what a green flash of light at sunset means, commenting that he's seen his fair share despite the rarity of the event. Cue Pintel, somewhat excitedly, blurting out that it just means a soul has returned from the land of the dead. Pintel notices Gibbs glaring at him and he apologizes.
  • Extended Disarming: Elizabeth is stripped of weapons before being allowed into Sao Feng's sanctum. It takes a while. The scene starts with some degree of realism — sure, she's carrying a lot of guns, but that was standard practice in those days because you got only one shot out of each of them, and female clothing of that time period had lots of places to conceal things. Then she pulls out a blunderbuss. The gun's size along with her gestures while taking it out and Barbossa's confused look lend to some rather disturbing theories as to where exactly she was hiding it.
  • Fan Disservice: While sneaking into Sao Feng's bathhouse under the floorboards, Ragetti manages to find himself a spot where he can look up Elizabeth's skirt, and offers Pintel the spot. Unfortunately for Pintel, by the time he gets in position, Elizabeth has moved and there is now a very overweight, shirtless Chinese man standing above him instead.
  • Fantastic Racism: Played for Laughs, when Jack's recovering his stuff (and the Heart), and encounters the two incompetent marines again. One of them blames the breakdown of discipline on "the fish people" (rather than the pitched battle going on outside).
    Mullroy: Ohhh, so fish people, by dint of being fish people, automatically aren't as disciplined as non-fish people, is that it?
    Murtogg: Seems contributory, 's all I'm saying.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Davy Jones does this when facing off against Jack, Barbossa, and Elizabeth on the sandbar.
  • Fauxshadowing: During the EIC's raid on Sao Feng's lair, one of Sao Feng's henchwoman is unceremoniously shot in the head. Her identical twin sister catches her, briefly laments her loss, and turns to give a Death Glare to her killer. The way the camera lingers on her suggests she'll become important, possibly a supporting character, but the very next time we see her, she's dead too.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Sao Feng threatens to kill a mole (spotted by his fake tattoos) in his hideout, and Barbossa shrugs and tells him to go ahead; he's not with them. But as Will notes, "If he's not with you, and he's not with us... who's he with?" Cue the soldiers of the East India Company smashing down the wall.
    • A subtle one near the climax happens when the Black Pearl and the Endeavour have a face-off. Gibbs notes that the wind is with them, and two minutes later Beckett (from his own ship) makes the same remark, which should be contradictory — except a maelstrom is forming, so both ships actually do have the wind behind them.
  • Flat "What": Elizabeth's reaction to Jack using his vote to make her the Pirate King.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The Pirate Lord Eduardo Villanueva, in the "Hoist the Colours" scene, appears to have a flag very reminiscent of Blackbeard's real-life flag. (However, in On Stranger Tides Blackbeard's flag is different.)
  • Funny Background Event: In Jack's hallucination in Davy Jones' locker, one of the Jacks can be seen suffering some strange, pants-related malady, which soon involves two more Jacks trying to help.
  • Gambit Pileup: Comes to a head in the movie. Jack, Will, and Barbossa make and break deals willy-nilly with friend and foe alike in order to accomplish their separate goals.
  • Ghostly Death Reveal: Elizabeth finds Governor Swann among the lost souls in Davy Jones's Locker, despite him being alive before she set off on the journey to revive Jack, revealing that Cutler Beckett really did follow up on his Deadly Euphemism about him.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Implied to be such with the singing of the "Hoist the Colours" song. The way it's treated throughout the movie is that it's sung as a warning to all pirates regardless of allegiance. Lord Beckett is pleased when the threshold is reached, as he knows it means that the Brethren Court will be convened and he can eliminate the last great pirates at a stroke. It's even implied that the song is a magical summons to the Court itself, which can be heard through coins at a distance like through a conch shell, helping it spread.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: From the Pirate Lords of the Seven Seas, using the Nine Pieces of Eight. Calypso isn't too happy with their request, but since she's even more pissed at Davy Jones, the maelstrom she whips up helps them out more than their foes.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Jack has one of these moments when trying to make sense of the map:
    Jack Sparrow: [reads the map] "Up is down." Well, that's just maddeningly unhelpful. Why are these things never clear?
    Left Mini-Jack: Clear as mud, Jackie.
    Jack: What?
    Left Mini-Jack: Stab the heart.
    Right Mini-Jack: Don't stab the heart.
    Jack: Come again?
    Right Mini-Jack: The Dutchman must have a captain.
    Jack: Well, that's even more than less than unhelpful.
    Left Mini-Jack: Sail the seas for eternity.
    Jack: I love the sea.
    Left Mini-Jack: What about port?
    Jack: I prefer rum, rum's good.
    Left Mini-Jack: Making port.
    Right Mini-Jack: Well, we can get rum and salty wenches once every 10 years.
    Left Mini-Jack: What'd he say?
    Jack: Once every 10 years.
    Left Mini-Jack: 10 years is a long time, mate.
    Jack: Even longer, given the deficit of rum.
    Left Mini-Jack: But eternity is longer still.
    Right Mini-Jack: And how will you be spending it? Dead? Or not?
    Left Mini-Jack: The immortal Captain Sparrow.
    Jack: Ooh, I like that.
    Right Mini-Jack: Come sunset, it won't matter.
    Jack: Not sunset... [Jack re-examines the map] "Sundown and rise up."
  • Gratuitous Latin: The Latin phrase that Jack quotes, "Res ipsa loquitur, tabula in naufragio." Literally for the first part, "The thing itself speaks", usually taken to mean "The thing speaks for itself" or "The facts speaks for themselves" in contemporary legal matters. Jack is trying to point out that, as difficult as it is for him to accept, Elizabeth's wanting to fight is the best option... for now. The second part means "plank in a shipwreck," and generally means something that will keep you from failing when in a terrible situation.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Davy Jones is revealed (among other things) as the one responsible for Calypso's binding, making him responsible for the whole's trilogy conflict.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: When Will Turner reappears after becoming captain of the Flying Dutchman, the scar from his impromptu heart surgery is visible high on the left side of the chest.
  • Hidden Depths: Ragetti points out the (dead) kraken is actually a cephalopod, not a fish, when Pintel taunts its corpse. He later releases Calypso from imprisonment by whispering to her as if to a lover.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • You know Pirate Lord Mistress Ching? She's based on pirate Ching Shih, who was an absurdly successful Chinese pirate queen, who commanded the largest pirate fleet in history. She was so good, in fact, that the government allowed her to retire because they couldn't actually beat her. She's in the wrong century, but Rule of Cool.
    • The pirate lord of the Indian Ocean, Sumbhajee, was a real person as well, though he's less time-displaced than Ching.
  • Homage Shot: The shot of the ship sailing on the night sky was an homage to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
  • Hostage-Handler Huddle: One such exchange takes place when Barbossa reveals his plan to unbind Calypso to the other pirate lords:
    Pirate 1: Shoot him!
    Pirate 2: CUT OUT HIS TONGUE!
    Jack Sparrow: Shoot him AND cut out his tongue, and shoot his tongue... and trim that scraggly beard!
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Norrington's reason for freeing Elizabeth and committing a Heroic Sacrifice to effect her escape.
  • Imminent Danger Clue: Twice in one scene. The first is when Sao Feng sees a nearby pirate's fake tattoos melting off in the bathhouse and realizes he's a spy. The second is when Barbossa tells Sao Feng he's not their spy either, and both sides simultaneously realize whose spy he actually is, right before the EITC breaks down the doors.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Barbossa tells Sao Feng he has nothing but peaceable intentions, immediately afterwards, his crewmembers who are hiding under the floorboards toss swords up to him and Elizabeth, who catch the swords without missing a beat.
  • In the Doldrums: Davey Jones' Locker is a barren wasteland (for a while, anyways). Nothing but perfectly flat, white desert in every direction. It's called "The Doldrums" twice, and it is true to the original definition — it is a sailor's hell, after all: no wind to sail on nor even water to sail in; just Jack, his ship, and a bunch of crabs.
  • In-Universe Factoid Failure: Jack admits to the wenches that he didn't know Pizarro, but he then claims to love Pizarro's pies.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • When they first met in The Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack cut a deal that Elizabeth found underhanded and horrifying, especially as how it worked to her personal detriment. She protested, to receive only:
      Jack: Pirate!
    • In this movie, Elizabeth cuts a deal with Beckett that Barbossa doesn't approve of. He protests.
      Elizabeth: King!
  • Ironic Hell: For Jack, the Black Pearl has always represented the freedom to go anywhere and do as he pleases. In the Doldrums of Davy Jones' Locker, he has his ship, but there's no sea to sail it on and nowhere to go.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: The pirates' guns don't work with wet powder.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Jack suggests not releasing Calypso mainly so he can advocate his own plan, but he points out Calypso isn't going to be thankful and will take her anger out on them. Indeed, she is plotting to violently kill them all at that very moment.
  • Keystone Army: The enormous Imperial Armada Beckett brought with him to annihilate the pirates: they all turn tail and run when the Endeavour is sunk, despite it being heavily implied that they vastly outnumber the entire pirate fleet. This may simply be a case of Lazy Backup, but on the other hand, they are up against the Black Pearl, which is pretty infamous for her actions, as well as the Flying Dutchman, which would probably have made it a Curb-Stomp Battle given how everyone keeps saying "Control the Dutchman, control the seas."
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Jack, while in Davy Jones' locker, "kills" another Jack for not doing a satisfactory job.
      Captain Jack: Mister Sparrow! What say you of this tack iron?
      Crewman Jack: It be proper to my eyes, sir.
      Captain Jack: It is not proper, nor suitable, not adequate, nor acceptable. It is in fact an abomination.
      Crewman Jack: Begging pardon sir, but p'rhaps if you gave a man another chance?
      Captain Jack: Shall we? [runs him through with his sword] That sort of thinking is what got us into this mess.
    • Davy Jones really shows pride and craftmanship in exercising this trope every chance he gets.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: In the vote for Pirate King, every pirate has voted for themselves as they always do... when it gets around to Jack. Jack realizes he isn't going to win and having the vote fail works against his interests, so he can essentially make whoever he wants king. And since newly minted Pirate Lord Elizabeth Swann just seconded his plan...
  • Large Ham: Barbossa was a little more subdued in the previous film, but here he is clearly enjoying himself and living LARGE after being brought back to life.
  • Lazy Backup: The final battle. The Black Pearl faces down the Flying Dutchman, and then Beckett's Endeavour, without any help from the pirate armada assembled behind them. Justified because the maelstrom prevents other ships from intervening. And once again, when the Dutchman does its Heel–Face Turn, Beckett's much-larger armada may be scarpering because the situation has just gotten too weird to cope with, or perhaps they just don't care for the man enough to continue fighting after his death.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Jack's motive for wanting to stab Davy Jones's heart. Jones is already enjoying the fruits of this trope as the immortal lord of the sea.
  • Loophole Abuse: Davy Jones can only touch land once every ten years... so when there's a truce being held on a small stretch of dry land, he attends the meeting by standing in a shallow bucket of water so he's not technically touching the land.
  • Loss of Identity:
    • Already a problem for the Flying Dutchman's crew as established in the last film, it kicks into overdrive in this one, with the crew largely reduced to a single-minded hoard, who repeat each other's sentences.
    • After falling past the Despair Event Horizon, Bootstrap's been afflicted as well, merging with the ship, and becoming incapable of remembering things for very long. After meeting Elizabeth, he loses even that, becoming part of the ship.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Davy Jones. When Calypso broke his heart, he said to hell with all of it and shirked his rightful duties, which led to him and his crew becoming corrupted and inhuman.
  • Madness Mantra: The clearest sign of Bootstrap Bill losing his mind is when he starts repeating "Part of the crew, part of the ship." After Davy Jones' death, the entire remaining crew of the Flying Dutchman start speaking that mantra in unison as Bill carves his son's heart out to make him captain.
  • Magic Map: The charts acquired early in the movie can guide the reader to sites that will never appear on more accurate charts, and also bear vague warnings to aid in overcoming obstacles.
  • Married at Sea: Elizabeth and Will get married by Barbossa in the middle of the climactic battle.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The assembled pirate fleet at Shipwreck Cove starts to cheer as the first East India Company ship comes into sight. It then rapidly loses all of its bravado when dozens of other ships also appear.
  • Mauve Shirt: A couple of them, the most prominent being Tai Huang, Sao Feng's mustachioed Number Two who sails with the heroes to Davy Jones' Locker, outlives his employer and later escapes the Flying Dutchman with Elizabeth.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Elizabeth quotes Barbossa's speech to the Brethren Court when she's later addressing the crew of the Black Pearl.
    • The Madness Mantra of Bootstrap Bill and the other Dutchman crew members. "Part of the crew, part of the ship..."
  • Mexican Standoff: A particularly interesting one, involving five people (one of whom isn't even directly related to the argument and pulls out his guns because everyone else does), each with two guns pointing at two other people. During the course of a conversation, they constantly switch who they are pointing their guns at. The whole thing becomes moot when Jack tries to shoot Barbossa, and the shot is a dud. This prompts everyone else to fire at each other, with the same result. Turns out that all the guns were waterlogged.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: One after Elizabeth's Rousing Speech drives all the pirate crews to truly fight for their way of life. They raise their banners and prepare for the fight while most of the captains stand motionless as the colors are raised.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: When Barbossa details his plan to free Calypso from her mortal form, Sao Feng thinks he's talking about Elizabeth, turning her into a Living MacGuffin for a brief round of pirate negotiations.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The faint sounds that accompany the black screen just before cutting to Jack Sparrow's first scene in the film, is audio from the original Disney Parks POTC attractions.
    • The location of the Fountain of Youth shown on the mystical chart is the general location of Orlando, Florida.
    • Johnny Depp based many of his signature mannerisms for Jack Sparrow on Keith Richards, reasoning that pirates were the rock stars of their time. Here, he plays Jack's father, Captain Teague.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Norrington frees Elizabeth and Sao Feng's crew, he leaves the cell unlocked, allowing Bootstrap to get free, resulting in his own death.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Nine Pieces of Eight — they're actually just bits of junk (a cup, a pince-nez, Ragetti's wooden eye, etc.) the first Brethren Court was carrying, because they were, to a man, flat broke.
    Pintel: So change the name!
    Gibbs: What, to "Nine-Pieces-of-Whatever-We Happen-to-Have-in-Our-Pockets-at-the-Time"? Ohhh, yes, that sounds very piratey.
  • Nothing Personal: Beckett uses those exact words as he prepares to renege on his agreement with Sparrow.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • The Kraken is killed offscreen, with only a throwaway comment and a scene where they find the body afterward.
    • Immediately after the maelstrom fight ends, several ships from both pirate and East India Company fleets can be seen in the background either sinking or burning.
  • One-Woman Wail: Heard when Davy Jones' heart is stabbed and he plummets off the Flying Dutchman.
  • Orbital Kiss: At the climax, after Will and Elizabeth's Wartime Wedding at Sea while That One Theme plays.
  • Papa Wolf: Watching Davy Jones stab his boy breaks Bootstrap Bill Turner out of his Loss of Identity and he furiously throws himself on his captain.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A quick one for Davy Jones: seeing incoming cannon fire, he throws himself on Mercer to protect him from the blast. The fact that he quickly remembers he hates the man and promptly chokes him to death just reinforces the fact that he would have protected any member of his crew in the same way — or he just wanted the pleasure of personally throttling Mercer.
    • Jack also gets one when he helps the dying Will stab Davy Jones' heart, and thus gives up his chance at immortality (which he had been working for during the entire film) to save Will's life.
  • Pirate Song: In the opening, "Hoist the Colors" is sung by several pirates being executed.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Suggested by Pintel after a failed Mexican Standoff between Jack, Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa. They fire their pistols, but the powder is wet.
    Pintel: We can still use 'em as clubs! [Ragetti bonks him on the head with a pistol]
  • Poking Dead Things with a Stick: Upon discovering the kraken's massive carcass washed up on a beach, Pintel and Ragetti poke one of its tentacles with a branch and then climb on top of it after confirming it is dead.
  • Power High: When Tia Dalma is released from her human form and regains her godly powers by becoming Calypso, she makes a familiar expression that makes her enjoyment very evident.
  • Recoiled Across the Room: Played for Laughs when Marty charges up a ramp, fires a gigantic blunderbuss, and is thrown back down the ramp.
  • Record Needle Scratch: In the form of Teague snapping a string on the guitar he's playing in response to Jack questioning the other Pirate Lords if they intend on breaking the Code by refusing Elizabeth's election to Pirate King.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For poor James Norrington. Rescues Elizabeth from the Flying Dutchman, and gets a wooden spear in the gut for his trouble.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: Barbossa, Will, and Elizabeth (each for their own reasons) lead an expedition to Davy Jones' Locker to rescue Jack Sparrow from his Ironic Hell.
  • Ridiculously Difficult Route: Getting from the normal world to Davy Jones' Locker involves sailing through a frozen sea, into an ice cavern, and straight off the edge of the map. Literally. And getting back is harder.
    Barbossa: We're good and lost now.
    Elizabeth: Lost!?
    Barbossa: For certain ye have to be lost to find a place as can't be found. Elseways everyone would know where it was.
  • Rousing Speech: Barbossa gives one to the Brethren Court about reclaiming their roles as masters of the sea through honest work and not using someone like Davy Jones or Calypso to give them assistance. He really seems to mean it, too, and Elizabeth's repeating his words later convinces him to go all-in with helping. Though her version is the truly moving, awesome one.
    Captain Barbossa: Revenge won't bring your father back, Miss Swann, and it's not something I'm intending to die for.
    Pirate King Captain Elizabeth Swann: You're right... [walks back a few steps towards the crew] Then what shall we die for?
    Elizabeth: You will listen to me... LISTEN! The Brethren will still be looking here to us, to the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No... No, they will see free men! And FREEDOM! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what WE can do! By the sweat of our brows... And the strength of our backs... And the courage of our hearts! Gentlemen... Hoist the colors.
    Will: [nodding] Hoist the colors.
    Ragetti: Hoist the colors.
    Pintel: Hoist the colors!
    Gibbs: Aye. The winds on our side, boys! That's all we need!
    [all cheer]
    Pirate King Captain Elizabeth: [screaming] HOIST THE COLORS!
  • Rule of Cool: Given as the in-universe reason why the Brethren Court calls their "Pieces of Eight" by that name:
    Pintel: Those aren't pieces of eight. They're just pieces of junk!
    Gibbs: Aye, the original plan was to use nine Pieces of Eight to bind Calypso, but when the first court met the Brethren were, to a one, skint broke.
    Pintel: So change the name!
    Gibbs: What, to "Nine-Pieces-of-Whatever-We-Happen-to-Have-in-Our-Pockets-at-the-Time"? Oh yes, that sounds very piratey!
  • Sadistic Choice: Jack realizes that Will is faced with one: he wants to save his father from Davy Jones, but the one who kills Davy Jones must take his place as captain of the Flying Dutchman, meaning that Will would be separated from Elizabeth. Jack, who seeks Jones' immortality, offers Will a third option: he be the one to kill Jones and become the Dutchman's captain, and then free Will's father. Will points out that if Jack takes Jones' place, he'd have to be the one to ferry souls to the afterlife, or else be mutated like Jones.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: The Black Pearl, and Jack Sparrow with it, have been cast into Davy Jones' Locker, an endless, flat white desert. It's an Ironic Hell for Jack — he has his ship, but no sea to sail it on.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!: Justified and subverted. It turns out there is a good reason why, while all pirate characters bend the ever-living hell out of the Pirates' Code to suit their needs, they never actually violate the Exact Words, and that reason is Captain Edward Teague, the Keeper of the Code. When one of the Indian pirates says "Hang the Code!" without knowing Teague is present, Teague immediately shoots him dead and asserts "The Code is the law", which makes all of the other pirates in the room, the so-called "Pirate Kings" included, immediately ditch that train of thought.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end, Jack sets a course for the Fountain of Youth using Sao Feng's maps.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Calypso's entire subplot actually adds nothing to the film except to have everybody running around for a while. The filmmakers suggest that the maelstrom scene was designed so that she would "Provide the arena," which pretty clearly translates to, "Yeah, we weren't really sure what she was doing in our script either."
  • She Is the King: Elizabeth Swann, Pirate King. They're just giving the bloody title away! The Nine Pirate Lords themselves have two females among them.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Making the scene where Teague shoots someone at the Pirate Lords' meeting for questioning the Code, it's not even the speaker's idea to question it: he's a mouthpiece for one of the Lords, and was just saying what his boss wanted him to.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The musical lockets representing the connection of Davy Jones with Tia Dalma is taken from the connection of the musical pocket-watches in For a Few Dollars More.
    • The theme music during the sandbar parlay is near-identical to one during the final duel in Once Upon a Time in the West.
    • The shots of Beckett as the serene center of the screen as his ship disintegrates around him are extremely similar to shots of Scorpius in a similar situation in the Farscape episode "Into the Lion's Den".
  • Shown Their Work: The Green Flash is a very rare optical illusion, caused by refraction of light in the atmosphere. It is indeed best glimpsed at sea.
  • Shrunken Head: During a conversation with Captain Teague (his father), Jack asks, "How's Mum?" Teague shows him a shrunken woman's head.
    Jack: She looks great...
  • Sinister Suffocation: Davy Jones kills Ian Mercer by suffocating the man with his tentacles, all the while sporting a sinister grin on his face. This murder is meant to symbolize Jones' anguish and hatred after being forced to serve the East India Trading Company, and is uncharacteristically drawn-out and gruesome as a result.
  • Slasher Smile: Tia Dalma sports one in Singapore when her booby trap blows up a dozen Mooks.
  • Someone Has to Do It: "The Dutchman must have a captain." And if the position is ever vacant, well, You Kill It, You Bought It. Though it's never made clear as to what happens if the Dutchman's captain attempts to commit suicide.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, a Time Skip of ten years shows Elizabeth and her son awaiting the reappearance of Will from his duties aboard the Dutchman.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: A Mexican Standoff instantly and literally fizzles out when everyone has just come up from underwater, so all their guns are completely waterlogged.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Governor Swan is killed off-screen by Beckett's orders, after he learns too much. It even appears to be one in-universe, since when he sees Elizabeth in Davy Jones's locker, he actually seems confused as to whether he's dead.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: During the Mexican Standoff mentioned above, after a minute goes by they all start laughing... but then they remember that, yes, they do all have people to threaten.
  • The Unintelligible: Calypso, when in 50 foot giant form, rants unintelligible things at the pirates after they set her free. Word of God says that she's cursing them, and basically telling them to go fuck themselves. This ties into what Jack said; no matter that they've freed her, she was still imprisoned before that, and is not happy about the time she spent confined in a human body. And she's not entirely unintelligible — French speakers get a Bilingual Bonus in the form of two very familiar and vulgar syllables: "Va chier!" (a scatological version of "Go fuck yourself").
  • Vapor Wear:
    • After an Extended Disarming sequence in Singapore, Elizabeth is left wearing only a shirt. Ragetti, who is hiding under the floorboards, gets a peep up her dress and informs Pintel. During the interval, however, Elizabeth has moved forward, resulting in Pintel getting an eyeful of the privates of one of Sao Feng's male group.
    • Unlike Elizabeth's "corset", this is a rare (probably accidental) bit of authenticity: panties (and male underpants) haven't been invented yet — nobody wore anything under between their undersides and their clothes but a "shift" (the garment Elizabeth spends most of the first film in) if they were female or a long shirt if they were male (or a cross-dressing female pirate, of course.)
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Those familiar with ocean weather patterns get an Oh, Crap! moment when two captains facing off both claim the wind is on their side. Cue the maelstrom.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Beckett goes completely lifeless when both the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman are preparing to blow him to pieces.
  • Visual Innuendo:
    • Barbossa and Jack, feuding over who is captaining the Black Pearl, both pull out their telescopes. Jack is disappointed when his is significantly smaller. Later, he steps up to the rail with an enormous, sagging spyglass. Barbossa gives him an Aside Glance.
    • At the gathering of the Brethren Court, Barbossa bangs on a table with a chain shot (two cannonballs connected by a chain) for emphasis. Later he stands up and we have a perfectly framed shot of his legs, with the two cannonballs dangling in between.
      Jack: Whose boons? Your boons?
  • Vocal Dissonance: One of the Pirate Lords has his underlings speak for him at the meeting, because his own voice is very high and squeaky.
  • Wartime Wedding: Will and Elizabeth not only get married in the middle of a war, but in the middle of a battle. On a pirate ship.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: The secret entry to Davy Jones's locker apparently involves sailing right over the edge of the world — once you get to a place where the Earth is no longer round.
  • Wedding Smashers: Inverted — Will and Elizabeth interrupt the battle with their wedding, seeing how they could be about to die.
  • Wham Line: Davy Jones gives one when Will reveals to him and Beckett that the Brethren Court intends to release Calypso.
    Davy Jones: No! They cannot! The first Court promised to imprison her forever! That was our agreement!
    Beckett: Your agreement?
    Davy Jones: I... showed them how to bind her. She could not be trusted. I... she gave me no choice!
  • What Would X Do?: When Jack is imprisoned, he escapes by imagining what Will would do.
    Jack: [muttering to himself] Think like the whelp. Think like the whelp.
  • Woman Scorned: If Calypso is released, as Jack points out during the Brethren Court, she would be an incredibly angry god who's just gotten all her powers back. He even mentions the trope by name. Not helping is that just as she is released, Will clues her in on the fact that only Davy Jones could've given the original court the means to betray her.
    Jack: As my learned colleague so naively suggests, we can release Calypso, and we can pray that she will be merciful... I rather doubt it. Can we, in fact, pretend that she is anything other than a woman scorned, like which fury Hell hath no? We cannot.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The opening scene shows that Beckett is willing to execute children for being pirates, in order to draw out his real foes, the Court of the Brethren.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Davy Jones likes to ask men about to die whether they fear death, as he can offer them servitude on his ship instead. When he asks Norrington, all he gets is a stab in response. He says he takes that as a "no".
  • You Are in Command Now: When Sao Feng is mortally wounded while sailing to Shipwreck Cove, he uses his last moments to name Elizabeth his successor as Captain and a Pirate Lord, giving her his Piece of Eight. Of course, he was under the impression that Elizabeth was Calypso, and she did nothing to disabuse him of this notion.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Whoever kills Davy Jones has to take his place. Cue dilemmas for Will, who swore an oath to kill Davy Jones, and Jack, who thinks Living Forever Is Awesome. But there's a catch — do the job of ferrying souls to the afterlife, or become a Cthulhumanoid like Jones. In the end, Jack helps Will to kill Jones as an Emergency Transformation. Ten years at sea is preferable to immediate death, for both Will and Elizabeth.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: Combined with Weaponized Stench. Jack weaponizes his bad breath to make Will fall off of the Black Pearl.


Video Example(s):


Standoff on the Black Pearl

When Jack is pulled back from Davy Jones's locker, Barbossa intends to take him, as two of the nine pirate lords, to the Brethren Court to help stand against Cutler Becket. Jack initially refuses, considering the considerable amount of people currently present that tried to kill him, including the one that succeeded, leading to a standoff. Ultimately averted, as waterlogged powder from the journey back from the Locker rendered everyone's guns useless anyway.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / MexicanStandoff

Media sources: