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YMMV / Pirates of the Caribbean

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Works in this franchise with their own YMMV pages:

Reactions to the ride and other parts of the franchise:

  • Broken Base:
    • The ride's Slow-Paced Beginning through Dead Man's Cove: riders either see it as padding on an already lengthy ride, or an ingenious way to acclimate riders to the world of the pirates before throwing them in the thick of the chaos. One factor to this is how important the worldbuilding and symbolism in Dead Man's Cove is to the individual rider.
    • Refurbishments to the Disneyland Paris and American rides revised the auction scene from a male pirate selling wenches into forced marriage to male and female pirates selling chickens and stolen rum. Some riders have thanked Disney for removing a scene that seemed to make light of human trafficking, for allowing the redhead wench to level up from eye candy to piracy, and even giving her the name Redd in a nod to her Fan Nickname "the Redhead". Other riders see the change as an overreaction to an attraction that never seemed to encourage human trafficking, especially since it was implied "the Redhead" was actually a prostitute who merely saw the pirates' invasion as a profitable night. Another camp suggests that Disney could have compromised by showing Redd actively fending off the men who objectified her, which wouldn't have required replacing all of the dialogue.
  • Cult Classic:
  • The now discontinued MMORPG has a small but dedicated fanbase— so much so that there's an ongoing project to recreate it!
  • The A. C. Crispin novel The Price of Freedom is one of the darkest novels Disney has ever published. Most of the fans who've read it love it, yet it's relatively unknown and it isn't considered canonical with the new movies. That hasn't stopped it from developing a small but loyal fanbase who approach the later films with Fanon Discontinuity.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The ride takes some time before it gets to where the pirates actually are (Puerto Dorado on Isla Tesoro, where they're causing chaos). Beforehand, riders are sent down the quiet waters of Louisiana, before being dropped into a cavernous area where the remains of deceased pirates lay.

Reactions to multiple films:

  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was expected to be a flop by many entertainment writers. The film was conceived by Disney as the second of three Disney park ride adaptations, along with The Country Bears and The Haunted Mansion (2003), at the time considered a bizarre concept to base a film upon. The pirate subgenre had also seen numerous costly flops, with Cutthroat Island being one of the biggest money losers ever. Eisner also hated Johnny Depp's eccentric performance of Captain Jack Sparrow, at one point yelling on set that Depp was "ruining the film." The film took off at the box office, buoyed by positive reviews and word of mouth and ended up becoming one of the highest grossing films of 2003, and Depp himself was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor. The second film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, was an even bigger hit, setting the North American opening weekend record and was the highest grossing film of 2006.
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • The original theme park rides, which were always among Disney's most popular attractions, were modified to include elements from the films after complaints from patrons wondering where Jack was.
    • Disney purposefully tried to invoke this with the marketing for the original film by making almost no mention that it was a Disney film, as they were worried that the Disney connection would make older demographics not take the movie seriously and avoid seeing it.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Norrington is seen by some as a bastard Inspector Javert who was only trying to save his own hide and honor, and others 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.
    • Captain Jack Sparrow may be a Lovable Rogue, rebel and Genius Ditz, or a deceptively evil man who manipulates the goodwill of others and is merely the lesser of two evils when compared to someone like Barbossa. One of Beckett's mooks in the third film even asks out loud, "Do you think he plans it out or does he just make it up as he goes along?"
  • Arc Fatigue: Jack's relentless attempts to get the Black Pearl continue across every film. He lost it to Barbossa in a mutiny prior to the films. The first film ends with Jack getting the ship back after being separated from it for 10 years, but in the second, Davy Jones uses his kraken to take the Black Pearl (and Jack) down to Davy Jones' Locker. The ship returns to the sea in the third movie as a flagship of the Brethren Court and commanded by Barbossa until he abandons Jack again, putting Jack back to where he started in the first film. Blackbeard initially claims he sank the Black Pearl before the fourth film before it's revealed that he actually shrank it into a bottle as a trophy. Jack finally gets it back, but it can't be sailed like that. The Black Pearl finally returns to its normal size in the fifth movie... and is taken by Barbossa yet again while Jack is still a prisoner. Jack ending the film with the Pearl doesn't feel triumphant or satisfying after dragging on so long.
  • Award Snub: None of the film scores received even a nomination for Best Original Score from the Academy despite being iconic and widely praised.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann as a pair receive polarized reactions. They are each beloved by their fans who are glad they get more focus and Character Development in the second and third movies, miss them in the fourth movie, and think they help balance Jack's wackiness and antics. Fans of both characters tend to consider the couple their One True Pairing. Detractors think Will and Elizabeth take attention away from more interesting characters and are a Romantic Plot Tumor when together; these fans were glad Will and Elizabeth were both absent from the fourth movie.
    • Jack Sparrow is an increasingly divisive character as the sequels progress. He began as the Breakout Character of the first movie and became a protagonist in the last few movies. Some fans like this since he's the most popular character of the franchise and they prefer him as the primary protagonist over Will and Elizabeth. Other fans feel like he and the films are less interesting when the focus is on him, that he's the Spotlight-Stealing Squad to the rest of the cast, and that the increased focus on him led to Sequelitis.
    • Jack Sparrow's father Edward Teague and his Uncle Jack are both cameos from notable rock stars (Keith Richards and Paul McCartney). While some like their appearances and find their cameos hilarious, others think they are pointless and distracting detours in movies that are already overloaded.
    • Captain Barbossa was a highlight of the first movie for many fans, but his return divided the base. Some cheered for his return and others disliked how he became an Anti-Hero when he was previously the Big Bad. His turn as a privateer for most of the fourth movie was disliked by some for turning a pirate trying to gain his freedom into a privateer in service of the Crown, and enjoyed by those (including Geoffrey Rush) who feel this was a new and interesting facet of the character that explored how Barbossa would handle that particular situation. The fifth movie made him even more of a base-breaker by turning him into Carina Smyth's lost parent who made a Heroic Sacrifice for her, with some finding it added depth to him and others considering it out-of-character.
  • Broken Base:
    • Part of the fandom likes how the plots become more and more complicated, and feel like this turns the franchise into something more interesting than your average adventure-fantasy franchise. Other fans prefer the more adventure-based style of the original and the fourth movie, and feel like the franchise became needlessly complicated instead of focusing on the fun parts; they consider the plots of the movies their weakest aspect.
    • Regarding the first three films, fans disagree about who is the overall protagonist. Jack becomes a protagonist in the second and third, but some fans say they've been about Jack all along. Other fans and Word of God say the story starts to be about Elizabeth, or the series is about Will.
    • Fans disagree over whether the film series should return to the storylines and characters from On Stranger Tides, move forward with sequels to Dead Men Tell No Tales, revitalize itself with an entirely new set of characters and stories, or simply end. The fan base had polarized responses to On Stranger Tides, often based on whether or not they enjoyed the focus on Jack and the absence of Will and Elizabeth.
  • 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:
    • Lord Cutler Beckett (in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), Blackbeard, Armando Salazar and Jolly Roger. See those pages for details.
    • The Price of Freedom prequel novel, by A. C. Crispin: Ian Mercer is the stoically sadistic right-hand man of Cutler Beckett, aiding his employer in a scheme of mass murder and slavery. A lover of torture who brags of his dozens of successful "interrogations" after a prisoner kills himself rather than face more of Mercer's brutality, Mercer tries to track down a variety of slaves for the express purpose of torturing them for information on their home island of Kerma. Mercer and Beckett intend to find Kerma, raid the island for its massive gold supply, and wipe out most of the populace before selling any survivors into their slave trade. When Jack Sparrow thwarts the invasion of Kerma, Mercer giddily takes part in Jack's branding as a pirate before destroying his cherished ship The Wicked Wench just to torment him.
  • Crazy Is Cool:
    • 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.
  • Critical Dissonance: The sequels have received progressively worse reviews, yet fans were much kinder to Dead Man's Chest and to a lesser extent At World's End, which both received a decent 72% user score on Rotten Tomatoes. The fourth and fifth installments received much more mixed scores.
  • Creator Worship: Gore Verbinski is seen as this by many fans, especially by those who consider the fourth and fifth movie as Sequelitis, with many going as far as stating that his departure from the franchise is the main reason for the decay in both popularity and quality. If you look for fan forums about the future of the franchise, chances are at least one fan mentions that he should return because Only the Creator Does It Right. Incidentally, he was offered the chance to direct the fifth one, but refused because he saw no reason for it to exist other than money, and directed At World's End with the intent of it resolving everyone's stories so that there wouldn't be another movie.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Gibbs is loved for his hilarious lines and his Undying Loyalty to Jack Sparrow. Even the writers consider him the most virtuous character of the series.
    • Pintel and Ragetti, the pair of pirates who captured Elizabeth in the first movie and become accidental members of the Jack Sparrow's crew in the sequels, are beloved for how funny they are thanks to their general incompetence, their bizarre personal quirks, their hate for the parley, and their dynamics together.
    • Murtogg and Mullroy, the heroic counterparts of Pintel and Ragetti, are very popular despite only appearing in 3 scenes in the entire trilogy. Their scene in The Curse of The Black Pearl is one of the most quoted scenes of the series.
    • Lieutenant Groves for his Hero-Worshipper moments to Jack and having one of the most memed quotes of the series ("That's got to be the best pirate I've ever seen."). He also seems to be one of the few decent human beings in both the British Navy and the East India Trading Company, showing many times uncomfortable when Beckett or Barbossa do horrible things.
    • Cotton the mute pirate and his parrot have gained fans for the bizarre way that the parrot somehow speaks for the tongueless Cotton.
    • Lieutenant Gillette, Commodore Norrington's second-in-command, is very popular among the Yaoi Fangirl population.
    • Jack the Monkey fans love his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis relationship with Jack. The monkey is clever and one of the few who can actually make the pirate angry, especially since We Named the Monkey "Jack".
    • Scarlett and Giselle, the strumpets who always slap Jack in Tortuga, are so beloved that they got their own Short Film.
    • The Prison Dog for his Noodle Incident nature of returning no matter what happened the last time we saw him.
    • Tia Dalma, the mysterious voodoo woman who helps the Black Pearl and is secretly the sea goddess Calypso and Davy Jones' ex-lover, is a fan-favorite.
    • Jack Sparrow's father, Edward Teague, only appears in two scenes in the entire franchise, but is the only pirate everyone respects and fears. He's played by Keith Richards, who inspired Depp's mannerisms as Jack.
    • The comedic pirate musician Scrum was popular enough to be the only character introduced in the fourth movie to return to the franchise.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Many Pirates of the Caribbean fans tend to like One Piece due to similar pirate theme and the bizarrely funny nature of the series.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Even one professional movie critic saw it:
      [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.
  • Iron Woobie: Norrington, who is beaten a lot in a trilogy-wide Trauma Conga Line before being killed.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: Pearl pitched Jack against a crew of undead pirates. Chest pitched Jack against a crew of underwater monster pirates. End pitched Jack against vicious pirate hunters. Tides pitched Jack again against a crew of undead pirates. Tales pitches Jack against vicious, undead, underwater monster pirate hunters.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Davy Jones. He's ruthless, but only got that way due to a broken (and later removed...) heart.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Many viewers couldn't care less about Will, Elizabeth or the overall story of the movies, and just want to enjoy Johnny Depp's performance as Jack Sparrow.
    • With the pirate genre becoming more and more rare as time passes, the film series has become one of the few modern pirate-related properties and attracts many viewers who see it as an alternative to more popular and over-saturated genres.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Those navigating and sailing the harsh seas and finding success and victory, ye best be smart and on top o' yer game like these here!:
    • Captain Jack Sparrow, one of the nine "Pirate Lords" and the most famed pirate of the Caribbean, lured Capitán Armando Salazar to his doom at the start of his pirating career with little but his wits. Later escaping the clutches of the wicked Cutler Beckett and the mutiny of his treacherous crew, Jack dreams of recovering the Black Pearl and uses the begrudging William "Will" Turner to do so. Performing a series of elaborate double and triple crosses to manipulate both the Navy and cursed pirates against one another, Jack ends up on the side of good to defeat his traitorous former First Mate Hector Barbossa. When Beckett emerges and the feared Davy Jones is after him, Jack bargains for time from Jones to steal his disembodied heart. Returning from death, Jack makes Elizabeth Swann the King of the Pirates' Brethren Court while setting her and Will up to escape Beckett and allow Jack to take Jones' place, a dream he abandons to save the mortally wounded Will. Later forced to assist Edward "Blackbeard" Teach in a quest for the Fountain of Youth, Jack tricks the feared pirate into sacrificing his life for his daughter Angelica and later provides a way for his old rival and sometimes-friend Barbossa to give his life to save Barbossa's daughter Carina. Rarely at a loss for words or plots, Jack routinely comes up with plans on the fly, so talented that some wonder if he has things planned out or makes them up as he goes along.
    • Hector Barbossa was once the First Mate to Captain Jack Sparrow aboard the Black Pearl until instituting a mutiny to take over the ship and being cursed as an immortal skeleton with certain human senses gone being cursed as an immortal skeleton with certain human senses gone. Seeking William "Will" Turner to break said curse, Barbossa incites an invasion of Port Royal and abducts Elizabeth Swann thinking she's the descendant he needs and uses a lot of double-talk to arrange circumstances to his liking at each turn. Barbossa then uses Elizabeth as leverage to get Will in his possession, distracting the British Navy with an attack and nearly succeeds in sacrificing Will in order to restore his humanity, only to be killed when the curse is broken. Resurrected not long after, Barbossa seeks to bring Jack back from Davy Jones's locker` while also fighting Lord Cutler Beckett and the East India Trading Company and releasing the Goddess Calypso "from [her] human bonds" to get her assistance. Eventually taking down Blackbeard for his ship and power and then seeking to protect his capitalization on all things piracy, Barbossa willing chooses to finally give it all up for the sake of the survival of his own daughter Carina, his true "Treasure".
    • Elizabeth Swann, daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann, helped saved William "Will" Turner from drowning, hiding his pirate connection from her father's men. When the Black Pearl attacks Port Royal, Elizabeth uses her knowledge of the "Pirate Code" to get an audience with Barbossa, tricking him into thinking she is the Turner child he is looking for. When she is marooned on an island with Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth uses its hidden rum bottles to build a signal fire to alert the Navy as to where they are and later aids Jack's escape attempt by pretending to faint. When imprisoned by Lord Cutler Beckett, Elizabeth uses her father's failed rescue attempt in order to take Beckett himself hostage, forcing him to sign the pardon papers for Will and using a fake ghost to scare an entire ship into taking her where she needs to go. Later Elizabeth uses Jack's feelings for her to trap him on the ship as the Kraken attacks. Being made captain of the Empress and voted the Pirate King, Elizabeth leads the fight against the East India Trading Company and the Flying Dutchman, before settling down to raise her and Will's son, reuniting with her husband years later.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • 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.
  • One True Threesome: Jack/Will/Elizabeth is quite popular, and supported by the film's Love Triangle.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Shansa and Scarfield suffer this to some degree for being Suspiciously Similar Substitute of Tia Dalma and Norrington respectibly, two of the most popular characters of the fandom without having enough screentime to make them feel unique enough to justify it. Shansa got it worse since she only had two scenes and fulfill the same role on Tia Dalma in DMC (give some advice about the enemy and an artifact that can help them in their adventure), while Scarfield at least is shown to be more of a Jerkass and having the role of the Hate Sink instead of The Woobie without redeemable qualities, it still follows the same role that Norrington had in the original movie but without getting any significant action sequences,which make many feel his character was redundant to the plot.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Anamaria. Hey, kids! It's Neytiri! Or Nyota Uhura! And Gamora!
  • 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.
    • It happens again with Henry and Carina in Dead Men Tell No Tales. This franchise clearly doesn't have a very good track record when it comes to this trope. (Though to their credit, their chemistry is more natural, and it leads to some of the movie’s best laughs).
  • 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. In Curse of the Black Pearl, Norrington and the Royal Navy are at worst anti villains, making it easy to cheer for them instead of (or at least along with) Jack and Will.
    • 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-Villain 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 missionary and Syrena for being a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to the couple of Will and Elizabeth, Many people thought they feel out of place with the rest of the cast (a priest in a pirate ship) and like Flat Characters who just slow down the plot even more.
    • Between the villains, Barbossa and Davy Jones are some of the most popular characters of the franchise, Beckett and Mercer had some fans too and Salazar and Angelica are base-breakers. But you will hardly find anyone who is fan of Blackbeard, for being uninteresting in comparison to the rest of the villains gallery and suffering a severe Badass Decay after his introduction (being introduced as the pirate all pirates fear, having a powerful ship and sword who can control fire and zombies and then not doing nothing anything really cool the rest of the movie). The fact that he changes from a Loving Dad to a Manipulative Bastard to Angelica depending the scene doesn't help.

  • Sequelitis: General consensus is that the series has gotten worse with each passing film, with the last one being widely seen as the weakest, with even the normally beloved Jack Sparrow growing tiresome to a lot of audiences.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: The overall concept of the franchise bears a strong similarity to the seafaring horror stories of William Hope Hodgson.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The addition of elements from the movies to the original rides has resulted in quite the Broken Base, to the extent that Davy Jones disappeared from the Disneyland version in 2018. Even BEFORE the movies existed, there were fans outraged over the differences between the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom versions. The Paris version seems to get some acclaim for its more cynical interpretation of the ride, though.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Anamaria, a Pirate Girl portrayed by Zoe Saldaña, ended up as this due to the character only appearing in Curse of the Black Pearl. This is despite the fact that the movie ended with Anamaria still as a part of the Black Pearl crew after stepping aside to let Jack Sparrow become the captain again. It was later explained by Saldana herself that she chose not to come back to the franchise because she didn't have a good experience working on the pirate sets.
    • Many felt this way about James Norrington in At World's End where he was pushed to the background despite his character taking an interesting turn by becoming a crewmember of the Black Pearl in Dead Man's Chest.
    • Technically it's a ship, but the Queen Anne's Revenge counts. Blackbeard's (later Barbossa's) flagship, it has a massive flamethrower and can be magically controlled with the captain's sword. The flamethrower is used twice in On Stranger Tides for relatively mundane purposes and not at all in Dead Men Tell No Tales. Despite being one of the most epic ships in the series, it has yet to be used in a naval battle.
  • Vindicated by History: Some viewers who didn't care for Will and Elizabeth, found their love story to be a Romantic Plot Tumor, and wished the films would ditch them to focus solely on Jack Sparrow found themselves displeased and missing Will and Elizabeth's presence when both the fourth and fifth movies that did just that still failed to engage with them, as it was felt that Jack on his own without other main characters to serve as an anchor for him and Straight Man to his antics didn't work out so well, and the Replacement Scrappy lover pairs (Philip and Syrena in the fourth film, Henry and Carina in the fifth film) weren't even as convincing in their romances as Will and Elizabeth were.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The effects for all supernatural people are pretty spectacular, but the standout is Davy Jones; an entirely mo-capped CGI character so realistic many reviewers genuinely thought Bill Nighy was wearing absurdly elaborate prosthetics.
  • 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, Bootstrap Bill is played by big, stocky, craggy faced Stellan Skarsgård. What, they couldn't find an actor who at least matched Bloom's physicality?
  • Win Back the Crowd: As the movies seemed to get progressively worse, many fans became discouraged to see the fifth. However when trailers revealed that Will and Elizabeth were returning, a lot of fans sang praises while others became dismayed as they felt obligated to see it.