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YMMV / Pirates of the Caribbean

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Works in this franchise with their own YMMV pages:

  • 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, 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. 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: 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.
    • Disney actually purposely 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:
    • 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 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 goodwill of others, even if he is 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?"
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  • Award Snub: None of the movies received even a nomination for Best Original Score from the Academy, despite the soundtrack being one of the best and most iconic in film history.
  • Base-Breaking Character :
    • Will and Elizabeth, despise being two of the three main characters of the series, have gained a lot of people who consider them as an Romantic Plot Tumor that was extended for too long with many feeling like they overstay their welcome in either the second or the third movie because of how much focus they had instead of other more interesting characters, others think the exact opposite and consider them the real protagonists of the movies and the ones who had the most Character Develoment of the cast and feeling like the movies are really about them, particulary Elizabeth (who by Word of God is considered the actual protagonist of the story).
      • Their final destiny in the third movie is also a point of controversy, with some fans feeling like is a perfect ending to their arc and others finding it too depressing and hoping they gained their happy ending.
      • His absence in the fourth movie is seen for some as an improvement for fans who were tired of his excesive focus in the first three movies, others think that his absence is the main reason for the movie failure feeling like Jack Sparrow needed his two co-protagonists to balance his wackiness and making Jack look a little too mundane in comparison to previous movies.Some fans didn't like the movie,but think his absence was one of the few improvements
      • Their Return in the fifth movie was also controversial, with some finding it pointless, since their arc has already ended and they already have too much screentime in the previous movies, while some finding the perfect way to put the franchise back on track, when the movie came out and they only appear in two scenes and one of them retconing the previous final destiny, three camps were made : one, who was disapointed of how little screentime they had but glad that they finally ended up together, the second one who though this was the perfect way to show the characters without stealing screentime to the new characters and the third camp who thought this was only made for fanservice and returning old fans to the franchise and think their final destiny in the third movie was a lot better
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    • The Pelegostos Tribe from the second movie, some like their culture and find it a really fun part of the movie, while others think they take too much time of the main plot and are at the end superflous to the main plot and whish their part was shorter (20 minutes to be exact) and too goofy to be taked seriously, some like the Pelegostos but feel like they belong to a completly different movie.
    • Jack Sparrow's father Edward Teague and Uncle Jack, both are cameos from notable rock stars (Keith Richards and Paul McCartney), while some like their appearences and find their cameos hilarious, some think they are pointless detours in movies that are already too much loaded
    • Jack Sparrow itself has become this, the point of debate is whatever the movies focuse too much on them and whatever he has overstayed his welcome and some blamed of being the main cause of the franchise decay because of how much focus he has in comparison to the other characters who were equally interesting and then becoming the main protagonist which ironicly make it look too mundane, the point where he overstay his welcome is higly divise with some going as far as the second movie or the third one or the fourth one and so on.
    • Angelica is either a breath of fresh air in a desgasted franchise or a Elizabet's Replacement Scrappy who just backstabed Jack all the time even when it make no sense, Her romance with Jack is either seen as funny and interesting Dating Catwoman romance or too stupid and with too many backstabs too make a good relationship.
    • Many didn't like the way Barbossa was turned into a Privateer for most of the fourth movie, feeling like it take away the esence of the character (a pirate who was trying to gain his freedom turned into a Privateer who served the Crown) once again and the fact that he has less screentime that in the first and third movie didn't help, while others (including Geoffrey Rush) feel like this was a new and interesting facet of the character that also had sense with how Barbossa would handle this particular situation and if anything he returned to his pirate ways at the end of the movie.
    • Henry and Carina are this almost automatically. Are they a chance to do interesting new sidekicks to Jack, or just yet another lame carbon copy of Will and Elizabeth, just like Phillip and Syrena from the previous film?
    • Armando Salazar is for some one of the best villains of the franchise for his motivations, his design and being played by Javier Bardem definetely helps, while others find it too ridiculous to be taked seriously and just see it as a wasted oportunity, with that said almost everyone agrees he's an improvement over Blackbeard.
  • Broken Base: A 2017 refurbishment to the Disneyland Paris ride revised the auction, from a male pirate selling wenches into forced marriage, to male and female pirates selling chickens and stolen rum; these changes spread to both American POTC rides the following year. Some riders have thanked Disney for removing a scene that seemed to make light of human trafficking, and for allowing the redhead wench to level up from eye candy to piracy — even giving her a name, Redd. Other riders have seen the change as an overreaction to an attraction that never seemed to encourage human trafficking. Another camp suggested that Disney could have compromised by showing Redd actively fend off men who objectified her, which wouldn't have required replacing all of the dialogue.
  • 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 (also in the following film) and Blackbeard. See those pages for details.
  • Contested Sequel: It's a consensus that First Installment Wins, but the qualities of the following four are widely disputed.
  • 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.
  • Critical Dissonance: The sequels have received progressively worse reviews, yet Dead Man's Chest and At World's End are loved by most fans and received a decent 72% user score on Rotten Tomatoes. The fourth and fifth installments received much more mixed scores.
  • Cult Classic: The original theme park ride.
    • The now discontinued MMORPG has a small, but dedicated fanbase. So much so, there's even an ongoing project to recreate 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 and Captain Salazar 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 Dark Horse:
    • Norrington, helped by him suffering a lot.
    • 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" Anti-Hero.
    • Anamaria the Pirate Girl who assumes control of the Black Pearl in the second act of the first film. Many wanted to see more of her in the sequels but Zoe Saldana had such a horrible experience making the first that she didn't want to return.
    • 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. His lover Tia Dalma is also well-liked for being incredibly badass and brings out a more sympathetic side of him.
  • Evil Is Cool: Barbossa, Davy Jones, Cutler Beckett, Blackbeard and Salazar all have their cool moments, and thus all have their fans.
  • First Installment Wins: The first film is the most well loved film among both fans and critics. Some go as far as to say it's the only good film in the entire series.
  • Foe Yay: Jack and... well, everybody. Partly Johnny Depp, Jack Sparrow's actor's fault, since he confirmed that Jack is bisexual.
    • Elizabeth with every major male character. Even her relationship with Will could qualify at a few points in the third film.
  • Fountain of Memes: Captain Jack Sparrow, savvy?
  • Ho Yay: Yaoi Fangirls around the world see it, at least. Jack and Will, Jack and Norrington, and more.
    • 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 Humiliation Conga 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.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • More Popular Spinoff: 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.
  • 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.
  • Sequelitis: As demonstrated by decaying critic reviews.
  • Shipping: Contains every imaginable type of ship. Trope Codifier for "shipping" as a verb!
  • 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 Saldana, 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.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • There's just something strange about Calypso, mostly when she grows and starts speaking jibberish.
      • It's actually a heavily distorted French sentence literally translated as "To your graves, wrongdoers! I bend your paths to the bottom of the sea!"
    • Also Bootstrap Bill, practically a living piece of the Dutchman's wall. Jack hallucinates himself in this same way too.
  • 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 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, 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?
  • 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.


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