I have always been open to requests on this website and I finally got one. I was asked to write my opinions of The Pirates Of The Caribbean movies and my opinion of Jack Sparrow specifically. Here goes.
Curse Of The Black Pearl – We will always remember the film where we discovered Captain Jack Sparrow, a Captain without a ship who only carries seemingly pointless and broken equipment. Set in changing times when pirates were hunted by the British navy we follow a dark story of an evil ship that dominates the seas, seen as a legend by many but incredibly real to the sailors unfortunate enough to meet it. An old curse caused by the stealing of Aztec gold creates a strange mix of comedy, romance and horror where a happy-go-lucky pirate charms his way through an otherwise fairly standard adventure. The Navy in this movie is led by the determined Commodore Norrington, an enemy of both Sparrow and the undead pirates, throughout the movie he’s in the position of a villain but his character is honest and honourable. Accompanying the Captain are an adventurous blacksmith and the local governor’s pretty daughter who slowly grow to love the unbelievable pirate Sparrow. The collection of wacky characters that support add so many little quirks that it’s hard not to form an opinion of every moment of the film; One-eyed pirates and dopey sailors come together with monstrous crew mates and honourable sailors to make one of the best movies Disney has ever released.
Dead Man’s Chest – A truly epic start to a two part story following Jack and the crew as they take on the legendary Davy Jones. The British Navy now led by the power hungry Cutler-Beckett who wishes to control the sea, rather than just cleaning it up manipulates the characters to set up a situation where only the Navy can win. We get wild tribals, a swamp dwelling mystic and the return of a now disgraced Norrington. Jack, Will and Elizabeth remain at the forefront of everything with their excellent chemistry as characters in a love triangle to keep things interesting. We get a major sword fight that’s important to the plot, it uses most of the important characters which I think is one of the best looking fights in any movie I’ve seen. Captain Jack acts a coward throughout but when it comes to staring down a mythical beast he shows his true colours as the courageous leader that deserves to command the Pearl. The movie hits the audience with a shock twist right at the end too (that admittedly doesn’t make sense and is never properly explained). Although a set-up for the next movie Dead Man’s Chest manages to keep up the energy it needs to keep the audience engaged.
At World’s End – This movie starts with the Pearl’s crew being stealthy in Singapore as they endeavour to find a map to rescue Jack meaning it’s over half an hour before we see Sparrow going mad in Davy Jones’ Locker. There’s a lot going on in this movie with a gathering of powerful pirates, everyone betraying everyone else and the big battle between the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman in the middle of a maelstrom. Norrington gets a proper conclusion as do Will and Elizabeth, plus Barbossa shows himself as a real captain when it’s needed. It’s action packed and brings everything to a joyful close that’s just right, setting up the possibility of another movie in the process.
The original trilogy are perhaps the greatest thing Disney have ever made and probably the best pirate films ever too, they get their tone just right as a balance of comedy, action and romance with a touch of horror. I think Dead Man’s Chest is my favourite of the whole series. It really was Pirates as a movie, even though there are a few main characters every one of the others down to Jack the Monkey stand out in their own way, there’s thought put into even the smallest parts. Davy Jones’ beard is still one of the best looking CGI effects I’ve seen to this day.
On Stranger Tides – A quest for the legendary Fountain Of Youth led by the infamous Blackbeard and his daughter. The Spanish get involved as do the British, now led by a one-legged privateer Barbossa who seeks revenge as he does King George’s bidding. Jack dances in and out of danger once again as he interferes with everyone which is to be expected. This movie is alright but it makes a brave move only having three old characters, we have a whole new cast of characters which have little connection to the audience meaning this very much turns it into the Sparrow and Barbossa show because of which the whole thing is nowhere near as good as the older films as every pirate meant something before; we’ve got a missionary, a mermaid, zombified men, new sailors and men from different navies but none really seemed to matter much. I also think Blackbeard wasn’t scary enough, he came across more as a cruel old man than a demonic terror of the seas. (I’m not sure if it was ageing or a costume change but Jack Sparrow looked different somehow.)
Salazar’s Revenge – The hunt for the Trident of Poseidon to save Jack Sparrow from (even more) cursed pirates. It has good comedy and action sequences including robbing a bank early on. The movie itself uses the formula of the first Pirates film; a handsome adventurer and a strong willed, pretty woman (neither of them pirates) join Sparrow as he tries to break a curse to fight some undead sailors with the British Navy having minor involvement. All the characters feel well looked after, getting what feels like final conclusions to all of their stories which includes what was left of the crew of the Black Pearl. My one issue with this film is how weak Barbossa came across given his position as a pirate. It wasn’t quite as good as the early trilogy but was miles better than Stranger Tides to watch. I do like that it ended similarly to how it began, it had a good connection to the first movie.
All together the Pirates movie has been one of my favourite series to grow up with. We had some great actors and a few music stars being the seas to our screens in a brilliant way. The fourth film was a bit weak and although there’s talk of a sixth movie, I think the last one brought everything to a close really well.
Captain Jack Sparrow – A coward, a charmer and without a doubt one of the best characters ever created. However a great character is nothing without a great supporting cast that allowed him to be brave, silly and so lucky that he wasn’t one of the worst pirates anyone has ever seen. I had some books about the young Sparrow when I was younger, plus a few Pirates games and every adventure of Sparrow’s that I’ve seen or read has taught me two things: everything works out in the end, and it’s easier to trust a dishonest man to be dishonest than an honest man not to be dishonest. The costume, mannerisms, belief in himself and lack of any reliable equipment comes together beautifully. Oh, and his screams make him so much more believable.
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