We kicked off the count-down to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ with a re-watch of Curse of the Black Pearl and drinking (rum) to every moment that made
me us say, “Wait. What the f**k?” I’m going strong, plowing through with a new drinking game for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’. Of the sequels, this one is arguably the least terrible, but even so: it’s a series I truly love to hate. When reckoning day comes, all the Harry Potters and Dr. Who’s of the world are going down…
10/10, would Pirates again.
Anyway, grab your rum and let’s jump right in.
DRINK #1 when the originating premise of the movie falls apart not even halfway through
On the off-chance that you’re not playing along and drinking at home, here’s the synopsis for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’: Will and Elizabeth, about to get married, are arrested and condemned for their piracy in the first movie. Actually, they’re pawns in the larger game of this guy named Beckett. He springs Will from jail and sets him loose to find Jack. Eventually, Elizabeth is freed as well—even though Will could have just busted her out the same exact way he did for Jack in the first movie. By the end, however, both Will and Elizabeth conveniently ignore/forget what they were trying to accomplish in favor of their new quest: bringing Jack back from the dead.
I mean, they’re already out on the open seas, being pirate-like. Why should they care about clearing their names? What exactly is compelling them to go back and be law abiding citizens? Spoiler: nothing.
Which brings me to drink number two:
DRINK #2 when two out of the three main characters had no bearing on the overall story
The real plot of the movie is this: Jack bargained with Davy Jones to raise the Black Pearl from the depths of the sea in exchange for one hundred years of servitude aboard the Flying Dutchman. Time’s up, and Davy Jones has come to collect. Jack is trying to renege, Jones sets the Kraken upon him, and by the end of the movie, the Kraken eats the Black Pearl and Jack.
And as far as Will and Elizabeth go, they do… what exactly?
1. Without them, Jack Sparrow’s storyline would’ve had the same trajectory: he was outrunning the Kraken, but sooner or later, per Bootstrap’s ominous warning, terrible beastie would’ve caught up with him.
2. Jack attempted to barter Will settle his debt. Jones then compromises: 100 souls in exchange for Jack’s… which Jack failed at providing. Is it implausible to think that without Will, Jack wouldn’t have tried the same trick with a random John Doe?
3. It was Elizabeth who led them to the Dead Man’s Chest… but only because Jack manipulated her. Couldn’t Jack have Norrington—who had already signed on as crew of the Black Pearl before Elizabeth even got there—use the magic compass to find the same exact thing? Especially since, when they find the chest, Norrington admits that it’s what he wanted most all along?
4. Norrington was the one who sneakily stole Jones’ heart from Jack. Unless you want to argue butterfly effects, I argue neither Will nor Elizabeth effected or affected this outcome in any way (if for nothing else than the meta reason that this sets most of the plot of the third movie). In the end, Jack didn’t have Jones’ heart to control him and would have still been attacked/eaten by the Kraken.
So, the events of the movie could have and likely would have happened in much the same ways if Will and Elizabeth were not present. It’s almost as if their storyline were superfluous and unnecessary in some way—oh, wait. That was the first bullet point.
DRINK #3 when the movie’s arms fall off from the vigorous amount of handwaving
A reminder for the uninitiated:
Handwaving is used in literary, film and other media criticism of speculative fiction to refer to a plot device (e.g., a scientific discovery, a political development, or rules governing the behavior of a fictional creature) that is left unexplained or sloppily explained because it is convenient to the story, with the implication that the writer is aware of the logical weakness but hopes the audience will not notice or will suspend disbelief…
If we were to drink for each individual incident of handwaving, then we would be blackout drunk before the end of the movie. Instead, let’s take one collective drink for all the handwaved moments:
1. The spooky pirate prison-cave over the sea at the beginning. Why did they have the drawing of the key of the Dead Man’s Chest and how did Jack know about it? Hope you’re all right with not knowing, because it’s never mentioned.
2. In case you missed Gibbs’ throwaway line after spooky pirate prison-cave: The Isla de Muerta, the original spooky pirate cave from the first movie, apparently sank like Atlantis. Hahaha, what?
3. When the crew of the Black Pearl is imprisoned on Cannibal Island: any particular reason why they decide to turn on one another? No? Just an easy way to get rid of filler characters when they fall to their death?
4. Jack loses his hat, but a random ship finds it. The sailors mess around with it, but then the Kraken eats them and the ship… What. The. F**k? Either the black mark on Jack’s palm doesn’t do s**t or the Kraken is really f**king stupid that it can only guess at its targets based on their hat-wear.
5. Will throws the dice game with Davy Jones just to learn where the key is. Wait a friggin’ minute. He challenged Jones to the game, and Jones showed him that he had the key on his person, but what if Jones hadn’t done that? Will didn’t ask him where it was beforehand. He would have lost and not have known where the key was.
6. The Kraken only eats/kills crewmembers of the Black Pearl that are unimportant to the story (and Jack).
There’s more, but I’ve lost interest.
DRINK #4 when the people who experienced and lived through the first movie about cursed skeleton pirates are skeptics for absolutely no reason
- Gibbs to Will, explaining how Jack has the black mark of Davy Jones: “If you believe such things.”
- Norrington to Elizabeth, after Jack tells her about the Dead Man’s Chest: “You don’t actually believe him?”
What in the nonsensical hell? Weren’t both Gibbs and Norrington around for the first movie, tangling with immortal skeleton pirates and cursed Aztec gold? They were, in fact. So, why exactly is the idea of the Kraken, Davy Jones, and the Flying Dutchman so ridiculous to them? It shouldn’t be.
DRINK #5 when you wonder if you actually need a key all that badly for the Dead Man’s Chest?
I mean… it’s just a chest. It’s never suggested that the chest itself is mystical and magical, only the still-beating heart of Jones inside. Pintel and Ragetti agree with me on this point, seeing as how they attempt to steal it without having the key.
More than that, the key to the chest is also just a key. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t it seem that lock-picking goes with the territory of being a pirate? Most of the plot is propagated by the quest for this probably unnecessary key because our hapless heroes have decided, infuriatingly, to find it first before the chest. I want to scream at these fictional dummies; it makes better sense to find the chest first, figure out if they for realsies need the key, and then plan accordingly.
For a second time, I’m pointing out how much of the plot is superfluous and unnecessary.
Whatever. Just drink.
DRINK #6 when remembering the good times
For all the hate I’m heaping upon them, I actually do love these movies.
- Tia mother-effin’ Dalma is just the coolest.
- The sword fight on the giant hamster wheel between Jack, Will, and Norrington is bomb.
- The fact that Davy Jones plays the organ (with his tentacle beard, no less), because I feel it’s equal parts villainous, bad-ass, and sea-worthy.
- Hans Zimmer gets me. Seriously.
- I can’t get over how incredibly dark these movies are for Disney movies… but I like it :3
- Depending on how you interpret the scene at the end with Tia Dalma and Elizabeth, this movies does pass the Bechdel Test… barely.
- That I actually ship Jack x Elizabeth (I had to look up the official ship name: Sparrabeth! How clever) because the two of them make sense. She craves the freedom and adventure that Jack represents, Jack craves the goodness and redemption she represents. Why does Will love Elizabeth and she him? Who knows. It was never justified in the first movie, and I guess we’re just supposed to keep playing along, even now.
BONUS ROUND: SHOTS TIME
- Shots one, two, and three: Just like in the first film, there are three separate Taps to the Head (hit over the head, instant KOs, and no permanent damage).
- Shots four, five, and until you pass out: each time Kiera Knightley clenches her jaw in lieu of actual acting.
Why stop here? Let’s just go ahead and tackle Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Get another bottle of rum ready.
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