Analysis of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Michelle Neitzel February 8, 2010 Analysis of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 film, which is an entertaining, swashbuckling movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. This Walt Disney movie is based on the famous Disneyland and Disney World ride adventure called, of course, “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Unlike the fun-filled ride at the Disney parks, this movie has deeper meaning other than just the ability to capture and hold the viewers attention.
By scrutinizing the literary elements of this movie, the spectator can discover those deeper meanings and therefore enjoy the film to its fullest potential. The first of the literary element important to this film is the theme. Pirates of the Caribbean has all of the five thematic elements present in it. The movie shows the emotional effect and mood by revealing a combination of horror and humor (Boggs, 2004, p. 20). The horror is displayed by the undead pirates tormenting the Caribbean, while the humor of the movie is attributed to the comic relief of Captain Jack Sparrow.
It is through the comic relief of Captain Jack Sparrow that another thematic element is revealed. Throughout the entire film the characterization of Jack is emphasized and the viewer sees the development of unique aspects of his personality (Boggs, 2004, p. 22). Also, the thematic focus on specific ideas is present through the moral implications of the punishment fits the crime. When the pirates steal the gold of Cortez they are cursed to live like the undead until every piece of gold is returned, along with a blood sacrifice. The focus on specific ideas is also present through the complexity of human relationships.
The love relationship between the characters Will and Elizabeth seems to have trouble developing. Although both are in love with the other, they are not on the same social footing for the relationship to be allowed to develop. This problem continues throughout the film until in the end, when Will finally wins the hand of said fair maiden. The best thematic element that unifies the overall context of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean can best be portrayed in a summary of the plot. The plot of this story is unified in that it is a continuous tangled web of scenes, “where one event leads to another naturally and logically” (Boggs, 2004, p. 1). The aim of this movie is primarily to be action packed and to alleviate the monotony of everyday life. In short the main theme of this movie is its entertainment value. Another literary element shown in this film is characterization. The main characters of this movie are Will Turner (the hero), Elizabeth Swan (the heroine) and Captain Jack Sparrow (the comic relief). Jack is a static type character which remains pretty much the same throughout the entire film. Will and Elizabeth are developing characters that grow and change as a result of the plot of the story. The movie uses a lot of leitmotif to create Jack’s character.
He has a funny swagger when he walks and he always talks in circles, trying to confuse the individual he is talking to, but in actuality, he is very calculating and the whole character that he developed was used to achieve his ends, which is to get the Black Pearl. Will, on the other hand, is shy. He is very anti-pirate, but in the end he over comes his shyness and becomes more bold. He rescues his love and accepts the fact that pirating is in his blood. Elizabeth, too, develops in this story. She goes from being a proper maiden, to being rather good at pirating herself.
Instead of following what her father feels is best for her, she stands up for herself and captures the heart of the man she truly loves. Another example of literary elements in Pirates of the Caribbean is the use of symbols. This movie is full of symbols from the flags used on each of the ships to the repetitive use of the pirate song, but the most obvious symbol used in this movie is the piece of Cortez’s gold. This gold coin is stamped with a skull and it represents the curse of Cortez. It also symbolizes, to all those outside of pirates circles, the very being of pirates.
The film repetitively shows the pirates gold and most of the characters in the story want to have it. It is the symbol of freedom to the pirates, for when all the gold is brought back together their curse is lifted. The final example of literary elements in Pirates of the Caribbean is the use of irony. There are several examples of irony in this movie. The first instance of irony is when the pirates kill William Bootstrap Turner because he planning to leave the pirate band. The irony is that the pirates later learn that they must have Bootstap’s blood as a blood sacrifice to lift the curse.
The second case of irony is when the pirates, whose curse is to be the undead and are unable to be killed, finally get their freedom from the curse, only to have the curse end when they are surrounded by the royal navy and can now be executed. In conclusion, after reading our assigned text then watching the movie again, I found a greater appreciation for the film. I was actually looking for the theme and the plot of the story. I enjoyed the characters more because I was able to break down their characters and discover who they were.
I recognized the symbols in the film and watched the characters charge and place value on them. I looked for and recognized the irony found in this film. By examining the literary elements of this movie, I discovered those deeper meanings and therefore enjoyed the film to its fullest potential. References Boggs, J. M. , & Petrie, D. W. (2004). The Art of Watching Film. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Bruckheimer, J. (Producer). (2003). Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl [Motion Picture]. United States: Walt Disney.