Reviewing the Pirates of the Caribbean Series

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Pirates of the Caribbean #1: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Release Date: June 28, 2003
Director: Gore Verbinski
Studio: Disney
The first installment of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series is a fun adventure, albeit excessively reliant on computer-generated-imagery. The plot is about a cursed pile of Aztec gold, once taken by Hernando Cortes. The curse of the gold allows the crew of a mythically speedy ship called the “Black Pearl” to rule the seas as the living undead. It stars Johnny Depp as a comical Keith Richards-inspired pirate named Captain Jack Sparrow, as well as Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, Geoffrey Rush, and others.

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Pirates of the Caribbean #2: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Release Date: June 28, 2003
Director: Gore Verbinski
Studio: Disney
Gore Verbinski returns to direct the sequel to Disney’s successful Pirates of the Caribbean film which was originally released in 2003. And once again the film features an all-star cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Tom Hollander, and Bill Nighy among others. It is part one of a two-part story followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) released the following year. The story is outrageous and unnecessarily convoluted. Instead of a fun pirate-adventure film, we are given an exhausting farce that leaves the viewer in a state of bewilderment and nausea as a result of over-indulgence. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

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Pirates of the Caribbean #3: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
Release Date: May 19, 2007
Director: Gore Verbinski
Studio: Disney
As incomprehensible a mess the second Pirates movie was, At World’s End somehow manages to top it. At nearly three hours long, At World’s End is a droning, painful attempt to rival a massive modern epic like Lord of the Rings, but it fails in spectacular fashion. It shovels so much nonsensical drivel into the plot that it has become notorious for being completely incoherent.

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Pirates of the Caribbean #4: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Release Date: May 7, 2011
Director: Rob Marshall
Studio: Disney
Despite the collapsing scenery of the previous two Pirates of the Caribbean films, producer Jerry Bruckheimer simply could not resist the allure of a profitable franchise, and so Disney immediately began production on another sequel. The previous “trilogy” ended Gore Verbinski’s involvement in the project and he was instead replaced as director by Rob Marshall. In this fourth Pirates installment the story departs from the Will Turner/Elizabeth Swann narrative as Jack Sparrow goes in search of the Fountain of Youth.

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Pirates of the Caribbean #5: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Release Date: May 11, 2017
Director: Joachim Rønning
Studio: Disney
Unsurprisingly Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a hollow, frivolous, B-movie that was only greenlit in order to squeeze as much money out of this franchise as possible. Dead Men Tell No Tales picks up from where the third movie At World’s End left off but this time Jack Sparrow searches for “Poseidon’s Trident” which will allow Will Turner to be freed from the Flying Dutchman. Despite the introduction of Javier Bardem as a new ghostly character in this fifth installment, Dead Men Tell No Tales should be enthusiastically cast to the flames, or perhaps at least tossed down to Davy Jones’s locker, never to be revisited.

Raising no eyebrows, Disney is already preparing for yet another Pirates movie. Sadly we can expect more of the same in the future. The whole Pirates series, aside from the original, is entirely forgettable. At least for now the carnival of cheap thrills is temporarily over.

Ranking My Favorite Pirates of the Caribbean Films

#1 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

#2 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

#3 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

#4 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

#5 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

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