"The Art of the Pirates of the Caribbean" pays tribute to this film trilogy's talented production design team
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"The Art of the Pirates of the Caribbean" pays tribute to this film trilogy's talented production design team

Jim Hill

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"The Art of the Pirates of the Caribbean" pays tribute to this film trilogy's talented production design team

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It's one thing for Disney Studio executives to decide to base a motion picture on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme park ride. It's quite another to take that bare-bones idea and then turn it something truly special. A series of films that people the world over could then enthusiastically embrace.

If you'd like some real insight as to how that goal was actually achieved, I can think of no better book to pick up than "The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean" (Disney Editions, May 2007). This 160-page coffee table book will give you (I'm quoting from Gore Verbinski's introduction here) ...


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

" ... a faint echo of a madness that was our collective creative process.

Working with writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, and a team of talented and sleep deprived artists ... We could begin to see the films taking shape as ideas were transformed into images and (these) images (then) generated new ideas."

That's the real beauty part of "The Art of the Pirates of the Caribbean." This handsome hardcover actually puts you in the room as the talented team that Brian Morris & Rick Heinrichs assembled tries to get a handle on what the Black Pearl should really look like.


"The Black Pearl" by Miles Teves
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And -- when it comes to deciding what an undead pirate captain should look like in a Disney film -- how much is too much ?


"Skeletal Captain Barbossa" by Aaron McBride
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

On epic fantasy films like "The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Dead Man's Chest" and "At World's End," you literally have to design everything. I mean, it's not like Gore could just go down to Disney's prop department and then get out the box that that studio always uses to store cruel sea captains' severed hearts in. In order to get just the right look for this very crucial prop, concept artist Crash McCreery first had to do drawing after drawing after drawing ...


"Dead Man's Chest prototypes" by Crash McCreery
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... until McCreery finally came up with something that Verbinski really liked. That actually fit the style & tone of the story that Gore and his "Pirates" production team were trying to tell.

So from the smallest of props to entire cities ...


"Shipwreck Island" by Nathan Schroeder 
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... This talented group of artists were the first to really visualize what the world of "Pirates of the Caribbean" might look like. Showing the film-makers other characters that might then have connections to Captain Jack Sparrow ...


Captain Teague" by Crash McCreery
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... As well as reminding Verbinski and his production team that -- underneath all of those tentacles -- Davy Jones was still once a real man ...


"Davy Jones as a man" by Crash McCreery
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... who made the mistake of falling in love with a woman who could be ... Well ... rather crabby.


"At World's End" storyboards by James Ward Byrkit
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

All joking aside, the tremendous selection of paintings & drawings that you'll find inside of "The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean" ... They're just spectacular. As you page through this enormous coffee table book with its full-color plates, you're going to find yourself sorely tempted to tear various pages out and then have them framed.

But don't give into the temptation, folks. "The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean" is a treasure just the way it is. Which is why you may want to rush out and get yourself a copy of this admittedly pricey hardcover (This Disney Editions book currently retails for $50 apiece) before all the "Pirates" fans out there go and snatch them up.

Beyond that ... Here's hoping that -- when it finally comes time to begin work on "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" (Which will reportedly be built around Jack Sparrow & Barbossa. With the two captains initially reconnecting in the just-founded city of New Orleans before they then join forces and head off to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth) -- ...


"Map to the Land of the Dead" by James Ward Byrkit
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... Gore Verbinski has the good sense to rehire Heinrichs, McCreery as well as John Dexter (I.E. The supervising art director for "Dead Man's Chest" and "At World's End"). So that this talented group of artists can once again be among the first to explore what the world of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" films really looks like.

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  • pirates > ninjas

  • I LOVED the production design of the POTC movies, and I loved even more the last paragraph... more POTC without Will and Elizabeth, but with plent of Jack and Barbossa! Seriously, these two are such an awesome squabbling pair, like a modern day Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau pairing but with a scary edge given that they've both tried to kill each other (one even succeeded!) and they'll always be fighting over their boat...

  • Why POTC worked and Haunted Mansion did not:  Black Pearl did not try to jam every ride reference it could into the film, but concentrated on telling a story and let the references appear where they helped move the story.  In each succeeding film we see a few more touches of the ride - the bayou in DMC, the 'edge of the world' waterfall in AWE.  Now finally, in the fourth film, we will see the reference that will help explain why we go to New Orleans Square or Adventureland to visit an attraction about Caribbean pirates.  Black Pearl had enough of these references to stand alone if it was the only film created.  But by emphasizing story and character the POTC series has been able to create a memorable link to the attraction that inspired it.

  • I'm not quite sure how I feel about a fourth "Pirates".  I'm loving the idea of more Jack and especially Barbossa, without the Turners.  That thing at the end with "Barbossa, marry us, even though you're busy trying to save your butt!" was really what kind of left me with a sour taste about this last film.  But, I don't want this to become "Land Before Time" either.  I'm betting money there will be a fourth POTC.

  • I saw POTC III last night.  As we were leaving the theatre, the usher asked a patron how she enjoyed the movie and she replied "Well, it was very well produced."

    I came away thinking the same thing.  It was beautiful, the production values were awesome and the music was terrific.  However, the reviewers have been spot-on with their complaints of two many plot lines, too hard to follow, too violent, not fun, etc.

    POTC I was easy to follow and was fun.  III got too bogged down in backstory and too many plotlines.  I really expected to like III better than II, but didn't.  And I don't anticipate watching it in the theatre a second time to see if I change my mind.

    Which all makes me wonder if the guy suing Disney for "stealing" his pirate story is actually telling the truth.  How can the same guys responsible for writing the great script for POTC I come up with the gobbeldy-gook that they did for II and III?

  • Jim - I wish you would cite your sources on that POTC 4 claim. Up until now, all thats been heard in realm of internet POTC is that Johnny would love to a 4th, providing Gore is involved and there is a good script in place, and that it probably wouldnt begin filming until 2010, and then come out in 2011.

    Are you hypothesizing it will be based on Jack and Barbossa, based on the movie? Guessing fountain of youth, as thats where this movie ends, and jack has the compass, the map, and no ship. And barbossa has a ship, but no map, or compass?

    It seems logical that thats the progression, but Id also heard talks of a prequel. Just wondering if you're guessing like the rest of us, or if youve heard something from the mouse.

    I need this book!

  • goofy89 said:  I came away thinking the same thing.  It was beautiful, the production values were awesome and the music was terrific.  However, the reviewers have been spot-on with their complaints of two many plot lines, too hard to follow, too violent, not fun, etc...

    I hate these complaints. Too many plotlines? My 14 year old brother was able to follow along just fine, and hes not a huge fan of the movies. If you have seen the 1st and 2nd, and paid any attention at all, I dont understand how the plot could be confusing. Or its too hard to follow. If you know who the characters are, and what each is after (which anyone who saw the 2nd and PAID ATTENTION would) then you should have had no trouble.

    As for too violent... Have you ever ridden pirates of the caribbean? Its a far cry from Its a small world. In case youve never been on it, i'll tell you. YOu start out looking at skeletons. Skeletons are bones, that were once people, but who now are dead, and have been there so long their rotting corpses have deteriorated, only to leave bone. you're then pushed right into the middle of an attack on Port Royal, with firing cannons and guns a-blazing. In case you dont know, cannons and guns kill people and can destroy towns. YOu then see the town mayor, kidnapped and being almost drowned, until he gives information. Next an auction scene, auction women to highest bidder, no one wants the fat girl, they want the red head. Moving along to the 'pooped pirate' who used to tell you how badly he wanted to 'hoist his colors on the likes of her' (the girl in the barrel) Jack is now in the barrell. While behind him, women are chasing pirates who have come into their home to rape them and steal from them. Furhter on we see the village completely in flames. Drunk pirates everywhere, singing, trying to give rum to cats. Shooting each other, falling down etc. Finally we see prisoners trying to escape and we used to see guards tied up, but now Jack is there.

    If you dont get what im trying to say here, its the PIRATES ARE A VIOLENT BUNCH. Theyre not nice. And why you went on pirates, expecting small world is beyond me. The movie was rated PG-13. Check out the MPAA if you dont know what that means will be in a movie.

    I think the many jacks was fun. As was the marriage scene. Different people have diferent ideas about comedy. There were many one liners, and many funny parts imo.

    I dont mean to attack you, but you cant just pick up Back to the Future 3, Star Wars 3, LOTR 3, and have no understanding of the previous movies. It will drag, you will be lost, and while you might enjoy "how beautiful the movie is" the story wont make sense. And you'll piss off the people who took the time to watch the other movies, and even think about them outside the theatre, and anticipated those story lines being wrapped up in this film. Which is why I was able to follow every word the first time through.

    I think what can be said for the writing in these movies, is that everything is not spoon-fed to you, and you have to pick up on innuendos yourself, and figure things out for yourself. I applaud that. And if you dont, than I suppose you are excited for movies like Evan Almighty, where for sure there will be laughs and you wont have to work out the plot for yourself.

  • I enjoyed the movie till the point at which Will is killed and becomes the new captian of the flying dutchman which means he can only see his wife and child every 10 years!  I was kind of sad about how it ended....I wish that they could of stayed with Will, plus I have a feeling that the next movie will revolve around the fountain of youth and how maybe it would give Will the ability to be with his family or something!

  • Here’s my concern.

    I don't want the ride that inspired the movie to turn into the movie that inspires the ride.

    I think the idea of a Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is great. In fact I believe it is necessary. And I’ll tell you why I think so.

    The story has already been told how management was afraid of the movie being "lame" the more it resembled the ride... so I guess that’s ultimately why there is a Jack Sparrow , Will Turner etc.... But how can you have really have a movie called Pirates of the Caribbean and not have some kind of tribute to the original ride. And i'm not talking about a dog with a set of keys.

    For instance... that main pirate guy in the ride... you know ... the one with the big red coat who has one of the only main speaking roles. The guy who has been on the poster for Pirates of the Caribbean for +30 years?  I call THIS man the main pirate. Or at least one of them. Where is this guy in the movies? Why create a new hero, a new villain, a new story... and not even touch on the characters that have been familiar with audiences for years and years.

    When you ride the ride today.... this guy almost seems silly front and center because there is no correlation to the movie. Little kids are asking... "who is that?" And that's backwards. Add a line to his dialog that says "where is Jack Sparrow"... what's that?

    I believe that the filmmakers owe it to us to explain who that guy is... where he came from... etc. And finally take us to the place where WE are familiar with. If the idea of the next film taking place in New Orleans is true.... Then I say bravo.

    I hope that the current, temporary powers that be at Disney realize that what they are charged with is preserving the few attractions left that Walt had an actual hand in imagining and not to completely redefine them. Make new attractions if you need to meddle with something.

    "Pirates" should be a universe of charaters and stories... not just the adventures of Jack Sparrow. I do agree with what Moonliner said about trying to many references in one movie.... but until they touch on what WE are seeing in the ride and why.... I think the franchise is incomplete.

  • Here’s my concern.

    I don't want the ride that inspired the movie to turn into the movie that inspires the ride.

    I think the idea of a Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is great. In fact I believe it is necessary. And I’ll tell you why I think so.

    The story has already been told how management was afraid of the movie being "lame" the more it resembled the ride... so I guess that’s ultimately why there is a Jack Sparrow , Will Turner etc.... But how can you have really have a movie called Pirates of the Caribbean and not have some kind of tribute to the original ride. And i'm not talking about a dog with a set of keys.

    For instance... that main pirate guy in the ride... you know ... the one with the big red coat who has one of the only main speaking roles. The guy who has been on the poster for Pirates of the Caribbean for +30 years?  I call THIS man the main pirate. Or at least one of them. Where is this guy in the movies? Why create a new hero, a new villain, a new story... and not even touch on the characters that have been familiar with audiences for years and years.

    When you ride the ride today.... this guy almost seems silly front and center because there is no correlation to the movie. Little kids are asking... "who is that?" And that's backwards. Add a line to his dialog that says "where is Jack Sparrow"... what's that?

    I believe that the filmmakers owe it to us to explain who that guy is... where he came from... etc. And finally take us to the place where WE are familiar with. If the idea of the next film taking place in New Orleans is true.... Then I say bravo.

    I hope that the current, temporary powers that be at Disney realize that what they are charged with is preserving the few attractions left that Walt had an actual hand in imagining and not to completely redefine them. Make new attractions if you need to meddle with something.

    "Pirates" should be a universe of charaters and stories... not just the adventures of Jack Sparrow. I do agree with what Moonliner said about trying to many references in one movie.... but until they touch on what WE are seeing in the ride and why.... I think the franchise is incomplete.

  • I for one have had quite enough of the Turners. Hopefully they won't be seen - except as perhaps a cameo - in any fourth "Pirates" film. What the fourth one SHOULD have as a female love interest is a true lady pirate. And turns out there was a real-life lady pirate named Anne Bonny. She could be a sort of Calamity Jane-of-the-sea type. If such a character were handled right (and the right actress cast), that could add to the rivalry between Sparrow and Barbossa. Although I like them as wary allies more than I do than as deadly enemies.

    Most of all, if there is fourth film, I'd love it if the film's writers would lay off the tricky twists and turns. A more straightforward story, full of humor and grand effects,  would be very welcome IMO.

  • Can't the moderator edit posts such as the one by BluHaz132?   If he/she did post the truth about the latest Pirates movie, it just spoiled it for me as I was planning to see it this weekend.  Please someone edit this post and remove the major SPOILER in it.

  • I don't know...I got the impression that Captain Teague took on the role of the main pirate Rluke1971. when he appeared on Shipwreck Island, sitting amidst the piles of booty. At the risk of spoiling, I'll reserve further plot comments regarding POTC: AWE.

    Also, although I seem to be in the minority, I would miss the Turners. After all, Will is the protagonist of the series. Now, in turning Jack Sparrow into the protagonist by featuring his quest for the Fountain of Youth, you can center the movie around him and retain the Turners in some way as supporting characters.

    Regards

  • Bluhaz132:

    ****SPOILER WARNING********

    Ah but you did not listen to Tia or Gibbs.

    A green flash signifies when a soul has come back to earth. We saw 2 in this movie.

    Calypso and Davy and were lovers. Calypso assigned Davy the job of transporting souls who were lost at sea to the underworld. He would have the job for 10 years, and then he would be able to come back to shore, assuming that Calypso had been faithful all those years, and came to wait for him after the 10 years. Davy did his job, and he came to shore, to find it empty. Enraged at the pain he felt, because he had to continue to do the job, instead of living a normal life, he cut out his  broken heart, locked it away in a chest and hid the chest on an Island. He then abandoned the job she gave him, and started picking up sailors on the verge of death to serve 100 years on his crew. Only, they become a part of the ship and never get to leave. In doing this, he became a 'monster' and grew to be 'the sea' (as did his ship and crew), and be feared. In conjunction, he told the 1st breathern court how to bind calypso into human form, betraying her, as she had betrayed him.

    When jack stabbed the heart of Davy using Wills hand, will became captain of the flying dutchman and lived under the same curse. Crew the flying dutchmanfor 10 years, and be allowed one day to land, to see your love. If your love has remained faithful and is there waiting, the curse is broken and you are mortal again and can lead a normal life.

    This is proven by the end seen after the credits. The flash of green light is seen on Elizabeths face, and in comes Will. Signifing a soul coming back to earth.

    gotta pay attention!!! But i know i know, this movie was too tough to follow... ;)

  • I've read where other people have been put off by the "Marry us" scene in POTC 3, but I'm not one of them.  I think that, facing what they felt were overwhelming odds, Barbossa married them to be absurd.  It's almost gallows humor to him.  He's killing guys as he's marrying them, they're killing guys as they exchange vows.  It seemed perfectly in keeping with the tone of these films.  I loved it.

    As for a fourth film?  It could go either way.  In Harry Potter's series, they didn't get watchable for me until Chris Columbus left after the second one.  The third and fourth installments have been fantastic.  On the other hand, it turned out that two Spiderman movies would have definitely been enough for me.  None of this reflects box office, which often is unduly affected by promotion.

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