Saturday, May 21, 2011

20 Things That Still Don't Make Sense From "Pirates"

"Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is over 2 hours long. Despite that, by the time it's over a HUGE number of seemingly important things remain unexplained. What follows is a breakdown of the stuff that's STILL bugging me - how about you?

SPOILERS, obviously, follow...

What happened to the Priest? Seriously. She pulls him down under water and...? Did I nod off? I mean, this isn't my first rodeo so I get what the vauge implication is, but still - is he a mer-man now? Is he dead but it's okay because he got some half-fish nookie first? Hell, for that matter he's technically a drowned sailor; oughtn't Will Turner - Captain of the Flying Dutchman charged with overseeing who lives and dies at sea - have something to say on that matter?

For that matter, oughtn't The Dutchman be popping up to collect whoever's left from that ship Barbossa let's the Mermaids sink?

If BlackBeard's magic sword lets him remote-control every facet of the Queen Ann's Revenge from the sails down to the riggings, why does he require ANY crew - let alone one comprised of zombies and kidnappees?

For THAT matter, given the same circumstances (magic sword, total-control of giant floating Death Star) why is BlackBeard having his men awkwardly corrall Mermaids like runaway seals when just driving them up onto land would work just as well?

Hell, if "man-made-light" is needed to draw out the Mermaids, why do they need to use a lighthouse when The QAR has a ginormous flame-thrower already built into it?

Also, if BlackBeard has the (unexplained) magic power to shrink whole boats (and crew, and localized weather conditions) down into bottles, why do they need to lug the Mermaid around in a full-sized glass casket?

Also, if Mermaids have been captured for harvesting their tears multiple times before, why doesn't ANYONE - including the Mermaid herself! - already know that letting one "dry off" for less than 10 seconds makes them sprout legs? And if they DID know - why the casket, again?

Why is Jack Sparrow suddenly vaugely concerned about getting into Heaven and/or the afterlife in general? He's been undead, dead-dead and back-from-the-dead, keeps regular company with mystics and a literal Sea Goddess, plus he's besties with the current Captain of The Flying Dutchman - aka the guy who makes the live/die call for those who die in the environment Sparrow is 98% certain to meet his end in the first place?

...and wait a tic - HOW is Christianity or Monotheism in general taken as hugely important by Sparrow or ANY pirate when said literal Pagan Sea Goddess, Calypso, was a regular aquaintance/prison/comrade/whatever of hundreds of thousands of pirates for decades in the very recent past? And even before we knew about her; Jack, Barbossa and the rest all hand firsthand experience with a very real curse handed down by "the heathen gods?"

Speaking of Calypso; if The Spainards are on a crusade to exterminate sources of Pagan supernatural power; why are they sailing ACROSS an entire ocean controlled by a source Pagan supernatural power without incident?

How is a magic map previously shown to exist outside the laws of basic material physics vulnerable to an oil fire?

BlackBeard is "the pirate all pirates fear"... so why haven't we seen or heard ANYTHING of him until right now? Like, say, at the big "every pirate in the world meet n' greet" in the 3rd movie?

If BlackBeard, Angelica and Jack needed the Chalices and the Magic Words to enter the Fountain, how did everyone else - including two small armies - just walk there?

Why does Angelica need to be in Jack Sparrow Drag to recruit for BlackBeard? Sparrow's reputation is for surviving when almost everyone else around him dies - why is that MORE attractive to anyone than working for a preposterously hot Latin chick whose apparently got the cash to throw around? "They don't trust a woman to lead them" doesn't wash - we've seen female Pirate Captains in the series already... in fact, the ENTIRE "Pirate Nation" only a couple years ago fought and won the biggest and most-decisive battle in their history under a female Pirate KING, Elizabeth Swan.

Why didn't The Spainards takes Barbossa's wooden leg when they captured him? Seems like kind of an obvious oversight.

For that matter, master-schemer Barbossa thinks to conceal a compartment of rum in his peg-leg... but not a gun? A knife? A weapon of some kind?

If the water in the pools where the Mermaid-tear harvesting was done is connected directly to the water pooling around the fountain; why do you NEED to get the healing-water directly from the fountain "tap?" Does immortality get added to "regular" spring-water through some mechanism in that sculpture-thingee? If so, why not just take that thing - which can be easily broken-apart - back home to wherever and brew up a fresh pot of live-forever-juice whenever you need it?

If not, and the Immortality Water DOES come directly out of the spring itself, why is it "the end" when The Spainards knock over the already-crumbling temple? Fresh water springs come up from DEEP in the Earth; with a little digging that whole setup will be good as new.

Why does the Priest randomly decide that the Mermaid needed to have a proper name; and where did he get "Syrena?"

And, hell, if "Syrena" is hyper-perceptive enough tell that the Priest is "different... a protector" (?) seconds after encountering him for the first time in the middle of an organized mass-assault on her people by his, why is she not bothered by his first two instincts on meeting her to be, in order: A.) "Treat her like an exotic pet" and B.) "Want to fuck her?"


Jordon said...

Maybe it's just me but it seems as if you might not like this movie very much. Maybe I'm getting the wrong impression...?

Rodolfo Gabriel said...

Haha, i think you hit the note Bob, but, remember, for catholics having a name is like having a soul or something, that's why, my friend didn't get it, but for me, coming from a mostly catholic family, was like nothing. Hope that tells you for wich audience was this movie intended. And one last thing... in the ending credits, you see a shoot underwater, mabe a seconds later after the first names, you can see clearly on the right a mer-man and a mermaid swiming. HEHEHE, also, did you see the "important" scene after the credits? XD Secuel comming, we'll have to accept it.

Hyrabethian said...

The story of every PotC movie has come across as a total mess to me, really! They're either stuffed with fillers and sub plot points that go nowhere, character arcs that make no damn sense, and humor seemingly written by hack writers 2 decades ago.

(sitcom writers from back in the days of TGIF lineup such as Step by Step, Family Matters, Full House, and Boy Meets World. Shit that shouldn't have been funny even for it's own time)

For me, PotC will be best remembered for the ride in Disneyland I had been on as a kid. All four movies can go to hell for all I

BAGRT said...

(I typed this out and quickly found it got too long. I will need to post this in segments and I hope you forgive me)

I'm something of a Pirates nerd and I had a fun time figuring out the subtle clues and mysteries of the second and third films, so I may be able to offer some theories to a couple of these. Though please note I agree that this film doesn't have nearly the same amount of thought put into it as the previous ones and that's a real shame.

1. I am 90% certain that is an intentional loose end for use in future sequels. After the first film (which left very few loose ends-- in fact all they could draw on was the compass which was supposed to JUST point to Isla De Muerta but through a stroke of luck the line saying that was cut from the first movie) I think they wanted to leave plenty of room for things to use in the fifth, sixth, etc movies. He could very well be a Merman (in fact I thought for sure the post-credits scene would have been depicting that). I very much doubt Will Turner would have crossed his path unless you're suggesting the Mermaid killed him. He was dying on land, yes, but once in the water he was saved... somehow.

2. It's important to note that Orlando Bloom (and Keira Knightly) is done with this franchise so I don't think they were interested in bringing back that plot point. Also it seemed this was an attempt at "rebooting" the franchise, in a way. Very little of it dealt with anything from the first three movies aside from the few returning characters we got, as you mentioned in your Escapist review.

3. Good point.

4. Did you miss the part where that's exactly what he did? He used his ship to TRY to drive them to land, where his crew waited with nets, but the mermaids grabbed the crew with their hair(?) and ate them.

5. This is shaky logic, I know, but a lighthouse is a bit more "man-made" than plumes of flame.

BAGRT said...

6. A mermaid is not a ship. Why can't magic spells have limitations? We don't know the process he used to capture these ships.

7. Who said the mermaid didn't know that? She very well could have known, but when would she have gotten the chance/wanted to mention, "Oh that glass case isn't necessary, guys. Let me just sprout some legs to help you out." She was rather shy and probably really scared. I can't imagine a situation where the opportunity to share that info would have come up. Also, it's entirely possible she DIDN'T know that-- how often do you think mermaids try going on land? She clearly couldn't walk so those legs have probably never been used. It's possible any mermaid who finds out that she grows legs on land either dies or rarely returns to her sisters. But yes, the pirates should have known that given how much else they knew about the steps needed to get to the fountain of youth.

8. Again I think this is a case of the movie trying (for some reason) to distance itself from the previous chapters. But again, good point.

9. If there's one god, why can't there be more? Maybe these pirates are of the opinion that the Christian God is the main God in charge and the other ones, while they exist, don't call the shots and didn't create the universe. Doesn't DC/Marvel have a similar explanation? It's hard to play around with Christian mythology without pissing off soccer moms. The average American assumes God is real and he's in charge, so it's easy to assume the pirates do too, even if they may be wrong. But if you want to argue that Christianity should have never even been brought into the series, I can't say I disagree.

10. Are you implying Calypso somehow has an opinion on whether or not the fountain of youth should be destroyed? Why?

BAGRT said...

11. I admit I don't recall the map bending any laws of physics so I can't really comment on this. Refresh my memory?

12. This is another one that would require some semi-believable fan theories. I mean the REAL answer is the writers didn't plan to have the character in the story back then, but one answer might be that he isn't a Pirate Lord. Or maybe he doesn't give a fuck about pirate law or the Bretheren Court. Sounds like a Blackbeard thing to do.

13. They didn't just walk there. Everyone rose from the water just like Jack-- watch it again. And apparently the "door" stays open for a little while since it didn't close immediately after Jack went through it. I think a better question is how they were able to fit an entire small army, side by side, into that relatively tiny portal and how they didn't need step ladders or something.

14. Yeah Swan was only the king because Jack voted for her. We've seen in the series that having a woman on board is considered bad luck to most pirates (even though one of the Pirate Lords, Mistress Ching, is a woman). I think it's safe to say the average pirate wouldn't trust a woman to recruit a crew. The females we've seen in the series were few and far between and sometimes there for special reasons- just because an (admittedly probably famous among pirates) epic battle had a woman leading it doesn't mean they aren't still superstitious about that. As for Jack being the end of many pirates-- it depends on how fast stories travel and how accurate they are. Honestly I think this is a rather small nit pick overall.

15. Good point.

BAGRT said...

16. That was more or less the joke. It's something of a running gag that the pirates value rum over nearly everything in these movies. It's just hard to say this was a plot hole when they lampshaded it (Jack immediately assumed he had a knife in there)-- clearly the writers thought of that. Maybe you're right, I dunno.

17. Again this comes down to deconstructing a magic spell that we don't know the ramifications of. I don't think it's fair to say that's a plot hole when it's a pretty simple and rather classic magic set up-- a magic rock in a magic grotto that drips a small bit of life-giving water. Also I disagree with your assessment that the water in the mermaid torture pool is connected to the spring. The pool appears to be connected to the ocean.

18. Because the magical rock-spout was destroyed. Honestly I get the feeling you'd be more forgiving of this set up had the rest of the movie been good and at this point you're just reaching. If we're going to debate the properties of magic water fountains we should probably also go back to the previous three movies and see if all of their magic and sorcery is scientifically sound.

19. No idea, good point.

20. Treat her like an exotic pet? What movie were you watching? And he only wants to "fuck" her if this was a porno (...or real life). This is a Disney movie-- he merely wants to "live happily every after" with her. Plus I don't know if either of those things conflict with her assessment of him. He's STILL not a pirate, which is why he's different.

Whew, I may have spent too much time on that. Before I finish this I'd like to repeat my request (that I posted on your video review and tried to tell you about on Twitter) that I'd love to hear about your thoughts on the dense story of the last few movies because I am also of the opinion that they're very well constructed and I thought I was the only one.

BAGRT said...

@Hyrabethian: Actually the Pirates movies are constructed very carefully and no plot points are meaningless. It just takes a few viewings to understand them.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...

You got me... I have to say though.. the first movie had a lot of plot holes as well, though it was so tightly written, every scene mattered, that it doesn't bother..

The second and especially third one have at least as many plot holes as this one... And actually, the one thing that bothers me the most is something you havn't even mentioned.. most people doesn't.

Well, Jack Sparrow from the first movie and the rest of the movies.. is not the same character.. There is no way he is the same, I mean sure they both walk and talk alike but here's the thing.. the first movie was all about. "Can you both be a pirate and a good man?" and as it turns out, we establish you can because Jack Sparrow is just that.. of the whole lot of pirates he proves to be the best man because he is not a traitor, does not lie (Lie and witholding truth is apparently not the same thing...) And keeps his promises.. most important fact here.. he doesn't really ever lie.. And straight ahead in the second movie he lies straight out of the bag!

And in this one.. they really jumped the shark I mean.. in the first movie he was all about that committing mutiny is the worst kind of low for anyone, even a pirate.. and he would never ever stoop that low... And in this movie he commits mutiny.
The hell, and it could easily have been justified that it's not really a mutiny but an escape attempt as he never signed up for anything or swore legiens to the captain, easily, it would have been one line of dialouge. But the script doesn't ever go there! Jack Sparrow of the first movie is dead mate.

curren.waters said...

You forgot to mention how Barbossa became a captain on the British Royal Navy. It's not like the Royal Navy HATES pirates or anything. It's not like they HANG every person guilty of piracy that they come across. Not to mention, he was eventually allowed to rank up as captain, because as we all know, pirates NEVER double cross their co-workers.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...


urhm.. actually that is historically correct, in the timeline Pirates of the Carribbean happened a lot of real life pirates turned to the navy and got quite big positions in exchange for information and you know, their sevice and them stopping being pirates, plus their ship would now belong to the navi.. question just begs that when Barbossa don't even have a ship, how much have he left to trade in? It can only be information, or he is just really good at talking for himself. And no, in real life the pirate would not cross the co-workers, because being a pirate was a shitty life! and they had suddenly been offered a life of luxury instead! besides, it would be either serving the rest of your dies or be hanged, no double crossing unless you want your loved ones to die mate.

There is no reason why this had to be Barbossa, other than getting Gefory Ross back, MovieBob is right, he is not even the same character anymore, but a pirate becoming a navi captain, not uncommon for that time line!

superuub1 said...

You know, for a movie you just find bad it certainly affected you a lot more then most you find better than it. Maybe you want to like it but keep coming up with legit reasons to hate it.

Arturo said...

Just one little quibble:
Penelope Cruz isn't Latin, she's Spanish.
Which I known doesn't change the logic of your argument anyway.

Arturo said...

Also, fun fact:
"Syrena" literally means "mermaid" in Spanish, only with an i instead of a y.
They think they're so clever...

Evilgidgit said...

Yeah. Blackbeard is like the most famous pirate in history, why wasn't he a Pirate Lord?

Reverend Allan Ironside said...


Curtis said...

I haven't seen the film yet but I did read the book "On Stranger Tides" of which the film is very loosely based on.

As such I can shine some light on one thing, Blackbeard has magic powers because he had them in the book.

Mind you in the book it had something with him being a bocor, a sort of wizard or sorcerer and the deals he makes with the loa, which are the pagan gods/spirits that inhabit the Caribbean.

And sad to hear that's apparently not addressed in the film, but I supposed it would clash with the previously established way magic works in this series

genguidanos said...

Anyone ever notice that in the entire "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, with more then two thirds of the cast either being pirates or becoming pirates at some point, we never actually see anyone preform ONE act of actual piracy?

BAGRT said...


That was somewhat intentional, at least in the first one. The "joke" was that the pirates were already cursed and were trying to put the treasure back.

The Fowl Sorcerous said...

most these problems come from the fact that they're taking the plot from the unrelated novel 'on stranger tides' and shoe-horning established POTC characters into place. doesn't really work.

Anonymous said...

Ok, let me try a few of these. This will get long..

The first could be a deleted scene or it could be that he's not mortally wounded. It's never established definitively that it's a fatal wound. But your point about the Flying Dutchman brings up a misconception about Davy Jones and Will Turner I think you have from the previous movies that answers your next question.

Davy Jones' original job was not to pluck dying sailors from ships and choose who lives and dies... that was how he perverted his position so he could amass crew members for his ship. Remember that originally, the job Calypso gave him was to ferry souls of those killed at sea to the afterlife, such as Swann's father we saw adrift in a boat in the third movie. It was the fact he didn't do the job that led to his mutation.

Sure Blackbeard can control the ship but that's clearly not going to do him much good once he has to travel on dry land. Besides, there are probably some limitations to his power. Someone has to cook for him.

Again, as was previously said, driving them to the land is exactly what he was doing. The fact that the plan shouldn't have worked since the mermaids should have just dived deeper to avoid the explosives is another issue.

Also remember it's not just the light that attracted the mermaids, it was having men as bait, and the singing. I doubt seeing a column of fire erupting over the water would have been as much of a temptation.

Getting the tears off a mermaid is hard enough... getting the tears of a shrunken mermaid would probably be much harder. Also, again we don't know what the limits of his power are. It could be like Davy Jones, they are confined to some degree to being on the water.

As has previously been pointed out, the mermaid may not know she'd sprout legs since she may not have tried to leave the water and remember that no one in the film (including Jack) had been to the island before and therefore would not have seen the skeletons or known how the tears had been harvested and would not have known that the change would occur.

On Jack's fear of death and conversation with the priest; again Will Turner doesn't make the call about who lives or dies and besides, if someone as powerful as Blackbeard is worried about death, shouldn't someone like Jack be? I'd also suggest since Jack has never been focused on Christianity before this point, his sudden appeal to the priest is more of a move of desperation, which Jack is definitely known for.

As for Calypso and the Spaniards, I get the sense she didn't really have much interest in dealing with humanity once she got her revenge on Davy Jones.

Anonymous said...

We haven't seen much to indicate the map bends physics other than it has part that spins and even if not, we've seen nothing to suggest it isn't flammable.

If Blackbeard is a pirate all pirates fear... would any pirates really be interested in inviting him to a pirate soiree?

As for how did everyone get into the Fountain chamber, it wasn't that the chalices were needed to get in, it was the words on them. Barbossa may have just followed Jack in and we know that the Spaniards knew about the words from that scene where one of them is examining the chalices. Since they don't seem interested in Barbossa, it could be he cut a deal with the Spaniards and they gave him this information as well. They had to find the cavern somehow.

As for Angelica's deception, I took this more as her way of drawing Jack in, particularly since they probably heard that he had the map to the Fountain.

Because taking a crippled man's leg is just mean!

I would figure Barbossa already felt he had the edge (so to speak) with his poisoned blade and besides... a pirate always needs rum. And as has been pointed out, the fact that he puts priority on rum over a weapon is the joke.

The water in the pools of the Fountain chamber doesn't connect to the water from the Fountain itself. We know this because Jack doesn't just use the water in the chalices when Syrena hands them to him, but goes to the destroyed fountain to fill them. And it has to come from the tap for the same reason the Aztec coins had to go back in the chest of that the grail can't pass the seal... because it's magic. It could be that it's not the water but the donut Guardian of Forever structure that it flows through that makes it powerful, which would mean that destroying it would eliminate the fountain. Notice it's running low when Jack fills the cups.

The priest randomly giving her a proper name is clunky and comes from nowhere, though the origin of how he thought of the name is obvious from your spelling of it. However, how does he treat her like an exotic pet exactly, since he's the only one who shows concern for her life at all? And as for point two, did it occur to you that as we see later, maybe her first instinct was that she wants to fuck him?

Mads said...

...just butting in that it's fun to be pedantic and argue back and forth over what doesn't immediately make sense, but as someone said, it's overanalyzing. There's little time for reasoned arguments, so unless you're arguing that your point should be clear as daylights, if something doesn't make immediate sense when it's supposed to (especially to a dude like moviebob), there's no real way to really argue that away. On the flip side, I think criticizing this particular movie over plot consistency is like criticizing a hammer for being a horrible screwdriver.

I should perhaps elaborate on that.

The case here is, Pirates was one of the best damn pirate movies to ever be made. It had duels, skeletons, rum, a governor and his daughter, a pet monkey, a pet parrot, missing eyes, peg legs, hooks and awesome pirate hats.

It also never made any apologies for letting the plot drive divergeance from common sense, so long as things made sense in context.

I could certainly argue the finer points of naval how a small-ish frigate(the pearl) could never outgun a ship of the line like the dauntless with _4_ bloody cannon decks tallying 3 times as many and twice as heavy cannons, or how a fully loaded frigate with no sails could never outrun a brand new corvette...but within the context of the movie, these things could clearly be anticipated and expected.

But it would be pointless; something like that isn't a plothole when, contextually, the aztech gold has made the pearl into a ghost ship.

The fact of the matter is, the first movie never exceeds the license it charges early on, by revealing the pirates to be skeletons. It's air-tight, everything ties neatly together. It doesn't appear, to me anyway, to have a single actual plot hole. And it's wrapped up perfectly.

Which is why its sequels are...every single one of them..unnecessary. They're a waste of space. Sure, I watched them, and they were fun, but I'd rather have had a couple of original big-budget movies than either of them. And that's really the argument to leverage against the new one, not all of these nitpicks, I think. The fact that these sequel movies could not be plot driven supercedes all criticism of their plot; rather than criticize the bad plot bits, criticize the decision to make something that couldn't help having an inconsistent plot. This is largely what moviebobs escapist review does, when it goes into what jack sparrow really is to the series.

Invariably, the only reason for making the following movies was pandering to character fans.

I'm on the plot > character bandwagon, but here's my final point: regarding characters as more important than plot is equally valid, and as characterpieces, both sequels work wonderfully. They're evocative and meaningful. If this movie follows that trend...picking these nicks is really, seriously a waste of time: Either it won't really matter to people, because they don't care about plot as much as characters, or they're already on your side.

Yo Ho said...

Your an idiot. That's what you are. If you dont get it than dont criticize it. Keep your comments to your self. Secondly, even though you hated it, your comments won't make others change their minds on the movie. They will just think your delusional. It is after all the number 8 highest crossing film of all time! Third exotic pet? I agree with what was previously said. Your just adding stuff to hate the film even more. To understand the films, it requires to watch it more than once. Maybe you should do that but im sensing your a stubborn immature teenager. And another thing. When it comes to religion just leave it. Every person in the world has their own beliefs and it will only start fights. Remember this is a movie based on fiction. In other words its not real! Get over yourself. Its just meant for entertainment and to watch. If they say something is so and so they might use it for future films.

Anonymous said...

Syrena means "serene or calm"..remember when the priest says to her at the end how hes calm because of her

Anonymous said...

I think your adding to much of the real world into this movie the water is mistik there fore dose not come out of the ground. The priest guy and the mermiad were the movies love interest there for nothing makes sence about them when out in an action thriller fantasy like this.

Anonymous said...

I think your adding to much of the real world into this movie the water is mistik there fore dose not come out of the ground. The priest guy and the mermiad were the movies love interest there for nothing makes sence about them when out in an action thriller fantasy like this.

Anonymous said...

Syrena means "siren" and mermaids are called the sirens of the sea. I only know this because I'm named after one.

Juanchi Newells said...

Okay if you have paid attention, when they're searching the sirens they say that if a siren kiss you you can breath underwater.

Semen Rendi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rainon D.Cooper said...

the name syrena is surely based off of the word for a relative of mermaids which are sirens
syrena sirens pretty much the same

Anonymous said...

Niggers. You're all stupid.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really a fan of this movies, as I think it is subpar compared to the other three (hopefully the fifth too), but most of your points don't make any sense.

Not telling you about the priest is intentional, though the most likely theory is: She fell in love with him and decided to save him. Her kiss grants the ability to breathe underwater, as hinted by the sailors earlier. She also claimed to be able to heal him. So no, he's not dead, for if she wanted to kill him, she could have just left him. That last scene didn't give that impression.

The Dutchman doesn't collect the souls directly from the bodies, there is no need for Will to be there. How do you expect him to arrive at every sea death that occurs at the same time?

Do you want Blackbeard to have to use his magic power all the time to make a ship sail? That makes no sense. What when he needs to fight? What about firing the cannons? Going to land? What about cleaning? What if his magic isn't endless? What if he wants to sleep? Who will crew the ship then? Who will make him dinner? Really...

Well, I don't feel like typing anymore, but at least two thirds of your questions are answerable. That is not to say, however, that the movie doesn't have plot holes or inconsistencies, but hey, what do you really expect?