Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is analyzed for bias by a piracy expert, who reveals a number of inaccuracies and anachronisms. The first Gore Verbinski film based on the popular Disney World attraction was released in 2003, starting a series that now has five films. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, released in 2007, follows Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) and his crew as they face off against Davy Jones (Bill Nighy).
In a recent video posted to History Hit, pirate expert Issy Lawrence breaks down several scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, revealing some of the not-so-correct aspects.
While some elements of pirate culture are surprisingly accurate, such as the diplomacy shown during the pirate council, Lawrence criticizes the mass execution of pirates at the beginning of the film, as well as parts of the Pirate Code. Below is Lawrence’s full comment:
“Pirates in the Caribbean were hanged only at the end of the 18th century. They were sent to London to be executed. They were then processed in places like Port Royal and then sent to London to serve as a warning to other pirates.
“I think the string placement on the fretboard is correct. That’s where they put him. A small ring would fit just below the jaw if it were hung in the British manner. It’s definitely an American loop (not an English one), which I don’t approve of because it’s pre-American.
“Besides, they were not hung all together, as we see here. They were hung regularly in Wapping. Even events were obstacles, and people went there to have fun. Its purpose was to discourage bad behavior, but in the end it was just people’s entertainment.
“So there were pirate councils. Pirate captains had to make deals, find out what others were up to… They also wanted to trade in crew members and more.
“To present the pirate code in the form of a book resembling the Bible is completely stupid. Sorry, director, but it’s a good story that everyone recognized this mystical book, but it was not a pirate code. It was a simple deal that you made by taking a ship and becoming a pirate.”
The degree of accuracy of films such as Master and Commander: The Other Side of the Sea, released the same year as the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, aims to give an accurate and realistic representation of what life was like. sailor to the British Royal Navy in 1805. In the case of this film, inaccuracies are a big problem as the film does not take place in a hyperbolic and highly fictionalized reality.
Pirates of the Caribbean, which takes place about seventy years before Master and Commander, does not attempt to give a very accurate description of what piracy was like in the 18th century. Instead, the film is an adventure for all ages that aims to provide maximum entertainment value. The series is filled with humor, thanks in large part to Depp’s Jack Sparrow, and also includes mythological sea creatures such as the Kraken. Davy Jones himself looks like an octopus, with a beard consisting only of tentacles.
While it’s certainly interesting to test the historical accuracy of Pirates of the Caribbean, mistakes don’t seem to be a factor for most viewers given the show’s success. Movies present a unique and highly fantastical version of reality, which means that historical accuracy must sometimes give way to entertainment value. When it comes to the accuracy of something like Pirates of the Caribbean, conforming films to their own made-up rules, rather than the rules of reality, means the audience’s suspension of disbelief can remain intact.