We love Pirates of the Caribbean, but let’s admit that it is just Yellowbeard copy mixed with one episode of Xena (season 2, episode 21).
The Pirates of the Caribbean were some of the most successful steals in history. We are not talking about the actual maritime pirates, we aim to the Holywood movies. Quality and success of movies fluctuate throughout the trilogy. Sailors like it. Although it does not have a cult-like reputation, most of them like it.
Jerry Bruckheimer is a very talented producer, music from Hans Zimmer is stunning and Johnny Depp is awesome (in the early movies he is!). Producers created good storylines for all movies, but there is a catch. Most of it was kind of “stolen” from other movies.
We’re all living in postmodern age, it is common that movies copy each other and sometimes in an honourable way. Like when Quentin Tarantino makes A+ motion pictures from classics and B- crap 80’s movies. But this time, screenplay writers did not bother much.
Yellowbeard story without charm and fun
Story of a pirate who knows the position of a huge treasure is common, but we can boldly say that the character of Jack Sparrow is entirely based on Captain Yellowbeard’s main character. Even his habit of correcting others that he is “CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow”, exactly like Yellowbeard did. His headband hairstyle, phrases, movement and most of his personality is just stolen from a true sailors classic, which was co-produced by members of Monthy Python with Cheech&Chong. Real legends of comedy, we might add.
Yellowbeard, a comical character, used smoking sticks in his hair to constantly look “on fire”. In the movie they used Tibetan smoking sticks for aromatherapy so it looked hilarious. Pirates of the Carribean copied Yellowbeard as Jack Sparrow, but smoking sticks would probably be too much. They later gave them to Blackbeard’s character, which was a good choice, because the real-life character of Blackbeard was inspiration for Yellowbeard’s smoking head image. So a famous pirate character stole what was his own the entire time.
Pirates of the Caribbean are not based on a novel or a comic book. The original inspiration was the attraction in Disney Land Florida. We do not blame them for stealing Yellowbeard’s story, when no original story was related to the PotC universe. They didn‘t steal it entirely, just the main character, his appearance, and catchphrases… They were looking for Jack’s hidden treasure in the first movie, but the main topic was a crew that cannot die because of the curse. This is stolen from another franchise and you would not believe which one.
Remember Xena, the warrior princess? Forged in the heat of battle? For those who do not remember, it was a cheesy TV series from 90’s, starring Lucy Lawless as the main character. Generations of kids watched it and now it has become part of the internet memes.
In season 2, there is episode called Ullyses. We will take it shortly:
- Xena’s companion finds herself on a pirate ship
- This crew has evidently a very dreaded reputation
- All crew-members, including the new ones are cursed by Poseidon so they cannot enter the land, nor leave the ship. The captain was even unable to die. After many years he was craving for death. Something like Davy Jones before the tentacles, you know.
- At the end of the episode, the curse is challenged, while two ships are battling each other in a huge whirlpool formed in the ocean.
- The key for breaking the curse is of course love. Not to Keira Knightley, she was just 4 at that time! But sadly for Xena, there was no wedding during the whirlpool fight of two ships. Rest is the same, but with Australian production and less money.
In the gallery you can see comparison between Pirates of the Caribbean, Yellowbeard and Xena: Warrior Princess, Season 2, episode 19 (really just this one, because it has it all :-D).
Conclusion is that Pirates of the Caribbean are a huge mashup. We still love it. We would not be so fluent of using words as “stealing”, but except for expensive eye-candy production funded by Disney, they didn’t improve ideas of their predecessors. We are glad that Johnny Depp was not forced to be blonde, though.
Both pictures are from Xena episode…