Fun with Franchises: Our Favorite Images from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
One of the recurring features that we do in Fun with Franchises (a feature within a feature) is, after we finish watching a film, we go through and pick out our favorite images from that film. These images could be anything from really famous images from the film or franchise, really beautifully composed shots, shots that are funny to us because of the facial expressions being made in them or because of what we said about them in the article in which they appeared, or simply because they have boobs in them.
What we usually do is, just how we watch the films, Colin and I go in separately and pick out about ten to fifteen shots that we really liked. Then we compare lists, and whichever ones we both picked automatically go on our final list. And everything else we talk through and discuss why we like them, and eventually we’re left with a final list of ten images we liked the best, along with ten honorable mentions, which were also as good, but just missed out on making the list proper.
It’s not very complicated (like most things we do here on B+ Movie Blog), and is just a way for us to point out shots that we really liked in the films, especially since we tend to pick stuff that’s not always on the beaten path. (We also don’t officially rank the list of shots. We just put them in chronological order. Simply picking them is hard enough. We don’t want to make our lives any harder. Plus, we’re lazy.)
That said — here are our favorite images from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest:
There are gonna be a lot of intro shots in this one. We both had quite a few that didn’t make the list, rather than me trying to squeeze more of my own on here.
The first shot of the film. Love it. Felt too easy to put it on the list, but I love it. I think it’s a strong image.
Nice camera placement here. Nice shot.
I just really like this shot as well. Maybe the angle of it, maybe that it’s all green and there’s rain and wood everywhere. I don’t know. I just really like it. I like that the wood of the ship goes down into endless water. It’s really nice, actually. I never even told Colin about this shot. I wonder if this could have maybe ended up on the list. I just assumed it would go here and put it here. I really like this one quite a bit, the more I look at it.
The compass really is a nice prop.
As are walls when they’re shot like this. I fucking love this angle and this set. So much. It’s so simple and perfect. One of my absolute favorites in the film and probably franchise.
There’s a lot of depth (Depp-th?) to this shot. Him looking back at his ship one last time (or so he thinks). I love that his back is turned. It’s a beautiful image.
And this shot is nice, too. Him smiling as she leaves him to die. It’s almost what he wants, plus he has the satisfaction of knowing he turned her pirate, and that she was good enough to outsmart him. Plus it leads directly to this moment — which I love. That’s a badass way to go out. And it’s a great image as well.
And this shot is simple and beautiful as well. You have the framing by the cliff walls, the whole thing basically one color in the center, and him taking up the middle of the frame, upside down, adding all the color to it. It’s the kind of thing I go for (as evidenced by our choices). The more I look at this, the more I think this would be a top ten on my own personal list.
And then this shot:
This shot would also have been on my top ten list, but we didn’t have room for it and Colin isn’t as excited about it as I am.
I think this shot is gorgeous. Because this could have been a shot of just her face and the sky. But instead we have the water, sand and the trees behind her creating a gorgeous cascade of color behind the gorgeous Keira Knightley’s face. It’s just an image of sheer beauty all around. And it’s just so simple. One of my absolute favorites from the film and the franchise.
Onto the list:
1. This shot
Boats, water, rain, symmetry, synchronicity — it’s a fucking beautiful image. I love everything about this. What really makes this work is that ship in the foreground on the right. It wouldn’t work as much if there were nothing but sky there. You need the ship there to make the boats stand out. It’s a perfect composition. Plus — anything Revolutionary — I’m down for that shit.
And there’s a fucking HORSE in the boat!
I love D-Day imagery. And that’s what lots of boats approaching a shoreline will always be to me. But he’s right, It’s all about the composition of this shot. If they’d left it more open, it wouldn’t work. But they didn’t, so it does.
2. This shot
Because look at it.
It speaks for itself.
They don’t all have to be during the day.
This is yet another shot where they managed to obscure the horizon, which is always a cool effect. That’s my favorite part of this image, and there are several like it in the franchise.
3. This. Just… all of this.
This boat looks fucking great on this island.
And the best part? We get it from every angle.
(P.S. This shot is also particularly nice. I like the line of people leading your eye toward the boat. This is painting.)
Boats out of water will always fascinate me. This is also a pretty cool angle.
4. I Was Run-ning
1. Put Camera at this angle.
2. Put it in extreme long shot.
3. Have one character run across it toward something or away from something.
4. It is funny.
5. Set it here.
6. It always looks good.
Characters running across wide shots ARE always funny. That’s something I never noticed.
Not always funny. Someone could just be jogging. But the potential for comedy is exponentially greater.
5. More ships at sea.
Really fucking nice shots of boats on the water.
We’re gonna keep doing it. Because these are the nicest shots in the movies.
Every single one of these shots is better than what we’ve had for the last franchise.
I particularly like the shots of the boats coming into harbor. It’ll always remind me of shots from certain movies that used similar angles, like You Only Live Twice in Japan or at the beginning of Jeremiah Johnson.
6. The Dress
I wasn’t gonna let this one not make it.
That image of the dress on its own is fucking beautiful. And then it fades into her?
Man — this is another one of those ‘favorite shot of the franchise’ contenders.
It’s funny — you’d think my favorite shots of the franchise would be from the other films, but a lot of them are coming from here.
This is good. And it’s a visual representation of her losing that side of herself. We don’t see her dressed like this at all anymore. For this movie and the next movie, she’s like, straight-up boyish. She goes from all dolled up all the time to being grungy and wearing weird clothes.
This is the shot of the film.
This is the most brilliantly conceived shot in the film. It’s the best shot in the film.
I don’t care that it’s all CGI. It’s still the best conceived shot in the film.
Jones tells his men to dive, and we set the camera right where it is as the ship dives down under the water. That’s it. We mount the camera, watch the ship pull forward and dive down, and the camera never moves as we go underwater. It’s so brilliant. Just conceptually — I really can’t think of any other franchise we’ve done (including Lord of the Rings) where the shots were as well-conceived and looked as good as these do. (And normally I’d say — well, three extra years of making the CGI better — but honestly, I saw the Hobbit.)
I was trying to put my finger on it, and Mike pointed it out. It’s a stationary shot where the whole ship moves. Like a pivot.
It’s kind of like mounting a camera on the back seat of a car and watching as it goes for a joyride off a pier. Same concept.
8. This shot
Absolutely glorious. This is as good as POV shots get.
I don’t even have anything to say. Just look at this.
This is spectacular.
And I REALLY don’t love POV shots a lot. I think it’s that this one is stationary that I like it so much.
That’s another thing, potential filmmakers — THE CAMERA DOESN’T MOVE.
So stop with the handheld shit, all right?
9. This shot
Because there’s something that I caught while watching (one of those shots that only I would catch) that, the more I’ve seen it, the more I like it. Because why would you put the camera there? It’s a good angle, and the water splashing everywhere, onto the lens — it looks really nice. Plus the shot is really crisp despite the splashing, and I like that all we see are their legs. I actually would really like if we watched a sword fight entirely from this perspective. That would be pretty great.
Imagine if they sustained this shot for about twenty seconds or more, and you heard them fighting, and could see parts of it, but all you watched was their footwork. That would be incredible.
It’s all about the legs. I don’t really care about the water, but showing only parts of action is what makes it more interesting. I could watch a bunch of this, whereas their usual swashbuckling bores me after 10 seconds.
10. These shots
Because fucking look at them.
I love these shots so much, I didn’t even link to “Battle Without Honor or Humanity.”
Wide shots are awesome.
And now the list is over and its time to make way for the honorable mentions.
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But before we do that, let’s take a moment to recognize a true honorable mention:
This is Japan in a single image.
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- This image
Symmetry, rain, that fort, and the idea that they were gonna have a wedding in the rain. That’s a great idea.
I’d totally go through with a full on wedding if it happened in this.
(P.S. This is also a really nice shot. I’d have put it here if the person wasn’t standing there. That makes it more rape-y and distracts me from the beauty of the image in its pure form. But as it is, it’s a really nice fucking shot.)
This is some great symmetry. We really have a thing for symmetry. And wide shots.
- Tap, Tap, Boom
Because fuck that bird.
But honestly, that first shot is really nice on its own. Just a coffin floating in the middle of the ocean.
There’s also a wide shot of that just before this that’s really nice.
But it’s really funny when that fucking bird gets shot. It’s the breaking of the silence and the sustained wide shot that does it.
For those interested in how to make comedy.
Outside of reaction shots, of course.
Yeah, the first half is just nice looking. The second half…fuck that bird.
- Telescope shots
I love these shots.
It’s probably for the same reason the next set of shots is on this list.
But still — these are really nice. I like irises, and here you get the iris, plus the beautiful images that are part of this franchise, plus that camera lens feeling, which I really like.
But seriously, though — probably the same reason as the next set of shots.
It makes it that the telecopes aren’t really clear and don’t work that well. That’s what they’ve got and that’s what they’re working with. It’s like they’re seeing these images through a crystal ball.
- Booze or: Cloudy and Full of Character
We love shots of characters drinking, but what separates these ones from last movie is the fact that the bottles are so cloudy. Colin said in the articles that cloudy bottles are full of character and are great, and that sentence was actually one of my favorite things ever written on this blog. It’s so true. If given the choice between a pristine, well-sculpted bottle, and something cloudy like this, I’ll take the cloudy one every time.
Now I want nothing but cloudy booze bottles in my house.
(Also — great band name: Cloudy Booze Bottles.)
It’s like how you’ll take a frosted beer glass over a room-temperature one EVERY time. Other than feeling better, it just looks better. I made the comment around the second image, where Norrington’s throwing one back. Look at that image! You see all the swirls of booze and the swirls of the glass. Imperfect glass is so much more interesting than perfect, clear glass.
- What’s Kraken
I love these shots of the Kraken taking down ships. They’re so crisp, and the CGI just works. You know it’s fake, but it looks good enough that you don’t care. So often are creatures obviously CGI and it’s not even believable (Avengers). This is something you go along with. (Because — let’s face it… Japan.)
They’re just glorious images — the tentacles just pulling apart a boat and taking it underwater.
(Also, that third shot is totally Japan.)
The second image looks like actual paintings of the Kraken taking down ships. I bet they consulted real drawings and stuff to get an idea of what people at the time thought the Kraken looked like, and this is one of the images that they came up with. It looks so good. And that third image…it’s hard to get more Japan than that.
- Isla Cruces
What a fucking perfect place for a fight. Look at this image. It’s beautiful on its own, and then you think about the reality of this situation. It’s these people fighting on this place, and there’s nothing around for miles but sand and water. It’s absolutely stunning.
Same as the last one, but with the trees in the background.
Plus, I do love a good wide shot of chaos. We’ve had one of these in the last two franchises. People fighting, and the camera just sits far away and lets you just watch it.
I love that.
Y’all are surrounded.
But even more so — this might be the best one of all, since they’re surrounded, and you don’t see anything in the frame except water, which adds to it. It’s just them framed by nothing but water.
It’s quite the image.
These last two I love because it’s literally Looney Tunes. It’s a madcap, screwball comedy. They’re running off with the chest behind her, while the other three are fighting and she’s pissed at them, and she runs off after them. It’s completely cartoon, in the best possible way.
They even run like it’s a cartoon!
It wouldn’t work if they weren’t running like goons. But they are goons. And look at that SKY.
- This shot
I love the tableau. It would be perfect (and be in the top ten) if there weren’t any trees, and it was just the three of them on a roof, against a white/gray background, swordfighting. (That just gave me an idea for something else I’ve been trying to do for years.) But still — it’s great as it is. It’s nearly there, and that’s good enough for me.
I didn’t even think about what it’d be like without the trees, and now that you’ve said that, I want those trees GONE. That’d be an incredible image. They could’ve brought the camera down about three feet and this would have been PERFECT.
- These shots
This is just brilliant. The three of them on a wheel, it spinning, and they’re fighting the whole time, and the camera is rotating with them. It’s brilliant. The second one is crisper, but the first one I love because the camera is sideways.
It’s really great filmmaking, shooting it like this. This franchise is very brilliantly conceived. Perhaps more so than all of the other franchises we’ve done.
Yeah, who the hell is this cinematographer? He did some work.
Dariusz Wolski — who also shot The Crow, Crimson Tide, Dark City, The Mexican (personal selection for a criminally underrated films list), Sweeney Todd, and Prometheus.
- This shot
I fucking love this. Him firing a little gun into something that’s taking down the entire ship. Plus the image itself is just amazing. I love when people are like, “Come on, you son of a bitch!”, firing away when they clearly have no chance of coming out of it alive, or aren’t shooting at anything tangible. Like that moment Forrest is pulling Lieutenant Dan away and he’s firing into the jungle at nothing. I always loved that moment too.
And the best part about this? You know he’s fucking LOADED right now.
It’s hard, looking at this and knowing I’ll never be able to do that.
- And this shot
This shot knows it’s great, which is what kept it off the top ten, but it’s still strong enough to merit inclusion.
It’s a really nice shot.
That’s a lens flare and a half.
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Tomorrow, we do our final thoughts, and Monday we start At World’s End.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)