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The Pirates of the Caribbean and Monkey Island

Have you seen one of the recent Disney films "Pirates of the Caribbean" or even both? Then you will surely know that these movies are based on the popular (or most popular) ride from the Disney Disneyland/Magic Kingdom Themeparks with the same name.

Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers invented the ride for the Disney Park in Anaheim during the 60s and opened it on March 18, 1967. Later the ride which involves an indoor pirate-town and a ghost-ride like sequence became one of the most successful and well-loved attractions in the Disney Parks, even getting a reference in the 1993 movie "Jurassic Park".

Things changed a bit since the 60s and new media emerged, mainly the advent of the home-computer. While animatronic puppets were big in 1967, colour-graphics on your PC were in 1990. This was the year Lucas Arts, the computer game division of George Lucas' company Lucasfilm released Monkey Island.

"The Secret of Monkey Island" was developed by Ron Gilbert and cited many works about Pirates and the Caribbean in general. After the large success of the game, Gilbert mentioned during interviews that he was also inspired by the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disneyland (among other things). 1 At the height of sucess, during the release of the sequel games "Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge", "The Curse of Monkey Island" and finally "Escape From Monkey Island" the fourth game, the calls for a movie based on the game became louder.

Not much later Disney announced a film based on its Pirates of the Caribbean franchise later becoming "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.


Call it mere chance, but for a fan gamer the impression that Disney did a quick move here to protect the Pirate theme is a quick one. 3 With this thought in mind, watching the films after playing the games reveals a few close resemblances. One might argue that as Gilbert was inspired by the ride resemblances of the game with the movie are inevitable. But a critique might argue that Disney is protecting topics and themes here from ever being filmed again. Let's make a list:

The Humour And Tone Pirates of the Caribbean (PotC) is a fun ride for adults and kids and has its funny aspects but actually funny all the time is only the game! The notion that the PotC-movie should be a quirky one with a sometimes awkward protagonist is truly Monkey Island. The opening of the first movie features a scene where Will Turner breaks a luster - never seen that in Disneyland.

The Costume The games feature a joung man named Guybrush Threepwood sporting a too-big coat, a ponytail and a sparse beard. Now watch Orlando Bloom in the flicks...

The Beard In Monkey Island ghost pirate Captain LeChuck features a beard of flames, in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest the main enemy Davy Jones sports a tentacle beard. Ron Gilbert on his blog about the observation: "Yeah, they kind of screwed up his beard (LeChuck's), but that's LeChuck, and let's be honest, if I'd thought of the squid tentacles for a beard, I would have done that."

The Coffin Ride In Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Johnny Depp alias Jack Sparrow uses a coffin to navigate to his ship. Guybrush did this before! In Monkey Island 2 the gamer had to use a coffin to navigate the swamps to get to the voodoo lady - which takes us to our last similarity:

The Voodoo Lady Monkey Island features a Voodoo lady in a swamp, living in a house on stilts...

There Is More... Some story ideas like a young swashbuckler who is becoming a pirate, a governor's daughter as central character, a treasure hunt, the cannibals etc.

Nobody will ever find a final answer to these similarities and origins, not even Ron Gilbert himself but it should be said nevertheless.

more to read: on on idlethumbs discussing rip-off or not an combined poster


# Posted by staff on Thu Jan 1 01:00:00 1970 | Category: Movies

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