Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Captain Jack Sparrow

Ahoy mates! Savvy?

It always happens with me that a thing- a movie comes, becomes hugely popular, everyone keeps on talking about it, and I wonder what is the matter! Later on, perhaps years later I come across it, actually watch it and fall madly in love with it and it continues on and on while others are done with it by then and that is exactly what happened with The Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I had never before seen a pirate movie, nor did I think it was something I would like; before I came across this one that is!

Now for some background, Pirates of the Caribbean is a film, actually based on the.........
 -The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney theme parks. Now although the Pirates of the Caribbean series met with a huge success, it was the character of Captain Jack Sparrow that perhaps garnered more popularity than the movie itself and the major chunk of the credit goes to Johnny Depp himself. Initially, Sparrow was conceived for the first film as a trickster who guides the hero, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), but Johnny Depp's performance led to Sparrow's role being altered and at the first read-through, Depp surprised the cast and crew by portraying the character in an off-kilter manner. After researching 18th century pirates, Depp compared them to modern rock stars and decided to base his performance on Keith Richards who even made a cameo appearance as Captain Teague, the father of Captain Jack Sparrow , in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Disney executives were initially confused by Depp's performance, asking him whether the character was drunk or gay. Michael Eisner even proclaimed while watching rushes, "He's ruining the film!"
Depp responded, "Look, these are the choices I made. You know my work. So either trust me or give me the boot." Many industry insiders also questioned Depp's casting, as he was an unconventional actor not known for working within the traditional studio system.

After watching this movie, one thing that I can certainly say is whether you like the movie or not, you will certainly fall in love with Captain Jack Sparrow. Some of the things responsible for it would be that firstly, it is such a different character from anything you might have ever seen. He is not exactly the hero in the movie, nor the villain. The character has been made in such a way that it is up to the audience what to think of him. He is not shown as a very good or bad person and again it will depend on the perception of the viewer. But what I feel is that Captain Jack Sparrow (putting ‘Captain’ before his name is almost mandatory after you watch the film) is basically a good person but he is more self-centered and is continuously trying to get the thing that he is after, but if any situation arises, he does help others but neither would he go out of his way to do so. In short, he is concerned with his own welfare and if it doesn’t hurt his interest in any way, he is more than willing to do good for others as well.

According to the screenwriters, Sparrow is a trickster who uses wit and deceit to attain his goals, being a lesser swordsman compared to the other characters. He walks with a slightly drunken swagger and has slurred speech and flailing hand gestures and this, strangely, I believe is what majorly contributes to his charm and likeability! Sparrow is the Pirate Lord of the Caribbean Sea and can be treacherous, surviving mostly by using wit and negotiation rather than weapons and force; although he will fight if necessary, he tries to flee most dangerous situations. Sparrow represents an ethical pirate, his true motives usually remain masked. Even Sparrow's actions are often preplanned and his tactics, admired. Sparrow usually prefers the strategies of non-violent negotiations and turning his enemies against each other. He explains, "Why fight when you can negotiate? All one needs is the proper leverage." He often uses complex wordplay and vocabulary to confound his enemies and he is portrayed as having created, or at least contributed to, his own reputation. Despite his many heroics, Sparrow is a pirate and a morally ambiguous character but claims to be a man of his word, and expresses surprise that people doubt his truthfulness!

Johnny Depp has said pirates were like rock stars in that their fame preceded them, which suggests a reason for the portrayal of Sparrow as having an enormous ego. Depp partly based the character on Pepé Le Pew, a womanizing skunk from Looney Tunes. Sparrow claims to have a "tremendous intuitive sense of the female creature", although his conquests are often left with a sour memory of him and His witty charm easily attracts women. Sparrow claims his "first and only love is the sea,", and describes his ship as representing freedom. Sparrow also has bad personal hygiene, a trait of Pepé Le Pew and an insatiable thirst for rum.

As I have mentioned in my other posts, I really like Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and even The Transporter kind of movies too wherein the hero is usually the big, muscular guy who epitomizes the ‘Ultimate action hero’, is proficiently trained with consummate skills capable of handling anything, characterized by the small sentences and few words. But this character of Captain Jack Sparrow is so very different from that and yet I love him too.
He is a simple person in a way who does what he feels best and lives for himself. You may call him selfish, but to me he is just a normal person who lives as anyone would. He knows what he wants, tries everything that he can to get things that he wants or to get out of trouble and does not live in guilt. He puts his interest forward first but tending to see that generally everything is well with all around him. He isn’t extremely skilled but makes the most of whatever he has mainly his wit and the gift of words. He is not the one to go by traditions but rather responds to the situation and does what seems best to him.
And this is one of the major reasons I feel that people can identify and love Jack is because he is not shown as the ideal ‘hero’ who is almost perfect and lives by ideals, morals or values. He is not perfect and that is what makes him lovable.

According to various people, Sparrow is the only element of the films that will remain timeless. The character's popularity can be attributed to being a "scoundrel whose occasional bouts of conscience allow viewers to go with the flaws because, as played to the larger-than-life hilt by Depp, he owns every scene he is in and his popularity is attributed to the increased questioning of masculinity in the 21st century. Sparrow has a carefree attitude and does not take himself seriously and is an escapist fantasy figure for women, free from much of the responsibility of most heroes. He is also one of the ten favorite film outlaws, as he "lives for himself and the freedom to do whatever it is that he damn well pleases. Precious few film characters have epitomized what makes the outlaw such a romantic figure for audiences as Captain Jack Sparrow has."

Depp's flamboyant and eccentric characterization, partially inspired by Pepé Le Pew and Keith Richards, turned Sparrow into an iconic anti-hero and the breakout character of the series and Depp even earned his first Academy Award nomination!

Johnny Depp has made Captain jack Sparrow a living legend- an immortal one. One that will always be loved and remembered by everyone. Pirates of the Caribbean can only be there while Captain Jack Sparrow is there. It is just completely incomplete without him.
This post was completely about the character that dominates the Pirates of the Caribbean but ‘keep a weather eye on the horizon’ of my blog for more posts on the movie series and more!
This is the day you shall always remember as the day that you almost…….understood Captain Jack Sparrow! (No one can, to be fair!)

Some of the best Jack Sparrow lines-
- [talking to Will Turner about Elizabeth] She's safe, just like I promised. She's all set to marry Norrington just like she promised and you're all set to die for her just like you promised. So we're all men of our word, really... except for Elizabeth, who is, in fact, a woman.

- You seem somewhat familiar; have I threatened you before?

- Me, I'm dishonest. And a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for. Because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly…stupid.

- "Do us a favor...I know it's hard...but stay here, and try not to do anything...stupid."

- You forgot one very important thing mate... I'm Captain Jack Sparrow."

- No, you want you to find this. Because the finding of this finds you incapacitorially finding and/or locating in your discovering the detecting of a way to save your dolly belle ol' what's-her-face. [pause] Savvy?

- You can mistrust me less than you can mistrust him, trust me.

- No. If we don't have the key, we can't open whatever it is we don't have that it unlocks. So what purpose would be served in finding whatever needs be unlocked... which we don't have... without having first found the key what unlocks it?

- [While Giselle and Scarlett are arguing, Jack mad about his ship stolen again by Barbossa] Ladies, will you please shut it?! [Turning his head back and forth to Scarlett and Giselle as he speaks each sentence] Yes, I lied to you. No, I don't love you. Of course it makes you look fat! I've never been to Brussels. It is pronounced, "egregious." And by the way, no, I never actually met Pizzaro, but I love his pies. And all of this pales into utter insignificance in light of the fact that my ship is, once again, gone! Savvy?

- (Jack looks out over the wheel of the Black Pearl)Jack: "Bring me that horizon."(He looks down at his compass, then starts to mutter the Pirate's Life for Me song)Jack: "...And really bad eggs. Drink up, me 'arties, yo ho!"

- Some more lines from the latest movie of this series- Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides 2011:

-  Jack Sparrow[after being addressed as "Jack Sparrow"There should be a "Captain" in there somewhere. 

Jack Sparrow[Standing on a cliff edgeYou know that feeling you get when you're standing in a high place... sudden urge to jump?... I don't have it. 

- Angelica: [to Jack] Why is it we can never meet without you pointing something at me? 

Jack Sparrow: Captain, I wish to report a mutiny. I can name fingers and point names. 
Blackbeard: Perfect. 

Jack Sparrow:Have you been there?
Captain Teague: Does this face look like it's been to the fountain of youth?
Jack Sparrow: Depends on the light. 

At one point a missionary traveling with the pirates suggests an alternative to a plan the pirates had. Jack replies with, "I support the missionary's position."

Watch out for more on the movie series and dialogues.
* Few references are from websites like Wikipedia.
Interesting Facts - Johnny Depp has 13 tatoos--signifying important milestones in the actor's life and the people he has shared time with.
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