Everything on Pirates: Origins

I’ve just been watching a National Geographic documentary on the notorious pirate ‘Blackbeard’ called Blackbeard’s Lost Pirate Ship. Personally it raised a lot of questions on what I don’t know about pirates (which are considered one of the coolest things to be in pop culture). They’ve always had a certain cool factor and this has only grown with the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies. I suppose what I know started when I was little, I was introduced to the common stereotype is an eye patch wearing, peg legged, parrot adorned, black bearded captain flying a jolly roger from his ship. And its not surprising that a lot of that is an amalgamation of several people! To keep things simple I’ve started at the earliest known reference and I’m going to work my way forward hopefully you enjoy it.

Pirate Origins: The Sea People

The earliest consistent known acts of what we consider piracy happened in the late Bronze age, 13th Century BC, by the Phahroh Merneptah, he simply refered to them as “the foreign peoples of the sea” and drawn in the Medinet Habu with feathers. Whilst not the traditional view of pirates with cannons and galleon ships they made many inventions which aided sailing helping to keep them ahead of the local authorities and are still in widespread use today. Such innovations include the loose-footed or ‘free’ lower yardarm which greatly improved sailing under unfavourable wind conditions, the crows nest for early warning alarms and the reintroduction of the eastern use of ashlar (dressed and mortar-less brick) which was first seen 2700 years earlier! The sea peoples were also had origins of many ideas we have of Vikings, having horned helmets and identical prows at stern and aft.

Alas their raiding of undefended/unfortified ports finalised a collapse of Egyptian economy but not before they were attacked en masses and soon got them a reputation, which lead to attacks struck back at the Egyptians by sea and by land with help of the Libyans. Despite having less advanced ships the Egyptians were able to outmanoeuvre the Sea Peoples with oars and sails inshore in southern Canaan (Philistia). This coupled with bombardment of the shieldless Sea People with arrows from Seaborne archers prevented their swordsmen and javaliers from succeeding on land.

Those that weren’t killed or captured are presumed to have merged with the local indigenous peoples maintaining their enigmatic origins to this very date. (Which is why I’ve linked out to so many places as information is very, very scattered!)

Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Wowzers, good sequel. Its not quite what I expected through, I anticipated a movie that felt like the first half of an adventure not an enduring quest that draws out the action. What I mean is the punches felt spaced out rather than a rapid succession. The first film was and still is a swashbuckling adventure the second more of a journey across middle earth to save the entire world.

In most cases where sequels are desired but the companies funding them are unsure of their success endings aren’t left closed. The creators have always said they wanted to make more than one but obviously they didn’t thread the first stories into the sequels. This often leads to sequels having stories that are a little far fetched, they twist the facts to account for the past film and leave out others. Dead Man’s Chest marvellously takes off exactly where you would expect Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Ms. Swann to be after such an absence.

The entire film cried quality, I ask, if there were any special effects (besides the monsters) I couldn’t see them. The digital stunt doubles were seamless unless they got actual people to do the stunts in which case I’m insanely happy because you don’t get that enough these days. Sound was beautiful, I love a good score to a film especially when you get to hear it in full dolby surround sound!

Towards the end it seemed like they were trying to do too much, the 3 way sword fight for example. Not quite as entertaining as the sequence in the first film in the blacksmith forge, the snappy dialogue and movement around the environment, floor, press/furnace, rafters kept it interesting whereas going around and around on the watermill and standing in the middle of an expansive beach didn’t quite get my juices flowing. Admittedly the beach sequence was ‘dull’ to not distract from the ‘humour’ being spouted by Ms. Swann but it just wasn’t funny enough.

The ending was colossal, such a grandiose finale for Jack and a surprise I never saw coming. Certainly kept me interested in returning to see the 3rd instalment and hopefully not too long a wait a la Matrix Reloaded to Revolutions (6 months give or take) in comparison to the Lord of the Rings’ 12 months.

Rating: 88%