An article by LucasTones, posted on June 23. 2004.

Page: [1] [2] [3]

This was written before the release of Pirates of the Caribbean. Check this article out to read some opinions about the movie, written after the release.


The Pirates of the Caribbean ride has been at Disneyland since 1965. It was originally called the Blue Bayou Lagoon, and has undergone many modifications since it originally opened. Unlike most of the rides in the park, it is completely original - not in the ride design, but in that it isn't based on any Disney movie and doesn't have any Disney characters in it. The ride consists of a boat trip through a smugglers cavern, a plundering pirate ship and a town being sacked by pirates. And, once, long ago, a man named Ron Gilbert went on this very ride. It is lucky for us that he did, for it inspired the perennial classic The Secret of Monkey Island.

Anyone who has played a Monkey Island game and been on the Pirates of the Caribbean can see the similarities. As these images of concept art and scenes from the ride show, there is a clear similarity with scenes found in the LucasArts games. To see any of the pictures at their full size just click on them.



Click on the two pictures above to get more information on them.

It would be unfair to say that the Monkey Island games are completely inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean. It certainly provided the initial inspiration, there is no doubt of that - there is not enough material on the ride to provide four full length computer games. And, to be fair, the ride itself was probably partly inspired by Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. That, as far as I know, was the first work of fiction in which pirates were depicted as buccaneers and swashbucklers, instead of bloodthirsty thieves and murderers. There is little dispute that the real 'pirates of the Caribbean' were nothing more than criminals who killed many innocent sailors, and made a great profit from ill-gotten gains. As Treasure Island is a novel written for children (though less-read by them today due to its age, and therefore the Victorian English grammar) it would be inappropriate to depict the pirates as such vagabonds. There are, of course, deaths and fights in Treasure Island, but not as much as there would be in real life. Take for example, the theme song to the Disney ride: "yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me." Am I the only one to remember Billy Bones' little ditty?

Fifteen men on the dead mans chest,
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest,
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

More than a slight resemblance, you'll agree.

I think we've researched the history and inspiration for Monkey Island enough - when it all comes down to it, Ron Gilbert created the characters and locations himself, and together with Tim Schafer, Jonathan Ackley, Dave Grossman, Sean Clark and  Mike Stemmle to name but a few, four fantastic games were produced. What is important now is that Disney have seemingly run out of ideas. Why else would they be turning several of their Disneyland attractions into movies? Of course, this means, as you no doubt know, that the Pirates of the Caribbean is coming to the cinema screen. And whether you like Disney or not, whether you've been on the ride or not, have no doubt - this is the closest we are going to come to a Monkey Island movie.

It does seem rather strange to me that the executives in charge of these decisions will make a movie based on a theme park ride. A computer game would seem a more marketable resource to get ideas from. For I don't think that any company would green-light a movie based on swashbucklers after the last one. Cutthroat Island was released in 1995, and is officially the biggest flop ever. Many mistakenly believe that this is Waterworld - this in fact made a great deal of money at the box office, it just cost a lot to make. A flop, by definition, is a movie that fails to make any money what-so-ever. I don't mean literally nobody sees it or buys it, just that the profits generated by sales do not make back the amount of money spent to actually make the film. The amount of money Cutthroat Island made was -$81 000 000. Please note, that is MINUS 81 million dollars. Incidentally, the 10th biggest flop of all time is also a pirate movie - Pirates (1986) lost $30 300 000. Based off this, any film executive worth his salt would only give the green-light to a pirate movie if it already had an established fan base - Cutthroat Island was completely original, and so no-one had a desire to see it before it was made. Ok, ok - so the Disney ride does have a fan-base. But it can't be as large as the Monkey Island fan base.

I do know why Disney aren't making a Monkey Island movie, though. They don't have the rights. And why should they pay George Lucas to make a film based off a game that only exists because of a ride they originally created. LucasArts sure as hell didn't pay Disney to make The Secret of Monkey Island, simply because it was 'similar' to the Pirates of the Caribbean. And knowing George Lucas, if Disney express a desire to make a Monkey Island movie he'd probably just make one himself. The very fact that Disney would be interested would suggest that the film would make money, and why should Disney share in any possible LucasFilm profits? Its a ruthless business.

So, back to the plot. The Pirates of the Caribbean movie stars Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, and the early word is that the plot is about a pirate curse. *cough, Curse of Monkey Island, cough cough* ahem. One interesting point is that the (relatively) famous 'jail scene' is to be included in the film. So we can sit in the theatre and enjoy the film with reverse-logic - "They got that from Monkey Island 2!!" etc. I know a lot of people on mixnmojo aren't really all that interested in this movie, they see it as a Monkey Island rip-off and not as a chance to see the same pirates we know and love sailing around the Caribbean looking for treasure, breaking curses, and falling in love (with women, calm down spartacus.)

Also, I want you to think of this: If there is one thing Hollywood can be accused of, its the 'jumping on the band-wagon' trend. As soon as Spiderman smashed box office records in the USA on its opening weekend, all the other studios commissioned a super-hero film. Now we have Superman year one, Batman year one, Superman vs. Batman, Spiderman II, Spiderman III, Daredevil and The Incredible Hulk to name but some. All because Spiderman made money. So if you all go and see the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and it becomes a huge hit and makes a huge heap of profit, then maybe George Lucas will sit down with his legions of yes-men, and a Monkey Island movie will be commissioned. Because the other rule of Hollywood is this: Things are only hot for a few minutes - think back to 1997. The 'hot' topic was asteroids. We get Deep Impact and Armageddon. How many asteroid movies since then? Lets see if we can make pirates the new hot topic.

Download these amazing Pirates of the Caribbean files!

A video of the ride in action! (ZIP, 4Mb)

Walt Disney describes the ride! (MP3, 275Kb)

Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirates Life For Me theme song! (MP3, 398Kb)

Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirates Life For Me instrumental! (MP3, 439Kb)

Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirates Life For Me early unused version! (MP3, 639Kb)

The official Disney description of the attraction (WAV, 314Kb)

Image   Image   Image   Image   Image   Image   Image   Image   Image   Image   Image  

Page: [1] [2] [3] [Back To Articles]

LucasTones June 23. 2004

Thrik: wow, LucasTones latest article rocks
Gabez: well you know, it was written in august 2002
Thrik: wow, really? thats incredible
RemiO: yeah, Tones is the man
Scabb: did I tell you guys about the time he gave me his kidneys, when I had that accident?
Gabez: dude, typo! you said "kidneys" - he can't have given you both
Scabb: no, its true. He said he'd be ok

(all) "what a guy"

Return to previous page.