Ms. Kassia Waggoner
16 September 2014
Yo ho! It’s a pirate’s life for me. This song is probably one of the most famous and well-known songs associated with the idea of Pirates. While watching Pirate’s of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, I was able to listen too and dissect the scenes linked with a few other commonly known pirate theme songs. It is important to note that Pirates of the Caribbean is part of the film genre action and adventure. As a result of this, it was pretty easy to recognize the fact that the music was upbeat, high tempo, and exciting.
Midway through the movie, Captain Barbosa and the crew of the Black Pearl are chasing down Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elisabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) and their crew of the Interceptor. The crew of the interceptor realizes that they are going to be caught by the Black Pearl and decide to turn around and fight. During this time, the recognizable Pirates of the Caribbean theme song begins to play in the background.
The director chooses to play the song during this action scene in order to stir excitement in the audience. The music is a variety of different trumpet sounds and orchestra noises, but has no words or lyrics. Providing music to a film is an easy way to introduce logos. By introducing music that creates an emotion appeal, in this case excitement, the director and editor are logically persuading the audience that this is an action packed adventure film. However, the exciting music can also establish credibility, because it lets the audience realize, that maybe the directors and editors understand film and know how to stir certain emotions in people.
As the scene moves on, the same theme song continues to play, but it is often interrupted by certain abrupt beats and similar tunes. When the ship decides to turn, Mr. Gibbs shouts, “Lower the starboard anchor, do it you dogs, or it’s you we’ll load into the cannons”. As Gibbs is announcing this, the music starts to accelerate as the volume increases and by the time he is done talking, a thrilling and fast paced song explodes into the background. The song helps to shape the mood and tone of the scene and eventually the whole movie, by initiating a slight adrenaline rush in the audience. Considering the fact that it’s safe to assume that most people like the feeling of excitement, the director is using this music to persuade the audience that they are enjoying themselves while in the theater. In addition to the music, we find noises of the waves and wind adding to the intensity of the scene. This is also a good time to point out that throughout the movie, the director ascertains his credibility by dressing the set and actors in appropriate 18th century Pirate attire. More credibility is established by the writers of the script in the previous statement by Mr. Gibbs. By having Mr. Gibbs say things like “you dog, or it’s you we’ll throw into the cannons”, it generates the movie’s credibility as a realistic and historical pirate film. According to Andrea Lunsford in her book, Everything’s an Argument, “before we accept the words (or image) of others, we must usually respect their authority, admire their integrity and motives, or at least acknowledge what they stand for” (55-56). In order for an audience to accept the movie as a pirate action and adventure film, it must be persuaded through costumes, characters, scripts, and even music.
With the battle raging, the scene starts to come to an end. Will Turner is drowning under a piece of wood at the bottom of the ship while a fuse made of gunpowder is about to cause the ship to blow up. There is a musical buildup as the fuse gets closer and closer. All of a sudden the ships blows up and the music explodes with it. We see the shocked face of Elizabeth Swan as the audience is supposed to sympathize with her and share her emotions. This helps the director create more pathos by persuading the audience that they should feel bad for the character. Directors must learn how to “appreciate legitimate emotions, particularly when you want to influence the public” (Lunsford 40). In order for the director to influence the public, he has to know how to manipulate certain human emotions. The use of musical buildup and a musical climax allows for a more intense emotional appeal, causing an incredible mixture of exhilaration and empathy in the viewers.
Overall, the creators of the film are trying to make the argument that Pirates of the Caribbean is an action-adventure film. The director cannot just establish his credibility by decorating the set and characters in the proper attire and stating that he works for Warner Bros Productions. The addition of music allows for an establishment of authority and ultimately helps persuade the audience that the film they are watching is adventurous. Furthermore, music can help introduce a logical appeal and make the audience understand that this type of film could very well be realistic. Alternatively, Pathos can be manipulated with certain shifts in volume or accelerated musical changes. This movie and its individual scenes were able to create an incredible soundtrack that is both catchy and metaphorically effective. The soundtrack was easily able to establish credibility, apply logos, and introduce pathos and as a result, I think that Pirates of the Caribbean deserves 5 out of 5 pickles! Music is not just used to give us a catchy tune to listen to; it is created and presented to make a point. The whole objective of the film industry is to persuade people that in the end, movies are exciting and enjoyable.