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Blu-ray Review: Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy Box Set

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Arrr, matey… it be time to enjoy the Pirrrrate’s Treasure Chest.

Okay, enough of that. But the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is now out in a handy-dandy box set. Sadly, it is not actually called “The Pirrrrate’s Treasure Chest,” but perhaps that is just too obvious.

If you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years, the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is based on the popular Disneyland ride of the same name. Yep, a movie based on a ride. Though I – and most people I knew – did not have high hopes for the film, it turned out to be really, really good. It was well shot, well acted, well written, with humor, action, and heart.

All three of the Pirates movies have already been released on Blu-ray and DVD. Unlike other popular trilogies (*cough* I’m looking at you, George Lucas *cough*), the Pirates movies came to the home market six to eight months after their theatrical releases. So why are they once again releasing them?

I can only surmise it is to get people to buy the discs again. After all, it is in that aforementioned handy-dandy box set. Now all your discs will stay together. But it seems to just be a marketing ploy. As far as I can tell, all the discs in the box set contain the exact same special features as the discs purchased separately, many months previously.

The Curse of the Black Pearl has bloopers and a “making of” documentary. They clearly didn’t film a lot of extras for the first movie. Dead Man’s Chest seems to have the most featurettes: the secrets of Captain Jack, sword training for the stars, on location in the Bahamas, and the “making of” Davy Jones. By far, the most interesting featurette is how they decided to incorporate the films into the classic Disneyland attraction. As a life-long Disney fan, I loved going behind the scenes of the ride, listening to the history of the ride, and hearing from original Imagineers.

At World’s End is on set with Keith Richards (despite the fact that he was in the film for all of six minutes or so), how they created the “many Jacks” for Johnny Depp’s hallucinatory scene, and how they created the maelstrom scene. The maelstrom scene is the biggest that the crew has ever filmed, and the behind-the-scenes is interactive. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer narrates time-lapse footage of the set being built in a Palmdale, California sound stage. Pop-ups throughout the piece can be clicked on for a more in-depth featurette on, for example, the rain system or the stunt men or how the graphics were composited together. Frankly, many of these special features are so detailed and convoluted it makes navigation difficult.

My husband swears that the first two films are remastered so that all three in the box set are now at 1080ip (whereas individually, only the third film is 1080p; the other two are 1080i). He is a television editor, so he knows his stuff when it comes to technical specs. Personally, I don’t see the difference. And unless you are a tech-nut like my husband, you won’t either. If you haven’t purchased the trilogy, than grab this box set. If you already have them, don’t waste the money.

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