A Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack Concert Critiqued

Recently, my dad, brother and I went to see an outdoor Pirates of the Caribbean concert performed by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. The movie Dead Man’s Chest was playing on the screen with the whole orchestra playing the film score below. Besides the John Williams and Piano Guys concerts I’ve been to, this performance was the best.

I was interested to see what the orchestra would do with the Kraken soundtrack. If you’ve listened to it closely before, you’ve probably noticed that it has some strong main electronic elements and has some pretty good organ in it. Well, this orchestra didn’t sound like it was using anything electronic and I’m pretty sure the organ was dubbed in, though it could have been a keyboard. But the Kraken soundtrack they played actually sounded pretty good, even without those things that are used in the real track. I was impressed. I also had never realized how much vocals are used in the whole movie.

This opinion doesn’t have to do with the movie alone; since I was at a concert where they were playing the actual music, the End Credits in this case were actually the best part of the whole performance. They were, after all, playing the main theme we all know and love so well. It was an emotional moment for me.

Film score concerts are a great way to help yourself appreciate the movie soundtracks even more. I wish the film scores would receive as much praise and popularity as the actors and actresses do. Because the actors are acting, they’re good at this, this is what they do, it is an art. But when it comes to the music, I just wish we could all give it the plaudit and appreciation that this music deserves. An orchestral composer, a very skilled and musically trained person, spends most of his life composing scores for movies, it is his career. He puts his all into it. The musicians in the orchestra have to be amazingly excelled with their instruments and must endure hours and hours of practice just so that, when they are all put together, it sounds good enough to finally be recorded in order to add the emotion into the film. And we’re not just talking about some band here, this is an orchestra. So many different instruments, so many people working together and doing their best. These scores are classics! And it is amazing when you understand that without music, the movies would be nothing but dry, emotionless blah. They are important!

Since I did, after all, get to watch the whole movie in one sitting (oddment: don’t usually do that) I decided to write up a little critique and compare the first two movies.

  • Dead Man’s Chest doesn’t really have a strong storyline. There are so many characters that are just starting to be explored, but they all run around in different places and sort of waste time. The acting and creativity were great, but the storyline didn’t seem quite complete; it didn’t seem like a lot got done. In this case, it’s not as great as the first movie, Curse of the Black Pearl, which is so incredibly well done. I’m talking of not just storyline, but the characters, the efficient filming, the way the story is told, and just pretty much everything else about it.

Even some of the lines in Dead Man’s Chest were dumb (“Don’t eat me! Don’t eat me!” “Huh? I’m not going to eat you”) and so on.

  • Second, Will Turner and Elizabeth were less likable. The line I used above was Will’s dumb response to the parrot. That’s not all, of course. Throughout the movie, he seems naïve and willing to stupidly risk his life and do anything to “free Elizabeth,” even though it means to climb aboard the fearsome Flying Dutchman and “cut down anyone who stands in [his] path.” And then, when he finally meets Elizabeth on the island (she’s free) where the Chest was hidden, what does he do right after but start playing sword fight with Sparrow and Norrington, while completely ignoring dying-of-the-heat Lizzy! I’m not even quite sure why all three of them were fighting in the first place, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do about the chest. I blanked when Ragetti tried to explain (the great music was distracting!)



Even if you’d never really listened to film scores alone, and even if you hate symphony concerts or classical music, I suggest you try going to a film score concert. Just once. Get a cheap seat if you have to. But the experience will be rewarding. Just make sure you didn’t accidentally buy tickets for a musical (though those can be pretty cool too, take Les Mis).

There you have it. Have you guys been to any film score concerts? What are your thoughts on the score for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and what do you think about movie music overall? Feel free to comment and share your opinions.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Grandmom says:

    So happy that you all enjoyed the orchestra! Your explanation of all that you saw and heard is intriguing! We love orchestral music but have never been to a film score concert. We have attended many musicals with live orchestras…….interesting to have the movie playing instead! Thanks for the critique! (Our favorites, though, are the concerts with your dad playing his trumpet!!)


    1. Thanks! It was a great experience. The musicals with live orchestras are so great, I think I’ve been to just one of those (though it wasn’t a full orchestra, it was the Les Mis production).


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