How The 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' Movies Seemingly Ripped Off A Classic Video Game
With the welcome news that the beloved Monkey Island video game series is officially coming back to life, some fans might be wondering when the hell the hilarious pirate adventures will get their own movies. Well, here's a reminder that they already did: they were called Pirates of the Caribbean and starred Johnny Depp as the only main character who isn't suspiciously similar to a character from the game.
First, there's Guybrush Threepwood, the clumsy and very un-pirate-like protagonist who, via a series of unlikely circumstances, ends up leading a pirate crew. His Pirates analog, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), is introduced as a regular chump who breaks off a part of the scenery while awkwardly waiting in a room and puts it somewhere it doesn't belong, which is exactly what an adventure game character would do.
Next is Elaine Marley, the attractive and headstrong Governor of an island in the Caribbean who is kidnapped by pirates and somehow falls for Guybrush. In Pirates, we have Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the attractive and headstrong Governor's daughter who is kidnapped by pirates. They changed her profession but kept the most unlikely part, which is the "falling for the protagonist" one.
And then there's the Ghost Pirate LeChuck, who becomes the Zombie Pirate LeChuck in the second game and Demon Pirate LeChuck in the third one. Pirates went straight to his zombie form via Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who leads a similar crew of undead incompetents as LeChuck.
The games and movies also share various settings, like a voodoo shack in the middle of a misty swamp, an island inhabited by cannibals who wear ridiculous stuff on their heads, and a town built out of wrecked pirate ships.
There was actually a Monkey Island movie in the works around 2000, with Steven Spielberg's enthusiastic support, and at one point Pirates of the Caribbean writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio were shown concept art and offered the chance to write it. In a deep dive into the movie's production at Polygon, all involved agree that Elliot and Rossio didn't rip anyone off, and the similarities are due to both franchises drinking from the same influences ... which don't include all elements we mentioned here, but okay. That said, the first time we brought up all these similarities, Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert tweeted that he was "almost convinced" and that's the only opinion that matters to us. Like, in general.
Top image: Walt Disney Pictures