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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Album Cover Art
2003 Disney
2007 Disney
Album 2 Cover Art
Co-Composed and Produced by:

Co-Composed by:
Klaus Badelt
Ramin Djawadi
James Dooley
Nick Glennie-Smith
Steve Jablonsky
Blake Neely
James McKee Smith
Geoff Zanelli

Conducted by:
Blake Neely
Nick Ingram
Rick Wentworth

Orchestrations Supervised by:
Bruce Fowler
Labels Icon
Walt Disney Records
(July 22nd, 2003)

Walt Disney Records
(December 4th, 2007)
Availability Icon
Both the 2003 album and the 2007 set are regular U.S. releases. The 2007 "Soundtrack Treasures Collection" initially retailed for $60 or more.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you enjoy truly brainless film music that not only ruins the film for some viewers but also popularly ushered in an era of brute masculinity over style in the genre of swashbuckling music.

Avoid it... if you've already heard quite enough imbecilic regurgitation from the old Media Ventures production house of Hans Zimmer and seek intelligence, finesse, or savoir-faire in your high seas adventures.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 7/22/03, REVISED 7/20/11
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: (Hans Zimmer/Various) When popular and successful action producer Jerry Bruckheimer was announced to be making a film adaptation of the legendary Disneyland New Orleans Square theme part attraction "Pirates of the Caribbean," fans of the swashbuckling genre erupted with joyful hope and anticipation. A strong cast catering to the masses of youths, a story worthy of chase and adventure, spectacular effects, and an intangible likeability all helped Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl earn spectacular gross returns in the summer of 2003 and eventually gave birth to a franchise of continued success for Disney. That franchise has become the definition of the summer blockbuster of the 2000's, though while its films remain a guilty pleasure for even many hardened viewers, few would argue that it's high-class artistry. A lasting controversy boiled over within the film score collecting community in regards to Pirates of the Caribbean, however, despite the initial score's immense popularity with mainstream movie-goers. There is no single film music composer alive today who is such an expert at the sea-faring piracy genre as Erich Wolfgang Korngold was in the Golden Age, although several modern composers have followed in his tradition and produced suitably swashbuckling scores. John Debney, Patrick Doyle, and Bruce Broughton, among others, have all given the genre their best, and, at the outset, Alan Silvestri would be called upon to raise the same spirit in Pirates of the Caribbean. Having proven his larger-than-life action scoring abilities with a range of films from Back to the Future to The Mummy Returns, Silvestri was well qualified for the job, especially having worked with Disney in the years just prior. Being a Bruckheimer production, however, there was always a funny, sneaking suspicion that the Media Ventures musical empire of Hans Zimmer would somehow envelope this score's creation, and, alas, it was to be so. Silvestri was fired after writing some material deemed unsatisfactory to Bruckheimer's ears, and Disney presented Zimmer with enough money to hack through some last minute ideas and unleash his Media Ventures artists on the project at the last minute.

A number of problems faced Zimmer, though. First, he couldn't contractually take credit for the score because of an agreement with another studio during that period of time. There are varying accounts of exactly how much of The Curse of the Black Pearl he actually wrote, with some claiming that the quantity is as much as in any of his other collaborative scores. Zimmer himself has since taken credit for all the major themes. For legal reasons, however, his contribution was technically restrained to some synthesizer programming and consultation. Primary credit was shifted to composer Klaus Badelt, a relative newcomer in the Zimmer gang who had been moving up the ranks of the organization since his involvement with Gladiator and who was known at the time for his two other summer blockbusters, The Time Machine and K-19: The Widowmaker (both of which highly derivative of other scores, but ranging from adequate to enjoyable in the context of their own films). Under Badelt, the list of regular Media Ventures artists composing snippets for the project included Ramin Djawadi, James Dooley, Nick Glennie-Smith, Steve Jablonsky, Blake Neely, James McKee Smith, and Geoff Zanelli. With one music supervisor, eight composers, nine orchestrators, three conductors, and Zimmer serving as the "overproducer," you immediately got the impression that this was a potentially frightening Media Ventures nightmare. The result of this frantic combined effort? A monumentally disappointing mess of a score that, more importantly, gave birth to a spirited debate about the larger implications that the popularity of this imbecilic work had on the industry. Stop for a moment and consider the days when a single man would write, orchestrate, conduct, and produce a score. Now imagine two-dozen people trying to do the same thing all at once on computers, and the product is a useless, meandering collection of stock action cues with few cohesive elements of any significance. There is a reason why scores like these are deemed ineligible to win Academy Awards. Zimmer and Badelt's coordination efforts serve as a sampler of Media Ventures cues from the previous seven years, with hardly any original ideas, no deviation from their norms, and no indication that they took Pirates of the Caribbean seriously enough to give it a personality of its own.

Ratings Icon
Average: 2.78 Stars
***** 6,422 5 Stars
**** 1,455 4 Stars
*** 3,315 3 Stars
** 5,532 2 Stars
* 6,909 1 Stars
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Stop it, he's already dead
A Loony Trombonist - April 29, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.
1 comment  (70 views)
My alternate review smile
Hari Haran - January 2, 2017, at 3:08 p.m.
1 comment  (742 views)
NO NO NO   Expand >>
Vincent - July 11, 2015, at 9:15 a.m.
4 comments  (2620 views)
Newest: April 30, 2016, at 5:18 a.m. by
Edmund Meinerts
What an a$$!
LightningB - July 26, 2014, at 4:12 p.m.
1 comment  (1471 views)
I dunno what to say...
O Dog - August 13, 2012, at 8:33 a.m.
1 comment  (1893 views)
A pop music score   Expand >>
Captain Future - September 4, 2011, at 12:47 a.m.
2 comments  (3070 views)
Newest: May 24, 2012, at 8:23 p.m. by
Duke Poopington

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2003 Disney Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 43:37
• 1. Fog Bound (2:17)
• 2. The Medallion Calls (1:53)
• 3. The Black Pearl (2:17)
• 4. Will and Elizabeth (2:08)
• 5. Swords Crossed (3:16)
• 6. Walk the Plank (1:59)
• 7. Barbossa is Hungry (4:06)
• 8. Blood Ritual (3:33)
• 9. Moonlight Serenade (2:09)
• 10. To the Pirates' Cave! (3:31)
• 11. Skull and Crossbones (3:24)
• 12. Bootstrap's Bootstraps (2:39)
• 13. Underwater March (4:13)
• 14. One Last Shot (4:46)
• 15. He's a Pirate (1:31)
2007 Disney Set Tracks   ▼Total Time: 47:22

Notes Icon
The insert of the 2003 album includes no extra information about the score or film, but the names of nearly everyone involved with the project are given pirate-related nicknames. The 2007 "Soundtrack Treasures Collection" contains extra notation about the music. Its DVD contents include "Making of a Score" (19:48), a general production overview of the scores, "The Man Behind the Pirates Music" (17:38), an interview with Zimmer alone with recording sessions footage, and "Hans Zimmer's Live Performance at Disneyland for the World Premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (8:37).
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl are Copyright © 2003, 2007, Walt Disney Records, Walt Disney Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/22/03 and last updated 7/20/11.
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