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Tracing the Development of the Pirate Motif with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean
Postmodern Pirates offers a comprehensive analysis of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series and the pirate motif through the lens of postmodern theories. Susanne Zhanial shows how the postmodern elements determine the movies’ aesthetics, narratives, and character portrayals, but also places the movies within Hollywood’s contemporary blockbuster machinery. The book then offers a diachronic analysis of the pirate motif in British literature and Hollywood movies. It aims to explain our ongoing fascination with the maritime outlaw, focuses on how a text’s cultural background influences the pirate’s portrayal, and pays special attention to the aspect of gender. Through the intertextual references in Pirates of the Caribbean, the motif’s development is always tied to Disney’s postmodern movie series.

involved (see Mikos 327; Schatz, “New Hollywood” 33). 5 Spectacle and the Narrative One of the most controversial aspects in the discussion of contemporary blockbusters as postmodern is the spectacle, because it is always judged in relation to a film’s narrative. The spectacle is a scene aimed at producing

In: Postmodern Pirates

his essay on the postmodern and post-classical cinema of the 1990s identifies intertextuality, spectacle and aesthetics, self-referentiality, and a deconstruction of narrative conventions, as typical of postmodern films. Remarkably, Thomas Schatz’s set of aesthetic rules governing the franchise

In: Postmodern Pirates

aesthetics and the style’s defining features, such as intertextuality, self-referentiality, irony, parody, hybridisation, an emphasis on spectacle and a reworking of stereotypical genre elements, considerably contributed to the series’ worldwide success. The second part, taking a diachronic approach

In: Postmodern Pirates

fact, Captain Blood is full of witty passages and puns. This shift from images to sound also severed the tie between the spectacle and the hero. Instead of using visually impressive scenes to stress solely the hero’s extraordinary abilities, Captain Blood features an abundance of images that have

In: Postmodern Pirates

application of intertextual and self-referential references, for example, affects both the representation and the reception of individual characters. Similarly, the increased concentration of mainstream blockbusters of the New Hollywood and conglomerate era on visual spectacle requires more action

In: Postmodern Pirates

with the help of computer graphics, is one of the visually most impressive sequences of the movie. It is directly related to the movie’s blockbuster mentality and its attempt to offer its viewers a visual spectacle. Two other plot elements from Ransome’s novels that could have had an influence on the

In: Postmodern Pirates