A noose hangs delicately in the middle of an English town. Groups of men and women wait in shackles as a soldier reads off their crimes as well as the danger the colonies are currently in. Each of these individuals has been accused of being, or being associated with, pirates, and has been sentenced to death. Due to the nature of these crimes, the English are also currently suspending several rights originally granted to these individuals. One small boy clutches a piece of eight in his hand as he marches up the podium. The little boy begins singing as he stands below the noose because he is too short to be placed inside the noose. The executioner is not sympathetic. He brings over a barrel for the boy to stand on, but it is too late. The other prisoners have begun chanting as well.
On the other side of the world, a well-disguised Elizabeth Swann is singing the same song. As she steps off the small boat, a group of Chinese men threatens her. They tell her that the implications of the song are serious and that she should not be singing it especially seeing as she is alone. Out of the shadows, Captain Barbossa tells the men that not only is she accompanied, but she is a very capable young woman as well. Stepping inside a bathhouse, Barbossa and Elizabeth are asked to disarm themselves.
Underneath the streets of the city lies the remainder of the crew. Tia Dalma begins playing a tiny music machine to distract the civilians from the drilling under their feet. They will be in charge of things should anything go wrong in the bathhouse. Barbossa tries to ask Captain Sao Feng for a ship and a crew, but the Captain laughs as he tells them of a botched theft earlier that day. It turns out that Will was sent to steal Sao Feng’s priceless map of the world and he was caught. Elizabeth and Barbossa pretend not to recognize Will, but when Sao Feng thrusts a knife dangerously close to Will’s face, Elizabeth lets out a scream. Barbossa tells Sao Feng that they need the boat to save Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl. Sao Feng makes it clear that he hates Jack Sparrow, but agrees because Jack is one of the nine pirate lords and will be needed at the next meeting of the pirates. He is still upset, however, and angrily tosses a cup of water aside. As he does, he notices that one of his minion’s tattoos is melting. He immediately senses the traitor and decides to use the man as leverage against Barbossa. Barbossa is unmoved and tells Sao Feng that the sailor is not one of his men. As the group looks around to see where the third party is hiding, the British storm in and raid the bathhouse. In the midst of all the chaos, Sao Feng and Will have a little heart to heart. Sao Feng does not trust Will because he has double-crossed both Barbossa and Jack Sparrow, so there is no reason for him to trust Will now. Will tells Sao Feng that he will cooperate because he needs the Black Pearl to free his father and nothing will get in his way.
Sao Feng ends up agreeing and gives Will the ship and the crew. Back in the colonies, all is fairly well. Elizabeth’s father is evidently clueless about the corruption within the government, and the other officials decide that he is simply not worth the trouble anymore. Lord Cutler Beckett, the master planner behind all of this, orders Governor Swann to be taken out to sea.
Will and the crew are faring just as badly. The entire ship has been covered in frost, and many of the men have even frozen to death. Pintel and Ragetti wonder why Tia Dalma could not just bring Jack back the same way she brought Barbossa back. Tia wanders up behind them and tells them that while Barbossa simply died, Jack has been sent to a place “not of death, but of punishment”. Below deck, Elizabeth and Will are having a private conversation. Will has noticed that Elizabeth doesn’t seem to be herself lately, and he is wondering why. She tells him that everything will be better once they rescue Jack, and Will misinterprets her answer. As Barbossa leads the crew deeper and deeper into oblivion, Tia Dalma bends over a pile of magical trinkets and whispers a spell. The crew is frightened and confused because they seem to be utterly lost. Looking at the map Sao Feng provided, Barbossa tells them that the must first be truly lost before they can find what can never be found and reach the ends of the world. The ship is sent tumbling over a steep waterfall and onto an island.
Somewhere on this island are the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow and his beloved Black Pearl. His crew is entirely composed of clones of himself. Jack Sparrow has sunk into insanity. He fights with one clone for a half of a peanut, and kills another one for incompetence. After having enough of his own antics, Jack jumps off the ship onto a blindingly white wasteland. Jack spots a rock lying by his foot and picks it up. In frustration, he throws it, only to have an identical one right by his side once again. Jack decides to take this for a sign and picks up the rock. He gives it a hearty lick and throws the rock back out. Instead of landing by his foot again, the rock cracks open and becomes a tiny crab. While Jack lies hopelessly on the sand, thousands of other little rock-crabs split open and begin to carry the ship along. When Jack realizes that his ship is gone, he chases it and rides it all the way to the shore, where Barbossa and company have been shipwrecked and are eagerly awaiting Jack’s arrival.
Because Jack has been stranded in the wasteland for so long, he believes the crew to be a hallucination. He does not believe anyone until he sees Elizabeth, and then he realizes that he was indeed in Davy Jones’ Locker. Tia Dalma cradles the tiny crabs and smiles at Jack, welcoming him back (This is VERY important later on). As the ship passes through the ocean, millions of souls lost at sea float by. Some arrive by boat, and to Elizabeth’s surprise, one of them contains her father. She is overjoyed to see him, only to be told that they have not yet crossed over, so her father has been killed. Elizabeth is angry and vengeful. It doesn’t help that Jack has told the rest of the crew that it was Elizabeth who left him to his death and now Will is very confused. Will had thought for the longest time that Elizabeth was in love with Jack. The fact that she is not should be a relief, but instead Will is worried that Elizabeth does not trust him enough to tell him the truth.
Bored and still a little dazed from his time in Davy Jones’ Locker, Jack Sparrow decides to take a whack at figuring out Sao Feng’s map. Spinning the disks around, he realizes the key to returning to the mortal realm. By distracting the crew, he manages to flip the entire boat upside down. At sundown on the end of the world, there is a blinding green flash and everything falls in the opposite direction. So the crew was suspended in the water for a few minutes before they are pushed to the surface, where Sao Feng is patiently awaiting. He immediately takes Jack hostage and brings him to Lord Beckett. Beckett wants to make a deal with Jack, and he reveals that since he has Davy Jones’ heart, the British have control of the seas. Beckett wants to stop the pirates once and for all and he wants Jack to lead them to the pirate court. Jack demands a his ship and silence to Davy Jones’ about his resurrection in exchange and shakes with Beckett casually just as the ship is attacked. Sao Feng wants to make a deal with Barbossa and Barbossa tricks him into thinking that Elizabeth is Calypso (the goddess of the seas) and Sao Feng decides to make the exchange. Jack returns to the Black Pearl with the others not far behind him.
It isn’t long before Beckett begins to receive a “bread crumb trail” from the Black Pearl leading them to Shipwreck Cove. Will has attached dead bodies to floating barrels and is sending them out to the British. Jack feels that Will is carrying out the entire thing all wrong, and tosses him the compass before sending Will overboard as well. Will holds on to one of the barrels and floats off as Jack walks about his ship.
Sao Feng is trying to treat Elizabeth like the goddess she is, but Elizabeth refuses his advances, preferring instead to listen to him retell the legend. The ship is attacked and Sao Feng is fatally struck. Before dying, Sao Feng gives Elizabeth a token of his respect for her (he still thinks she is Calypso) and asks her to become Captain in his place. Elizabeth emerges from the ship victoriously, but the crew is wary of accepting this foreigner as their captain. Admiral Norrington sees Elizabeth and offers her his quarters instead of the stowage with the rest of her crew, but she decides to prove her loyalty to her crew (and play on Norrington’s guilt), by following them to the ship’s prison. Norrington assures her that he has nothing to do with the Governor’s death, but Elizabeth simply stares angrily at him. She tells him that she knows where her loyalty lies, but he does not.
To clarify, Elizabeth and her crew (formerly Sao Feng’s crew) are now on Davy Jones’ ship, which is controlled by the British because they have his heart. The British also have another ship, but it is not as prominently used. Jack and Barbossa are still on the Black Pearl, and Will is somewhere in the middle of the ocean with a dead soldier. In the prison, Elizabeth meets Bootstrap Bill and talks to him about Will. Bootstrap is suddenly distraught and when Elizabeth asks him why, he tells her that Will can only choose one person: his father or his love. Whomever stabs Davy Jones’ heart will free those imprisoned upon it, but must also give up their true love. The person who replaces Davy Jones must then guide souls to the end of the world for periods of ten years before he can spend one day with his love. He tells Elizabeth to just give up hope on him and tell Will not to bother. Elizabeth tries to convince him otherwise, but Bootstrap has already forgotten their last conversation. He has indeed become a part of the ship and therefore his loyalties are with the ship. In the middle of the night, Norrington sneaks down to the barracks and lets Elizabeth and her crew out. As they are escaping, Bootstrap climbs up to the deck and kills Norrington. As much as she once hated him, Elizabeth is now convinced of Norrington’s innocence and mourns his death.
At this point, Will has arrived on Beckett’s ship and is making a deal with Beckett. He just wants the safety of himself, Elizabeth, and his father. When Davy Jones storms into the room, Will realizes from Jones’ actions that Jones was once in love with Calypso and that is why he hates her so much. Jones believes that Calypso betrayed him.
Jack soon arrives on Shipwreck Cove, which is where the Pirate Lords will congregate. Each of the pirate lords from every corner of the world turns in their pieces of eight, which are actually trinkets they had on themselves during the original meeting. Barbossa’s piece of eight is Ragetti’s wooden eyeball and Jack’s is the charm on his head. Jack hesitates to turn his piece in and Barbossa notices. The current situation demands careful examination, and the pirates decide they need a pirate king. Captain Teague (Jack’s father) is called upon to monitor. Barbossa explains that no one has ever been the pirate king because it is based on popular vote and each pirate lord always votes for him/herself. This time, it is different, as Jack puts in his vote for Elizabeth. Elizabeth tells the pirates that they must fight. Barbossa tries to convince everyone to free Calypso, but for now, the pirate king has the final say.
Currently on the British ship lies Tia Dalma (AKA Calypso). She is playing with her locket and savors the beautiful music before shutting it. Suddenly, the music begins playing again. Calypso looks around the room and sees Davy Jones, tentacles and all. He walks over and they share a passionate conversation. Calypso tells Jones that he used to be a man, and clutches his chest. Davy Jones turns into his mortal form and caresses Calypso’s face. She tells him that once she is freed, the world will know just how angry Calypso can be and they will be together for eternity. She removes her hand and Davy Jones is a monster once again.
Elizabeth, Barbossa and Jack get out of Shipwreck Cove and meet Davy Jones, Lord Beckett, and Will Turner for the showdown. Elizabeth proposes a trade. She only wants Will, so Beckett can have Jack. Jack does not want to go, but is shoved onto the other side. Barbossa seizes the opportunity and cuts of Jack’s charm to add to the collection.
Before the battle, Barbossa decides to release Calypso anyway. They must gather the pieces of eight and say to Calypso in the voice of a lover, “Calypso, I release you from your human bonds.” Barbossa butchers the phrase, but Ragetti gets the nerve to whisper in her ear. Tia Dalma begins growing quickly and frees herself from the ropes. She disintegrates into thousands of tiny crabs (remember from before?) and becomes one with the sea once again. Before long, the clouds have come out and a huge whirlpool has begun. The war is long and difficult, with Jones and Jack having a one-on-one duel for his heart. Will and Elizabeth are married in the midst of the fighting, and soon after, Will is stabbed in the heart by Davy Jones. Before he is, however, Will spares his confused father his life because he promised he would never kill his father, even if he were fighting for the other side. Jack then stabs Davy Jones’ heart, which leaves Will to become the next guardian of the seas. For one final battle, the Black Pearl meets the British ship in the middle of the sea. Beckett thinks Jack is coming to claim the freedom he had asked for earlier. He also believes that it is “good business” to turn on Jack and orders the cannons to be brought out. Jack is thinking the same thing and as they are preparing to fire, Will’s ship emerges from the sea and prepares to attack as well. Beckett is left dumbfounded on his ship, perishing with it and muttering all the while, “It’s good business”.
Will is taken onto the other ship, but before he leaves for ten years, he will be given one day with his true love, Elizabeth. They share many passionate kisses on the shore before Will gives Elizabeth his heart and asks her to keep it safe for him. Elizabeth is in despair, but she knows the price they had to pay. The remainder of the crew returns to life as before, with Barbossa sailing off with the crew and the Black Pearl only to realize that Jack stole his map so they are hopeless without it anyway.
The last shot has Jack on a tiny boat with the map and his compass. He looks at it and it points to the corner. Confused, Jack looks there and finds a bottle of rum. He takes a swig and looks at the compass again, it is now pointing in a different direction. Jack begins to chant the pirates song and the movie ends.
Brentage 5000 adds this:
After the credits roll...
TEN YEARS LATER - we see a little boy of about ten years old running through the countryside by the shore, followed shortly by Elizabeth. The pair go to the edge of the cliff and watch the sunset. As the last rays of light touch the horizon, the sun flashes green and starts to rise again. In the distance, a ship can now be seen approaching the shore and onboard, Will Turner looks up at his family and smiles.
JON: WILL stabs Davy Jones’ heart, with Jack’s assistance. The one who stabs Jones’ heart becomes the new captain, which is why Will, not Jack, is the new captain of the Dutchman. This was Jack’s way of sparing Will.
Barbossa offers to show the crew the secret map to allay their fears, which is exactly what Jack Sparrow did when he was first captain of the Black Pearl with the result being a mutiny that lead to the opening of Pirates 1 . . .
DORRETTA: Elizabeth becomes King of the Pirates, and she and Will only get 1 day together every 10 years!
CCC129: Elizabeth and William are together because they have broken the curse
KAREN: If Elizabeth stayed faithful to Will for 10 years, the curse was broken and he was free of the Flying Dutchman and could return to land whenever he wanted. The scene that explains this was one of the final cuts, due to time constraints.
CAROLINE: "I know some here right now are confused on whether or not the curse was broken. But through Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio on their website WordPlayer.com they have confirmed that Will and Elizabeth have broken Calypso's curse and that was revealed with the "end of credits" scene.
Ted Rossio: "You might be able to derive that the curse could be broken from the information in the film, but it would be indeed difficult."
Terry Elliot: "That green flash was what Terry was referring to when he said it was possible, but very difficult, to figure out from the movie that the curse was broken."
In those two quotes they did confirm that the curse was broken with the final green flash at the end of the credits scene.
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