The movie begins with the interrupted marriage of William Turner and Elizabeth Swann. The music’s first role in this movie is to reflect emotion. In the opening scene, Elizabeth is kneeling at the altar where her wedding should have taken place. Rain is falling all around her and she is alone. Violins are playing a sad, slow melody. The viewer realizes that something awful has happened. Deeper strings start to play a fast marching beat and a male choir begins to sing. This signifies that the Royal Navy is approaching to arrest Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. Lord Cutler Beckett had ordered the couple to be arrested and sentenced to death for aiding in Captain Jack Sparrow’s escape in the previous movie. Lord Cutler Beckett will only lift the charges in exchange for Jack Sparrow’s compass. William Turner is sent off to find Jack Sparrow. He is reluctant to leave his future bride behind in prison, but it is his only chance to free her.
Jack Sparrow is a cursed pirate. He has made a deal with Davy Jones, the captain of the Flying Dutchmen. If Davy Jones would raise the Black Pearl from the bottom of the ocean, Jack Sparrow had thirteen years to captain it. After thirteen years, Jack Sparrow must give Davy Jones his soul. It has been thirteen years, and Davy Jones wants to collect. Davy Jones can only go on land once every ten years, so Jack Sparrow knows that land is the place where he will be safest. He sails his ship to the nearest island.
Jack Sparrow has a very comedic leitmotif. He is constantly drunk and his theme is a drunken theme. The music sways and staggers like someone who is intoxicated, and the music has a count of three. The music really adds to the comedy that Jack Sparrow brings to the movie. Strings and a cello are used for this score, and they mimic his actions. This is also referred to as mickey-mousing. A perfect example of mickey-mousing is when Jack Sparrow walks down a flight of stairs and the music goes down the musical scale as he descends.
Will needs to find Jack so that he can save Elizabeth and himself from the death sentence. He investigates and follows clues to Jack’s whereabouts until he finally finds Jack Sparrow’s ship uninhabited on an island. Further investigation into the island leads to William being captured by a tribe of cannibals. The good news is that he has found Jack Sparrow. Jack Sparrow is serving as the leader of the cannibals. The bad news is that the cannibals are going to eventually sacrifice Jack Sparrow. After a few escape scenes involving a lot of running, William and Jack Sparrow manage to return to the Black Pearl.
The scenes involving the cannibals has music that creates the atmosphere of a cannibal island. Drums are very prominent throughout these scenes, along with humans yelling tribal chants. One scene that does not fit into this trend is a scene where William and the other crew members are trying to escape from a cage that is suspended in the air. The music plays against the action by playing a song one would expect to hear at a carnival during the escape. The music plays against the action, creating comedy for a normally unpleasant situation.
After escaping from the cannibals, Jack Sparrow convinces Will Turner to climb aboard the Flying Dutchmen to try and receive the key that he has been searching for. If Will can find the key, Jack will give him the compass. William does not know about the deal that Jack has with Davy, and he does not know what he is getting himself into by boarding the ship. Davy Jones has a crew filled with undead crewmen, and Will is captured. The good thing about Will Turner being captured is the fact that he meets his long lost father, Bill Turner. Bill just happens to be a...