This is for the version of the sea monster in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, if you are looking for its basis, see "Kraken", and "Kraken in popular culture" for its other appearances in other films.

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The Kraken is a fictional sea monster in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The monster made its first appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest as an antagonist portrayed through Computer-generated imagery. Although a creation of Industrial Light & Magic for Dead Man's Chest and designed by the film's producers, the Kraken is heavily based on the mythological creature featured in scandinavian nautical lore by the same name.[1] Walt Disney Pictures also became the first studio to produce this mythological creature using CGI. The Kraken makes a final small, though symbolic, appearance in the third film in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.[2]

In the films, the Kraken is a sea creature of monstrous proportions that is controlled by Davy Jones, supernatural ruler of the ocean realms. When commanded, it destroys anything Davy Jones desires. The Kraken is used often by Jones to destroy ships that threaten him. One of the Kraken's most powerful weapons is fear, which can be used to keep a foe at bay, eliminating the threat altogether.[3]

Film production

There are different pronunciations of Kraken. Kevin McNally, who plays Mr. Gibbs, pronounced it Template:Pron-en Template:Respell, so that pronunciation was adopted on set.[citation needed]

During the filming of the attacks, Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann) divulged that "the Kraken, at the moment, is just Al Gore, the former Vice President, running around, going, 'I'm a tentacle. I'm a tentacle. Be afraid.'"[citation needed] Gore Verbinski worked with Industrial Light & Magic to create the scenes for the film involving the Kraken. When filming the attack on the Edinburgh Trader, they used the ship as a set in shallow waters. Many more sailors were digitally added on board the ship, and others were digitally replaced for complex shots. When the time came to film the Edinburgh Trader being broken in half, two massive pipes were filled with 30,000 pounds of cement for a total of 60,000 pounds and crushed down onto the set. To prepare for this event, most metal and the masts were removed, because the metal would prevent the ship from satisfyingly breaking in half while the masts would prevent better camera close-ups. Furthermore, the interior middle of the ship was lined with cables of explosives to blast the wood apart in the air. After the shot, other men were filmed on another blue tilting set and digitally added on deck. John Knoll, Visual Effects Supervisor, confessed that it was extremely complex to add the Kraken's tentacles between all the environmental effects of water and wood debris.

When the time came to film Jack Sparrow in front of the Kraken's maw, Johnny Depp's stand-in, Scott Sener, was used to experiment with what worked best with the slime at their disposal (which would represent the phlegm of the Kraken). The slime was spattered about him with jets of air. For the actual filming, Depp was spattered with the slime and acted his part without any representation for the Kraken. It was afterward digitally added along with sound, tentacles, and other visual effects.


Nothing is revealed in the films about the Kraken's origins. What is known is that after Davy Jones cut out his heart[4] and became the feared and mutated sea ruler, he presumably found the Kraken and came to command it.[5] Since that time, the Kraken was used by Jones to destroy ships that blocked his path or those that carried potential crew members for his supernatural ship, the Flying Dutchman. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, it is summoned by the men of the Flying Dutchman turning a capstan that drops a large, wooden mechanism into the water creating something similar to a depth charge, reverberating across the water supposedly for miles.[6] It is also known that this Kraken was the last of its kind.


Dead Man's Chest

Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

The Kraken first appears in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, brought to life using the most advanced computer-generated imagery (CGI) from Industrial Light & Magic. Davy Jones, who seeks Jack Sparrow's soul to recoup a debt, dispatches Bootstrap Bill Turner to deliver Sparrow the Black Spot and announce that Jones' "terrible leviathan" is stalking him.[7] When a Turkish sailor retrieves Sparrow's lost hat from the sea, he unwittingly calls the Kraken.[8] A large green mass silently rushes toward the fishing boat; moments later, the monster violently yanks it underwater in mere seconds. After the Kraken attacks another ship, Will Turner boards a wreckage after Jack Sparrow deceives him into believing it is the Flying Dutchman; the surviving crew members have been left psychologically traumatized by the Kraken's attack.[9]

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The Kraken destroys the Edinburgh Trader

Davy Jones later summons the Kraken to destroy the Edinburgh Trader, a merchant ship that rescues Will Turner. The Kraken smashes the vessel in half with two of its massive tentacles, killing nearly all the crew. While he is momentarily submerged underwater, Will briefly glimpses the gargantuan monster.[10]

When the Flying Dutchman falls behind the Black Pearl during a chase, Jones calls upon the Kraken to finish it off. The Kraken glides its tentacles up the Pearl's hull. Based upon his previous experience aboard the Edinburgh Trader, Will quickly devises a strategic defense and orders the crew to fire the deck guns into the monster's tentacles, severely wounding them and forcing the Kraken to momentarily retreat [11], but returns and smashes the cannons. Will then has kegs of gun powder, rum, and other combustibles loaded into a cargo net and hoisted aloft. When the Kraken returns, Sparrow shoots the barrels, blasting the monster's tentacles in the resulting explosion: the wounded Kraken again withdraws [12].

Sparrow, knowing the Kraken, now angrier than ever, will attack again, then orders the crew to abandon ship [13]. Realizing that the Kraken is only hunting Sparrow, Elizabeth uses trickery to chain him to the mast, then escapes with the crew [14]. The Kraken makes its final assault, with Sparrow's sword pointing at it; he says, "Hello, Beastie," after which the Kraken drags Sparrow and the Black Pearl to Davy Jones' Locker.[15]

At World's End

Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

The Kraken is briefly seen in the film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End; but it has been killed by Davy Jones under Lord Beckett's command. Beckett feared that Jones, being a loose cannon, might command the Kraken to attack the East India Trading Company armada. Jones, threatened with having his heart stabbed, did as commanded. The action profoundly affected him, however, as seen in his facial expression when Beckett reminds him about the killing. Jones even plays a sad tune on his pipe organ for his dead pet, and also for his lost love, Calypso [16]. It is never revealed how Jones killed the Kraken, although the finding of a dead pirate with a black-spot on his hand, would suggest that the Kraken was lured onto the beach of an island, and, bereft of water, drowned in air. After Jack Sparrow is rescued from Davy Jones' Locker, he proclaims his desire to become "Captain Jack Sparrow, the last pirate" [2]. When Sparrow and Captain Barbossa go ashore for fresh water, they find the Kraken's carcass washed up on the island's beach, a notable sadness in its dead eyes [2]. Observing Jack's reaction as he surveys the dead monster, Barbossa tells him that being the last of anything means that eventually there will be none left at all. Jack finally realizes the enormity of Lord Beckett's threat to exterminate all pirates, and he agrees to attend the Brethren Court on Shipwreck Island with Barbossa.


Physical Characteristics

The Kraken was designed by the producers of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and then was brought to life by technicians at Industrial Light & Magic. Its body resembles a massive, cuttlefish-like cephalopod. In the book, Pirates of the Caribbean: A Visual Guide, a profile view of the Kraken is seen, with a ship for scale. The second edition, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, states the Kraken to be as long as ten of that ship.[3] The book also depicts the Kraken as a cephalopod-like beast, with a ring of tentacles at the base of its head and a long, sharp tail similar to a squid (this could be used to keep it at level with the ship underwater).[3] The fictional monster has also large round eyes with orange irises and black pupils [2]. Interestingly, the eyes seem to show pain, most likely from when Jones had to kill it, although it could also be the Kraken's default expression. The Kraken in this shot does not look as big as the given photo from the visual guide.

Its massive, sucker-lined tentacles are said by Mr. Gibbs to, "suction your face clean off"[4]. The suction disks are powerful enough to pull down a ship from its underside and have contorted a human's face to the point of leaving it smothered by its own skin in Dead Man's Chest[17]. The Kraken also uses these powerful suckers to silently pull itself along the rocks lying on the oceans' bottom, much as does an octopus [3]. After the Kraken's tentacles were severely damaged by cannon fire and an explosion during the assaults on Black Pearl, it resurfaced with its wounds appearing healed [18]. It is unclear if the Kraken has the ability to instantly regenerate itself or if it was using different tentacles. It is also notable that the Kraken has two forearms significantly larger than the others, like the hunting tentacles possessed by squids and cuttlefish. The beast employs these to crush ships.[19] The weight of the two tentacles can split a ship along its width.

When it revealed its mouth to character Jack Sparrow, it resembled a Sarlacc; the interior is lined with over six sets of spiked, razor-sharp teeth and its breath emits a reeking odor of "a thousand rotting corpses"[20].[4] Jack, however, is not at all daunted by the foul breath claiming it is "Not so bad," and deliberately leaps into the Kraken's jaws, trying to kill it.

Summoning the Kraken

Davy Jones, ruler of the seas, summons the Kraken to destroy vessels. On-board his ghostly ship, the Flying Dutchman is a massive capstan with a carved Kraken on the top, the so-called Kraken's Hammer. To call the Kraken, the crew rotate the capstan clockwise, lifting it to its highest point. It then slams down, blasting shockwaves through the ocean, thus summoning the Kraken. One shockwave usually does the job unless the Kraken is farther away. The Kraken Hammer is seen again in At Worlds End, still aboard the Dutchman; though broken and unusable, it is still able to rotate, as shown during Sparrow and Jones' duel[21]. The lines chanted by Davy Jones as the Kraken is summoned ("...And let this day be cursed by we who ready to wake...The Kraken!") are similar to the lines from the Book of Job:"Lo,let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therin. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning."

The Kraken attacks anyone marked with the Black Spot [22], which is delivered to its victims by Flying Dutchman crewmen and can only be removed by its captain, Davy Jones [23]. According to the writers' commentary on the Dead Man's Chest DVD, those marked with the Black Spot are taken by the Kraken to Davy Jones' Locker, where they must experience their worst fears for eternity. When pirates see the black spot, they say "Black spot! Black spot!" Then they turn a full turn while brushing themselves off and spit. This represents their fear of what the Black Spot denotes.

Methods of attack

The Kraken attacks by stealthily approaching a ship, slithering its tentacles up the hull's sides, and gripping tightly, yanking it underwater.[3][24] If the crew can fight back, the Kraken smashes the hull and masts with its tentacles, probing the decks and holds with its sensitive suckers seeking out its prey [25][26]. The destruction is catastrophic, and its two forearms are so powerful it can easily rip a ship apart in mere seconds.[27] Davy Jones uses some, but not all, these attacks to acquire new crewmen for the Flying Dutchman.[28] As he surveys one wrecked ship's survivors, he offers them an opportunity to delay their final judgment by joining his crew for 100 years. Those who refuse are killed and thrown over-board [29]. A somewhat notable aspect is that the Kraken displays a degree of intelligence. When it was hurt by the Black Pearl's cannons, it was sure to get rid of them when it attacked them again.

Kraken attacks often leave the survivors, if any, psychologically damaged, traumatized or deranged.[30] In one case, a survivor is left without a face, it having been contorted by the suckers. Also, the Kraken appeared to have eaten at least six of the crew-members of the Edinburgh Trader.

See also


  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, second disc, "Creating the Kraken"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.10
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, page 72, "The Kraken"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.11
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.19
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.12
  7. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.4
  8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.4
  9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.12
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.19
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.25
  12. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.25
  13. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.26
  14. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.26
  15. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.26
  16. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.15
  17. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.12
  18. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.26
  19. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.19
  20. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.26
  21. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.19
  22. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.4
  23. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.13
  24. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.19
  25. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.19
  26. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.25
  27. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.19
  28. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.13
  29. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.13
  30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.12. Pg 393

External links

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