Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides
By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
In this fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, Captain Jack
Sparrow is once again trying to escape from the British – this time causing
pirate-style chaos right in the center London. He carriage-surfs, much to the
delight of the audience. He must discover who is impersonating him and how to
find a ship, since the Black Pearl has been sunk, while checking in with his
dad (Keith Richards) before shoving off.
This time, it is imperative that he beat the Spaniards and
his pirate nemesis Barbarossa (Geoffrey Rush), who has a legitimate commission
from King George to find the fountain of youth, before anyone else.
Sparrow ends up on the ship run by the pirate Blackbeard
(Ian McShane) and his supposed daughter, Anjelica (Penelope Cruz). Sparrow and
Anjelica know one another and they spend the film sparring with one another as
much as everyone else.
The film actually addresses themes of religion,
superstition, fantasy, redemption through mankind’s endless search for eternal
youth so as to avoid death. There’s commentary
on clerical missionaries and celibacy, but I am not sure how serious this is
meant to be. The voodoo doll, that everyone knows is superstition, calls for
some conversation between parents and children, just to make sure they
understand it as a comic device rather than a supernatural way to control
Any other film might get bogged down in details or a
message, but “On Stranger Tides” keeps tying the themes up with weaving rope
and sails – literally. The scenic effects, special effects, and art direction
express the complex craft of making a highly entertaining multimillion dollar
film that keeps our attention from the opening scene.
There are not many female characters in the
Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and it is interesting to analyze their
roles in the stories. This is why you must stay with this film until the last
credit rolls, or you might get the wrong idea about who really wins the day.
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