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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides


By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

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 people.

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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