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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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Apollonia: The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned. 
<p>While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.</p><p>There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. St. Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death.</p> American Catholic Blog We can find Christ among the despised, voiceless, and forgotten of the world. We have to move beyond that which we wish to ignore and forget about: embrace the seemingly un-embraceable, love the unlovable, and dare to know what we most fear and wish to leave unknowable.

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