J. & C.'s Movie Reviews

Our Notes on Movies Made Public

Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2

Posted by J on November 30, 2007

In our misspent youths, we played a computer game called Pirates: Gold! The object of that game was to assemble a pirate crew, sail the Caribbean, and plunder the ships and cities of various empires. The game had a lasting effect: it taught us the detailed map of the Caribbean, which we remember to this day. It also taught us that 17th century piracy was fun. Gold, babes, and destruction–what more can a young lad ask for?

In spite of this characterization, piracy in the 17th century wasn’t good times, nor is it today. As we learned later in life, pirates are essentially ocean gangs, packs of greedy barbarians who plunder private property and, if they can, rape and murder whomever. This is where Disney’s pirate trilogy comes in. Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2, and probably 3 (we haven’t seen that one) depict pirate life–albeit a sanitized one–as whimsical and glamorous.

What’s the harm in that, one asks? It forms the conscience in a similar way as our old game Pirates: Gold! did to us in the late ’80s. The skull-and-bones flag, Davy Jones, squawking parrots, and Johnny Depp dominate the movie’s image of piracy. Theft and destruction, meanwhile, are far removed from it. This misses the essence of piracy, which is theft. Is it ever proper to depict thieves as they are not, in this case, as rockstar metrosexuals?

While the answer to such a sharp question seems pretty easy to come up with, we do admit to indulging in the viewing of this series of movies. The plots are nonsensical, and so if you enter the movies expecting anything but watered-down tripe for a story, you will be sorely disappointed. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the stunts and special effects a bit too much. Here again, movie-magic lulled us to sleep, because the portrayal of the dead is goofy and pagan. Thus we advise staying away instead of getting sucked in. You are better off answering the question at the end of the second paragraph, applying it to these movies, and sticking to the moral imperative of that application. Don’t give in to mass marketing.

Entertainment: 8
Intelligence: 0
Morality: 0

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2 Responses to “Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2”

  1. Allison said

    Ah! We have a similar weakness for the Pirates films. I think they fall in the same category as Ocean’s 11 (and 12 and 13): glamourized lawbreaking. Sadly, we also got sucked into those as well and just enjoyed a marathon.

    I also advise staying away, as the lure of the clever and quirky as well as the pull of star power is hard to resist.

  2. J. and C. Matthews said

    Interesting. The Ocean’s movies popped up for us during a discussion of the Pirates movies as well. We’ve only seen one of those Ocean’s movies, a series that seems to be about how a bunch of cool dudes can steal some elaborate object in the slickest, sexiest way. It’s all a lot of fun until you realize, “Gee, the entire premise of this movie subverts the eighth commandment.”

    It seems to us that star power becomes less of a temptation as we’ve aged. We can only get duped so many times before making adjustments. (I confess that George Miller’s name alone had us make a special trip to the movie theater for Happy Feet, a big mistake.) Plus, the moviestars being thrust upon us are so plasticized that they appear more and more unhuman each year. Orlando Bloom’s glow of boyband effeminacy is enough to keep us from watching the third Pirates.

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