Friday, 3 June 2011
Does It Make Me a Bad Person?
Yeah, alright, I loved the new Pirates of the Caribbean film 'On Stranger Tides'... There's nothing wrong with that! I know I go on about how good cinema says something about man's struggle, the human condition etc, but don't get me wrong: I've always valued pure entertainment too! Why else would I love Ron Underwood's 'Pluto Nash'?
It's not even as if Disney have completely glossed over real life anyway. The opening scenes of the film show rolls of notes and bags of chinking change buying the services of the court and political ideologists respectively. Yes it was done in a pantomimely-obvious way, but I was still left thinking, "Hey, at least they're showing the world as it is, in a film primarily about supernatural forces amidst the oceans of the world." Okay, maybe it wasn't put so eloquently in me noggin...
These films have a similar appeal to westerns: the illusion of freedom. The wide open spaces of the seven seas (and beyond) and the lusciously shot on-location scenes in various parts of Hawaii are literally lovely to look at. The ideology of the pirates as free men (and women) doing what they want is an appealing, though obviously not completely polarized, spectacle which shows us that we are all free to get into a mess of our choosing, but then have to fight to get out of that mess. Ooh this could almost be philosophical!
Taking the idea of the western further, Pirates of the Caribbean films can compare to some of the best western chase thrillers. I'm taking David von Ancken's 'Seraphim Falls' as an example, purely because I want to mention that I've watched it. Groups, individuals or groups of individuals (there's a difference) are pitched against each other, and as the film goes on, motives, desires and flaws are exposed in the characters leading to the resolution. In POTC, we see how our favourite characters (such as Cap'n Jack Sparrow) get themselves into trouble and are inevitably drawn to supernature and its forces to establish equilibrium for themselves. This is redolent of the aforementioned western because the story's power is making sure you aren't certain who is the hunter or the hunted, who is good or who is bad, who you like or who you don't. Wait, that last one... Of course we love Jack Sparrow. And shame on you Ian McShane! I had you pinned from the start!
Anyways, I've gone on too long. What a fantastic film. It's not a terribly original addition to the franchise BUT I DON'T CARE!!! They set up a fifth in the post-credits ditty and I will go on watching them until they outsource the main characters' employment to Pune in India.
Peace out mes amis!