Idol Chatter

I have to disagree with my esteemed Idol Chatter colleague Kris Rasmussen as well as, for that matter, several other reviewers, including CNN’s Tom Charity, Rolling Stone’s Peter Travis, and Time magazine’s Richard Schigel, all of whom offered strongly negative reviews of”Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End.”

I think “Pirates 3” is one of the few movies brave enough to think that we movie audiences have a mind that can comprehend more than just one subplot and a Michael Bay-ish or (in this case, Jerry Bruckheimer-ish) action track. And, as a person of faith, I appreciate any movie which exposes a deeper element to matters of the spiritual journey, which “Pirates 3” clearly does.

The Pirates “code,” introduced so simply and clearly in the first two episodes, is taken to a new level, moving beyond the basics to the unveiling of the Codex and its various interpretations (and self-interests?), in a way not unlike Bible translations and denominational scuffles today. The main characters’ decisions are made (and options leveraged) against prior covenants they are forced to live with, even if they didn’t participate in their making. Such are the basic tenets of faith, a truth which many in our narcissistic and self-driven spiritual schemed age forget.

Generations ago–if you believe the Bible at all–covenants were made between God and humankind, between God and Abraham, Noah and David, between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and between Jesus and his disciples. Pronouncements (curses?) were made between God and Satan, and their circumstances have played out on earth. Perhaps a fantasy film like “Pirates of teh Carribean” can awaken a generation of non-church goers to the importance of remembering what we can’t control (the code) before what we can control (our choices).

“Producer Jerry Bruckheimer does deserve a shout-out: It takes a kind of genius to sucker audiences into repeatedly buying the same party tricks,” said Travis. “‘At World’s End’ left me at wit’s end wading through nearly three hours of punishing exposition, endless blather (pirates take meetings–who knew?), an overload of digital effects and shameless setups,” said Schigel. I find it fascinating that the same critics who find some movies too thin or superficial can’t see the depth of this one. It is fulfilling on so many levels, and perhaps these guys just went to the movies after checking their brains at the door. If so, they missed it!

“If you are like me, and you appreciated the heart and mythology of the original ‘Pirates’ as well as the zany humor of the sequel, you are going to be deeply disappointed in this latest chapter,” Kris wrote in her blog piece. While I agree with her on most things, this isn’t one of them. This film takes the mythology deeper and requires the zany humor (in several layers, Disney style) as a welcome reprieve from the plot’s tension and conflict.

“I hope Depp and the others choose to drydock this franchise,” Rasmussen said. I hope for the opposite. As it is with faith, the journey is always inspiring when the drama of future possibilities is weighed against prior covenants which will be put to the test. It is there they find meaning, and when we get to our own “World’s End,” we’d do best to have remembered such things.

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