"Choose Good or Evil?"
What You Need To Know:
PIRATES poses some theological and moral issues in a positive way. It says early on that Jack Sparrow will end up doing the moral thing, and Elizabeth will turn into a pirate. It then asks, will Jack be good or bad? These moral elements are set, however, in a dark, scary fallen world where there is lots of evil, grotesqueries and even cannibalism. A little editing would have helped the movie, but as it is, the movie is still very exciting and entertaining.
(CC, BB, OO, Acap, L, VVV, S, N, AA, D, MM) Mild Christian worldview complete with quoting the Bible, talk of salvation and other Christian elements set in an evil, fallen world with clear moral choices in particular with regard to loyalty, responsibility and doing the right thing, although many of the characters are intent on doing the wrong thing and marred by witchcraft, superstition, demonic activity, sin and some confusing worldview elements, especially strong references to cannibalism, as well as anti-capitalist perspective; one or two obscenities and lots of superstitious and demonic discussions; lots of action and other violence, some of which is very scary including attacks by human fish demonic characters, attacks with axes, swords, blowguns, hatchets, knives, point-blank murders, a necklace of toes and fingers which hero bites toenail, and hero is threatened by cannibalism as well as a beating heart outside of a body, a man's head knocked off, although as a part-shellfish creature he can survive with his head and body in different locations; long, lingering kiss used to manipulate a person, sexual activity in pirate port and sexual discussion and double entendre; low-cut women's dresses and upper male nudity; alcohol abuse; smoking; and, Davy Jones' character clearly indicates that he is the devil, gambling, gross activities, crow eats person's head, ghost story aspects, witchcraft, potions, people coming back from the dead, and man with removable wooden eye.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST poses some important moral questions, commends some redemptive actions, and presents some theological Christian content in a positive way, but is set in a dark, scary fallen world where there is lots of evil, grotesqueries and even cannibalism. For the most part, the movie is high-octane action-adventure, but a little editing would have given it more zip.
In this follow-up to the very successful first movie, Will Turner and Elizabeth are about to be married when they are arrested for aiding and abetting the escape of a pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. The arrest is actually a bargaining tool for Lord Cutler Beckett to use to manipulate either one of them or both of them into stealing Jack Sparrow’s compass so that Lord Beckett can find Davy Jones’ chest. In order to save Elizabeth, Will agrees to get the compass from Jack. Jack, meanwhile, has found out that the deal he made with the devil, Davy Jones, to give him the position of Captain of the Black Pearl for 12 years, has run out and now Davy Jones wants to collect Jack’s soul.
Escaping Davy Jones, Jack and his crew run aground on an island of headhunters who want to cook Jack for dinner and eat the rest of the crew. In one of the most disgusting scenes of the movie, he is given a necklace of toes and fingers, and bites the nail of the one of the toes. Will Turner comes to Jack’s rescue, and Jack tells him that he will give him the compass which points not to North, but instead pints to whatever the person wants to find, if Jack will steal the key to the dead man’s chest from Davy Jones, who captains the Flying Dutchman.
On the Flying Dutchman, Will meets his father, who became part of Davy Jones’ crew because Davy Jones, who rules the ocean depths, offers to extend a man’s life 100 years if he serves him. The men who serve him turn into fish-men encrusted with barnacles and other artifacts from the ocean’s depths.
Will gambles for the key to Davy’s chest and almost loses until his father sacrifices his indentured servitude to save Will. Will then steals Davy’s key and from this point the movie becomes a chase where Will, Jack, Elizabeth, Lord Cutler Beckett, and Davy Jones and his crew, as well as other pirates, are trying to get the treasure of the dead man’s chest, which is none other than Davy Jones’ beating heart.
PIRATES could be used in theological classrooms. It poses theological and moral issues in a positive way. It says early on that Jack Sparrow will end up doing the moral thing, and Elizabeth will turn into a pirate. It then asks, will Jack be good or bad? It discusses and demonstrates the Bible, salvation, self-sacrifice, redemptive activity and responsible, moral decision-making.
Regrettably, it sets all of this in a dark grotesque, dangerous, fallen world. Thus, for many viewers, these theological musings may escape them.
PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN is not for children. Cannibalism is a strong theme, and grotesque images such as birds eating the eyes of people, a heart beating outside of a body, a necklace of fingers and toes, and explosions will linger a long time in children’s minds. If some of these images had been toned down, the movie would have been more acceptable for a broad audience.
A little editing would have helped the movie to become a little more tight and exciting, but as it is, the movie is very entertaining. Some of the acting in DEAD MAN’S CHEST is very good, some slightly campy, and some staged. The music, photography and special effects are very, very good, but again as in so many recent movies, spectacle sometimes overwhelms the story. When that happens, it slows the story down tremendously.
In the final analysis PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN is an exciting, entertaining movie. It should be a starting point of discussion about these important moral and theological studies. If it is not used to dig deeper, it is of debatable value since there are so many frightening elements in the movie.