Caribbean Thoughts

Since Kate got home, we’ve happily reverted to out old patterns and routines. In some ways, it feels as if the nine months were merely a short blip in life. In other ways, it’s really different. Deb and I have readjusted to matching four schedules, not two, and dealing with a louder house. The kids have bonded nicely and have resumed leaving their things in every room but their own.

The dogs are thrilled to have the extra company.

Once Kate’s computer is done being overhauled, no doubt she’ll be posting her own thoughts and observations about suddenly being back in the land of peace and tranquility.

Given the 24-hour travel from Cairo to New York plus the seven-hour time difference, we’ve been careful to ease her back onto our time and routine. As a result, on Sunday, after she went to Church, we took in an afternoon showing of the third Pirates of the Caribbean, figuring it was a safe way to keep her focused while fighting the urge to crawl into bed at five in the afternoon.

The movie itself is far more successful than the first sequel. While other critics made a lot about the complicated story, at least this movie was about something. The second film suffered from too many action sequences that went on for too long and didn’t advance the story at all. In fact, the second did a nice job bringing up the notion that the time for pirates was rapidly passing and there was no longer a place in the world for Captain Jack Sparrow. Then the movie didn’t do much with that and instead, dipped into more pirate mythology with Davy Jones, his locker and so on.

This time around, we had the new world in the form of Lord Beckett, allying itself with that very pirate legend, and taking a superior position in order to bring about the very end of the pirates he had foreseen. Beckett and the East India Company were representing progress and the future, stomping all over such gnarly beasts as Jones and his unsightly crew.

We also had the shifting allegiances among the pirates, which played to the stereotypes of them being merely out for themselves. Yes, it got convoluted and you weren’t always sure which betrayal advanced which deal, but at least the story kept moving forward and most of the characters were well served in this way. Having said that, I wish we saw more than exposition coming from Captain Barbossa – how did he feel about being alive once more, what were his goals and dreams?

Will Turner proved to have some spine as he willingly betrayed Sparrow to try and rescue his father, which made him somewhat noble and heroic.

The real character growth here was Elizabeth Swann as she came into her own as a woman and as a natural-born leader. She was the most entertaining to watch from beginning to end.

Together, they actually had an arc through the three films that ended in the most satisfactory manner. Additionally, some of the best humor in the film came from their characters.

Sparrow, the focal point of all three movies, and the most original character, actually didn’t show us anything new or different this time around, except for one brief glimpse as we saw him interact with his dad, Captain Teague. For the second film in a row, this was actually very disappointing.

The Calypso myth, central to one thread of the film felt tacked on and unresolved. Her legend should have been hinted at in the second film so it paid off better this time around. This was perhaps the most disappointing part of the movie.

Second most disappointing thread had to be the underused Chow Yun-Fat’s Captain Sao Feng. He was a delightful stereotypical Asian menace but then didn’t have anything to do. It was also interesting to see the United Nations of stereotypes, giving the film some heft the second was lacking.

Beckett’s arc ended as expected although his final actions left something to be desired and never really addressed the theme that was so nicely raised.

All in all, this was a strong leg of the trilogy, something that could not be said of Spider-Man 3. It was worth every kernel of popcorn consumed over nearly three hours.

One comment

  • It’s twenty-four hours to get from Cairo to the U.S.? Really? Is there a layover or something? I guess you probably can’t get a direct flight (isn’t it twenty-four hours to Australia, too?)

    I was really glad to read your review of PotC III – I loved the first film, and thought the 2nd was god awful. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to see the film in theaters — Netflix, after all, is far more affordable (and store-bought popcorn cheaper too!) — but at least I want to see it now.