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Y'arr! - John C. Kirk

May. 31st, 2007

01:26 am - Y'arr!

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I've just got back from seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which was very good. I think the first film is still the best of the three, but I definitely enjoyed this more than the second one; it had a bit of a slow start, but it left me satisfied at the end.

One unusual thing about this film is that they had a 10 minute intermission half-way through (at least in the Vue where I saw it), which was convenient for a quick dash to the loo. As with the other two films, there's an extra scene after the end credits, and this one is definitely worth waiting for. (There was a member of staff lurking around for people to leave so that he could tidy up, but I ignored him.)

More generally, I do like the new Orange Wednesday advert (for "Joan of Arc"), and the trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix looks good (I was particularly impressed by the shot of broomsticks flying down the Thames).

I think that the film had a good mixture of emotions. There were some funny scenes (e.g. Jack's telescope envy), and the action scenes were well-paced, without making me think "Ah, this is clearly put in there for the benefit of the theme park or computer game that they want to get more money from later".

I was a bit dubious about the idea of them being able to sail into the netherworld, i.e. the implication that it's physically attached to Earth, given that they seemed to have mapped most of the planet by this point. However, it worked out well, with a mystical aspect that still felt plausible (the "double sided sea"). Incidentally, if you liked this film then you might also like Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four, which involves sailing ships going over the edge of the world.

One of the big themes in this film was love and betrayal. Quick synopsis for the benefit of anyone who's reading spoilers before watching the film: the captain of The Flying Dutchman is supposed to ferry the souls of the dead into the afterlife, and he gets one day off every 10 years which he can spend on land. In Davy Jones' case, he was in love with the goddess Calypso (who is more or less the embodiment of the sea), and after doing his duty for 10 years she didn't turn up to meet him. This made him bitter, so he abandoned his duty, and all of his crew mutated into fishmen. When he confronted Calypso about this, she said that she's fickle by her nature, so he wouldn't love her any other way.

This seems reasonable on the face of it; if you try to change someone's behaviour away from the things that attracted you to them in the first place then it's unlikely to end well. I was hoping that they'd wind up putting Jones' heart back in his chest (particularly after Will Turner had made a convenient hole for it with his sword), so that he could be re-united with Calypso, but it didn't work out that way. Actually, I think I may have missed a key plot point somewhere; I initially thought that he'd cut his own heart out because he was betrayed, but apparently it's a pre-requisite for the job of captain.

Anyway, Will winds up taking over as the captain, but he remains in love with Elizabeth (they're married by this point), so he asks her to keep his heart safe for him on land. The advantage is that he is able to liberate the crew of The Flying Dutchman from their fishy forms (including his father), and get them back to the job they're supposed to be doing (the equivalent of Charon on the Styx). The downside is that he only gets to see Elizabeth once every 10 years, since she can't go with him (not being able to breathe underwater), but he says that it's ok if they can make the most of that one day. It's a bit of a sad ending, but it's also quite romantic; the scene after the credits shows their first reunion (including his son). Actually, it reminded me of a particular event from the His Dark Materials trilogy, although I don't want to give too much away about those books.

The thing is, since this is presented as a big sacrifice for Will and Elizabeth, it does make me feel a lot more sympathetic to Davy Jones: it's bad enough to have to wait 10 years to see the love of your life again, but it would be even worse if you wait all that time and then she doesn't turn up! I think I'd feel rather bitter and twisted after that... I think that long distance relationships can work (and were probably fairly common if you had husbands going off on long sea voyages), but only if both people make an effort. I was going to mention Napoleon and Josephine here, although a quick Google search says that Napoleon annulled their marriage after 13 years, so that's probably not a great example! (However, just to clarify that, I'd say that this effort is necessary rather than sufficient, i.e. just because an LDR fails that doesn't automatically mean that the people involved weren't trying hard enough.)

Anyway, coming back to Davy Jones and Calypso, I'm reminded of the old story about the frog and the scorpion. Basically, the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across the river, but the frog is reluctant, because he's worried that the scorpion would sting him. The scorpion assures him that this won't happen, so off they go: half way across, the scorpion does in fact sting him, dooming them both to death (since the scorpion will drown). Before he dies, the frog asks the scorpion why he did it, and the scorpion replies "It's in my nature". I suspect that different people will draw different morals from that story, but I personally think that "it's who I am" only goes so far as an excuse, before it has to be replaced by "don't be such a bloody idiot!"

Over at Cap'n Wacky last week, they had a feature on Pirates' Pet Peeves, and one of them was people mispronouncing the word "Caribbean". I think it's supposed to have the emphasis on the second syllable, but it sounds weird when I say it like that, and the characters in the first film all pronounce it the way I'm familiar with (i.e. emphasis on the third syllable). So, a poll:

Poll #994328 Saying the sea

How do you pronounce "Caribbean"?

Cah-RIB-ian
3(23.1%)
Carib-EE-an
10(76.9%)


(That's "how do you actually pronounce it in real life?", not "how do you think it should be pronounced?")

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Comments:

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From:psiphiorg
Date:May 31st, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)
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I say it cuh-RIB-ian most of the time, though when I talk about the movie I say it the other way. Around here (central Illinois, U.S.), both pronunciations are considered correct, and neither one sounds "wrong" to me.

davidh
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From:totherme
Date:May 31st, 2007 09:03 am (UTC)
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I say Carib-EE-an in the same way that I pronounce the name of the French capital "pa-riss" rather than "pa-ree". I'm aware that in French the word is "pa-ree", but I'm usually not speaking French, or even with a French accent. I have no objection to other people speaking English with a French accent though...
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From:terpsichore1980
Date:May 31st, 2007 09:48 am (UTC)
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I think it is generally pronounced Carib-EE-an in the UK, although in the US I understand Ca-RIB-ian is much more common. Obviously being UK-centric I think it should be pronounced Carib-EE-an, but I am prepared to be wrong (although not to change how I pronounce it - probably just my English historical arogance talking).
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From:elvum
Date:May 31st, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
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I assumed that Calypso was in the film as a character for women to identify with (in between ogling certain actors), which would explain both her unnecessarily wilful, fickle nature and the fact that she had sod-all relevance to the plot... :-)
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From:dynix
Date:June 1st, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
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I liked the film lots but the ending annoyed me no end.

Elizabeth by the end of the film had her own pirate ship and was KING of the pirates. Would you give that up to wait patiently on land bringing up your sprog singlehanded? Since she'd already _been_ to the netherworld and back the argument that 'she couldnt go where will was going' hold frankly (excuse the pun) very little water.

Also, how did they manage to make Bill Nighy look so young? Isnt he about a hundred?:)
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From:totherme
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Is it necessarily that bad? I don't think they said explicitly that she stayed on shore for all the 10 years that he was away - she could have been out pirating in the meantime. Bringing up the sprog in the family business :)

The "she couldn't go where Will was going" thing is trickier - but salvageable if you're in the mood. We know that death hasn't been working properly - witness the zombies in the first film, Barbosa's return and Jack's return. We also know that the bloke responsible for keeping death running has been shirking his duties. I think it's reasonable to assume that the two may be linked, and that with a good solid bloke like Will doing that job by the book, those sorts of shenanigans will be much harder to get away with in future ;)
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From:johnckirk
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
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I think the workaround would have been for her to join Will's crew; the snag is that apparently you have to be on the edge of death before that works, so the ending would be leaning even more towards tragedy if she had to almost commit suicide to stay with her husband.
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From:johnckirk
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
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Also, how did they manage to make Bill Nighy look so young?

Well, he did spend most of the film covered in tentacles :)

(I thought he was playing "Bootstrap Bill" at first, but that was someone else.)
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From:shuripentu
Date:June 2nd, 2007 11:35 am (UTC)
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The OED says CaribBEan; I believe it; that settles it.

;p
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