Once More Unto The Breach

Well, well, well my pirate people. So it seems that Disney has decided to reboot PotC, sans actor who made said pirate franchise a big deal in the first place.

(Which really isn’t surprising. Disney has long been known to do very unDisney-like things to anyone associated with them that no longer fit their family-friendly brand.)

The question remains. What are we to make of this?

I mean, obviously this is evidence of Disney’s addiction to money and rebooting things for the sake of making money. The reasons behind their choice to do this, and the ridiculousness thereof, have probably been discussed enough elsewhere.

I’m not really all that interested. As befits a pirate, my interest is in what’s in this for me.

I don’t care about Disney’s gross profit-mongering. I just care about watching good pirate movies.

And as the ship’s surgeon who just cut off a gangrenous limb might say, I’m cautiously optimistic.

The fact is, Disney seems to be the only one in the business of making pirate movies.

I’ve heard the guy from Deadpool is going to be in the new pirates movie. I don’t know if that’s true. And if the new pirates movie is anything like Deadpool I might just throw something at whatever screen I’m watching it on.

Or depending on the size of said screen, I might just throw the screen.

But I hope it will be good. I know they can make good pirate movies. It doesn’t even have to be as well done as the original pirates movie. I’ll settle for something along the lines of 2,3 or 4.

5 was a disaster, I’ve said it before.

Until I see signs that indicate otherwise, I’m taking the reboot as a sign they’ve learned the error of their ways.

One can only hope.


What This Pirate Learned From MMM: Part Two

This is the second blog post inspired by MMM. I feel like the issue we’re going to discuss today is going to come up in a lot of posts, but really it’s so important that it deserves a blog post of it’s own.

As I said in the last post, pirates rebel against the powers that be. And the powers that be are usually out to trick you out of your hard-earned loot. We do not allow this.

Why do we care so much about this when said powers are giving you nice stuff that everyone agrees is cool?

Firstly, because as I discussed in my last post, spending your life indulging in comforts will make you a weak landlubber.

And secondly, more importantly, throwing away your loot on stuff you don’t need makes you dependent. On your employer, on banks, and on the insane ups-and-downs of the economy.

If you depend on your employer to keep you in your cushy lifestyle, you pretty much have to take whatever crap they throw at you.

And that’s only if the economy doesn’t decide to go haywire, and take your job away entirely. In which case depending on your debt situation the banks can do fun stuff to you too.

Jack Sparrow does not let the East India Trading Company push him around, and you shouldn’t be beholden to the corporations in your life either.

(Fortunately we haven’t gotten to the point where Wal-Mart and Amazon are going around imprisoning and executing the Financial Independence crowd.)

Now now do we do this exactly?

Well, to explain that properly would take a lot more than one blog post (see MMM’s entire blog), but I’ll attempt to get you started.

They Are Lying to You

Marketing is bullcrap, and we’re all eating it. No, you are not immune to advertising (literally everyone thinks they are.)

You’re not, okay?

The Starbucks “experience” is not worth the markup.

(Actually any markup is not worth it. If it’s cheaper somewhere else, buy it there. If that means waiting a while, deal with it.)

You do not need to buy chocolate because it is Valentine’s day.

You can leave that “omg I must have it” thing you just saw in the store, and your life will go on unchanged. Conversely, whatever you buy will not change your life.

The truth is, if you actually need something, you will know about it before an advertiser tells you that you need it.

So if you see something in a store and just “have” to have it, then you have been lied to.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is all the awesome stuff that happens when you rebel against the evil corporations and stop giving them all your money.

Let me give you myself as an example. Now, some of you may not be in a situation comparable to mine, but unless you can honestly say that you don’t spend any money on stuff you don’t need, or that there aren’t people in situations like yours (I’m thinking of kids, etc) who live on less than you and are perfectly happy, then my point is still valid.

I just graduated not too long ago. I don’t make very much, relatively speaking.

Yet, despite that and annoying housing costs and my student loans, I still manage to sock away a sizable chunk of money every month.

I’ve been working full time less than two years, but if I lost my job right now, I would just be annoyed.

(I mean, I’m sure I would freak out.)

But financially, it would just be a setback. With some small adjustments, I’m pretty sure I could manage a year even without a severance package, unemployment insurance, or going into debt.

If unexpected expenses come up, such as the vacation opportunity I mentioned in another post, I don’t bat an eye.

(I just delayed buying a couch, because I don’t need a couch. In fact, I’m rethinking the whole idea of buying a living room set while I still need a job, because I’m perfectly happy without one.)

Since beginning my entry into the adult workforce, I have never worried about money. In fact I’ve made it a goal of mine that if I ever do end up having to worry about money, it won’t be for lack of effort on my part.

Will I be able to retire as early as I hope (before 40, preferably)? I don’t know. But I won’t end up with a handful of mud, either.

I’m not saying this to brag (except maybe a little.) My intent is to describe the freedom that comes from controlling your own money, and intentionally deciding what your priorities are in where you put it.

If people thought about it, I really don’t think they would decide that another bag of clothes, or a weekly Starbucks habit, was more important to them than financial freedom.

And a pirate’s life ultimately is about freedom. That, and developing the skills and savvy necessary to achieve it.


Chart Your Own Course

“Hang the code, and hang the rules. They’re more like guidelines anyway.” – Elizabeth Swan.

So the second rule is…ignore the rules. We will pause to savor the irony before continuing.

Okay.

The first Pirates movie hit theatres in 2003 when we the Millennial generation were all in our formative preteen, teenage, young adult years.

Pirates are pretty much defined by rule-breaking, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first movie about pirates to make it big would come at a time when the generation that has become known for doing things differently was coming of age.

Millennials tend to reject the traditional college, job, marriage, mortgage, babies, retirement life-plan.

Partly because that’s who we are, and partly because for a lot of us the stable job never materialized and we’re too worried about finding affordable housing and paying student loans to think about the other stuff.

That sucks a lot, for a lot of people, but I think it has also led to a lot of the out-of-the-box thinking that millennials are also known for.

 Which brings us back to Pirates. Most fictional pirate captains are more-or-less based on Long John Silver from Treasure Island. They make a living by taking what they want, and get away with it by scaring the living daylights out of people. Yet somehow they also remain likeable because, hey, they’re not all bad.

And there’s Jack Sparrow who, while sort of following that pattern, has also managed to invent a completely different way to “pirate,” leading to one of the most unique and interesting characters I’ve ever come across.

He’s not all that intimidating, and despite insisting on being a pirate captain, he isn’t a leader. Instead, he succeeds against all odds because he’s smarter than he seems, and possesses a unique ability to wreak havoc with the laws of physics.

In other words, the rules don’t apply to him.

So if you want to be a modern pirate, one of the most important things is to realize that you can’t live a different life than other people by doing the same things other people do.

This assumes of course that you want something else, but if you’re reading this blog…

In any case I definitely did the first time I watched Pirates, and I still do.

By and large I think I have achieved what I wanted. Or at least I have arrived at an adult life with the financial flexibility and relative dearth of encumbrances that allow me to do the sort of things I envision doing.

For instance, when a travel opportunity recently came up I was able to jump at it with only a few mental readjustments. No spouse to confer with, no kids or pets to worry about, no concerns over where I was going to get the money.

Sure, details to follow, but no concerns over whether or not it was going to happen (at least as far as it is up to me.)

That’s the sort of exception-to-the-rule I was aiming for. Maybe for you it’s different.

But my goal didn’t just happen. I got there for a lot of reasons, but it wouldn’t have even been a goal if I didn’t have the belief that my life could look the way I wanted it to. Not the way everyone else’s life looked like. That I was (or could be) special.

Maybe that seems arrogant, but pirates kind of are. One of the things I liked best about Jack Sparrow was his ridiculous confidence. Which only looked ridiculous until you found out he could really back it up.

That’s who I wanted to be. The person who could chart their own course. And so can you.

The Pirates Movie That Should Not Have Been

(Spoiler warning, btw.)

pirates

That I like the PotC franchise used to be one of the first things people knew about me, but I gave that up to become merely a closet fan after writing a feminist essay about it*. In fact, I didn’t think of myself as much of a fan at all.

It turns out the only thing that could revive my interest in it is outrage. First, I was upset when I found out that Johnny Depp had decided to take on a role in the Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise instead of continuing to make Pirates movies.

Having seen the last Pirates film, I now think he quit one movie too late.

I will say this, Dead Men Tell No Tales (hereafter DMTNT) had some good moments. The explanation of how Jack Sparrow got his name (as opposed to being called Jack Teague) was really clever. I would have wholesomely enjoyed that flashback scene if the CGI wasn’t so awful, and if it didn’t directly contradict the other movies and Jack’s backstory in general.

DMTNT was *just* good enough to demonstrate what a great movie it could have been…if the writers hadn’t screwed it up so badly.

In all the other movies, Jack is not great at the basic, practical elements of piracy**. This is true in the fifth movie as well. Except that they missed the part that he is really, really good at being a lousy pirate. He’s like a basketball player who makes all the trick shots but can’t play on a team.

DMTNT really lost me when Jack walks into the bar and sees his wanted poster with an ever decreasing monetary reward for his capture. That’s not Jack.

Jack is the person who is at first glance mistaken (key word) for “the worst pirate” one might have heard of, and then quickly proves himself to be otherwise.

In contrast, the Jack Sparrow in DMTNT is just a smarmy drunk who used to be a good pirate, and does virtually nothing that has an impact on the plot.

And I’m sure I don’t have to remind you all of Jack’s fantastic monologues. But I will. The time in Dead Man’s Chest when he explains why what happened to Norrington was really William Turner’s fault. His speech at the Brethren Court, during which he quotes Shakespeare and speaks Latin. (Both of which imply that he has been to university at some point. The writers may not have intended this, depending on how much they know about history, but nevertheless it does.)

Where did those go? I can’t think of a single, remotely clever thing Jack says in DMTNT, let alone a monologue.

The videogame did a better job of capturing his wit. There’s one moment in particular. Captain Teague goes to break Jack out of jail and says something like, “You’d sleep through your own hanging, Jacky.”

To which Jack responds, “I always assumed they’d wake me.”

Poetry.

It’s not just Jack’s character who suffers in this movie, although those sins are in my mind the most unforgivable. The movie makes numerous logical missteps, in this case indicative of poor writing rather than fanciful leaps the other movies used to make their stories work. I will provide a short list of sins. Not a full list, because many of them I am still trying to erase from my memory, but a short list. Feel free to provide more of your own in the comments.

  • If Barbosa was Carina’s father, why didn’t he already know all about his own journal and the island it led to?
  • Speaking of Barbosa, why is he back on the fake nobility kick he clearly abandoned in On Stranger Tides?
  • In Dead Man’s Chest Tia Dalma states that Jack bartered his compass from her, contradicting the flashback scene in DMTNT.
  • Dead men tell no tales? Posidon’s trident? Really? Well, I suppose they were running out of nautical cliche’s after using up Davy Jones, mermaids and Blackbeard.***
  • Unless William Turner decided to stop ferrying dead people to the underworld, there is no reason why he would turn all barnacle-y, or act pretty much exactly like Bill Turner did in P2 and P3.
  • Speaking of the Turners, why doesn’t William take steps to free himself if there might be a way to be with Elizabeth? Why isn’t Elizabeth helping Henry to free him?
  • Also, Henry Turner? When the child of William Turner and Elizabeth makes an appearance in the easter egg at the end of At World’s End, he is listed in the credits as Young Will Turner (it’s on imdb, I checked.) His name should be Will Turner Jr.
  • Assuming Jack was 20 when he made his deal with Davy Jones (at 20, William Kidd was one of the youngest ever captains), he would be 33 at the start of Dead Man’s Chest and, adding the 18  or so years between that movie and DMTNT, he can be no younger than 51, more realistically late 50s or early 60s. Yet he still looks like a forty-something with access to make-up, modern health-care, and hair dye.
  • As a logical extension to the above, how in the blue blazes is Barbosa still even alive!? If we assume Barbosa is in his 50s when we first see him, in DMTNT he’s pushing 70, in a time period when people even in low-risk lifestyles lived to 45ish. (Pirates had an average career-length of five years.) And he has little or no gray hair either.
  • At the time of the flashback scene, what will later be called the Black Pearl is still known as the Wicked Wench, as per the name painted on the stern. Jack renamed the ship shortly after being branded a pirate and making his deal with Davy Jones. Therefore, there is no reason for the pirate-slaying Captain Salazar to be going after the Wicked Wench because Jack shouldn’t be a pirate or part of a pirate crew at this point.

 

Now, having unburdened myself of my outrage, I wash my hands of this weirdness.

 

 

*Don’t ever write a feminist essay on your favorite Hollywood movie. Now I can never unrealize that Jack Sparrow treats women like dirt and is mean to animals. However, I have also come to realize that like most Hollywood movies, pirate movies in particular are about saying “for the next two-and-a-half hours, I don’t give a crap.”

**Although the stories Elizabeth mentions in Curse of the Black Pearl suggest that he can be, unless we interpret these as well as the sort of “trick shots” we see in the movies.

***Although this I could have forgiven if the movie had been as good as the previous ones. That being said, I don’t see why the writers didn’t try inventing something original like the first movie did.