Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

"What profit is there if a man gains the whole world but loses his very soul?" (Mark 8:36)

In the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl, the uniquely charming and child-like Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) was introduced to the British colonies in the Caribbean and to movie audiences everywhere. In this sequel, Dead Man's Chest, the Captain is back but still has yet to grow up.

It's part of the charm of Jack Sparrow that he looks at the world through a kids' eyes. But now he begins to learn that charm can't get you out of every situation.

Since it's a Disney movie, the villian must be an over-the-top 'bad guy.' Pirates 2 does not disappoint this regard. In this film, it's Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy), a man with a squid face who has bought total control of the seas (and the monsters and other unlucky souls therein) in exchange for his very own heart.

Both the main character and his archnemesis have much to learn... but then again, they are pirates.

What sets Captain Jack apart from the squid-faced Jones is not only better looks, but in this movie, Jack - through the support and encouragement of his friends (Elizabeth Swann played by Keira Knightly and Will Turner played by Orlando Bloom) - opens himself up to a bit of redemption. He finally learns to be an adult pirate, and in so doing, learns that requires some selflessness and sacrifice.

On the other hand, Davy Jones has no desire for redemption, just to make sure his heart is secure in the "dead man's chest." But at what price? He is a walking, talking example of what Jesus taught in the gospels: "What profit is there if a man gains the whole world but loses his very soul?" (Mark 8:36). Jones literally loses his heart so he can gain the whole world (for a pirate, that would be the sea).

What kind of life does Jones have? He lives in constant worry of people stealing his power. He lives a life without being able to walk upon the land. He is surrounded only by other people who are equally devoid of compassion and maturity. There is no profit in this.

We, too, run the risk of becoming like Jones. When we trade our principles for power; when we offer up our morals for control; when we exchange our maturity for money.

This movie gives us an example of what life that leads to, and shows up that we all have a chance for redemption, as Jack Sparrow did. Who do we want to become? The squid face or Johnny Depp? Being innocent and wide-eyed isn't necessarily a bad thing, but every now and then we are called upon to take a step into real adulthood and maturity for the good of others. I pray we respond like Captain Jack when that happens to us.