Pirates of the Caribbean

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Pirates 3 was a great, great movie. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, had amazing action scenes, wonderful characters, settings and story. However, I suffered a general discomfort in the face of an elevated theme in the third pirate movie – that of “freedom”. Basically, the East Indian Trading Company is taking over the seas, establishing law and order. So all the Pirates are fighting for the right to be Pirates – the right to rape, pillage and murder. The right to attack and sink commercial vessels after plundering them of their treasures.

Now we all know that freedom is a virtue, a highly cherished Western ideal, a paramount value of Democratic Society. But Piracy?! As if we have a RIGHT to do absolutely any horrid thing we want to anybody else, and if anyone tries to stop us we’ll complain about the infringement upon our God-given freedom? Rubbish. In Pirates I, the first scene shows the Black Pearl coming into a quiet, peaceful harbor and killing men, women and children. Is that the kind of freedom that must be preserved at all costs?

In short, I found myself questioning who the heroes were. Elizabeth makes a grand speech about “Choosing Sides” – but what does her side represent? She’s involved in a loose coalition of pirates, all of whom, including her dearest friends and companions, are lying to each other to further their own selfish goals. They are all super cool, of course – Will Turner has never looked as handsome as he does after he’s had his heart cut out. But are they role-models? Are they fighting for principles which we can identify with? Freedom at all costs?

I am, myself, ethically ambiguous. If there were a breakdown in law and order, I might myself take to Piracy – but eventually, if we ever want to be able to live in peace, to sleep soundly, and to have some kind of social stability; then it seems law-breakers and non-conformists, especially the looting/pillaging/murdering kind, need to captured and punished.