The End of the Adventure? Thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

I finally saw the new film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and as I walked from the theater there were some thoughts that struck me. (There may be minor spoilers)

Overall I thought it was an okay film.  On it’s own it’s a fun little adventure.  But since it is the 5th film of the franchise it asks to be judged as part of the whole  In that instance I will say it’s not as good.  But I don’t think that’s the fault of this film.  It is asking a lot of a film franchise that initially started in 2003 and wasn’t even planned at the time of being a film franchise when the first.

I’ll always say the first Pirates film is my favorite.  I still remember seeing the first one in a movie theater up in Alaska where I was spending the summer working at a youth camp.  The story of Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan was a compelling one.  But with each successive film, it seemed to lose the heart of the first film.  By the time of the fourth film On Stranger Tides it really felt like it hit bottom.

I made the comparison on Twitter that Dead Men Tell No Tales feels an awful lot like Rocky Balboa to the Rocky series.  The reason why I thought that as I walked out of the theater was because how this film has been somewhat portrayed in trailers as the “final adventure”.  It seems to try and “right” some of the “wrongs” of the last film and finish off the story of Jack Sparrow.

For those that don’t remember, Rocky Balboa came nearly 16 years after the last Rocky film (Rocky V).  To me Rocky V is one of those movies that doesn’t exist in my personal canon of films because it’s so bad.  It was always a bad way to send off Rocky.  But then Rocky Balboa released and was a better sendoff to the franchise and the character.  And while Creed has spun off and done it’s own thing, there was closure with the Rocky series.

I think On Stranger Tides is the Rocky V of the Pirates series.  There is no Will Turner or Elizabeth Swan in that film.  The story itself feels a little disjointed and there wasn’t any closure.  Dead Men Tell No Tales at least delves back into the history of Sparrow.  It helps bring the Turner/Swan story back through Will & Elizabeth’s son Henry (as well we get cameos of Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightly) and we get Jack Sparrow sailing off at the end of the film.  Granted given the after credits scene they could spin off and do more with Will/Elizabeth/Henry and Carina in a Creed type spinoff, but I think the story (at least of Jack Sparrow) should end here.

It’s been said of musical or comedy acts that one should always leave the audience wanting more.  You don’t want to overstay and the act get boring or not entertaining.  In some ways stories can be that way as well.  There should be at the end of the story a desire to want more but at the same time leave it to the imagination as to what that more is.  Granted it’s a balance between telling more of the adventure and leaving that desire to dream of what’s there.

Could there be more adventures out on the seas for Jack Sparrow?  Possibly, but sometimes it’s good to leave those up to the imagination of the audience.  There may be a new adventure on the horizon for the Black Pearl but I’m happy to stay in port and remember the old ones.

Thursday Quote Day: Michael Kelley

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote by author and speaker Michael Kelley:

“There is a certain measure of sobriety we need to approach our fellow men and women with. It’s a respect that acknowledges that God has uniquely created this person, each one has a story, and we don’t have any idea for what purpose God might have connected us at that given moment.” (Michael Kelley Boring)

Thursday Quote Day: Carter Stepper

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day” is a quote from teacher and writer Carter Stepper:

“We are defined by our stories. In each stage of our lives, there are marked moments where we can perceive with clarity how are lives have changed, shaping our individual identities in unique ways.” (Carter Stepper Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who)

Monday Musings

Sometimes on Mondays you just have a bunch of jumbled thoughts and some days it’s pretty coherent.  This is one of those jumbled thoughts kind of days.  Jumbled in the sense that I have a few things in my mind I could write about but nothing that is so sustained that I could write a lot about.  So here’s some things that I’m thinking through…

*I know for me it is hard to let go of hurt sometimes.  The more I’ve been hurt, the harder it is for me to let go.  I think this is something we all struggle with but i know for me it is something I struggle with.  I think sometimes it can be our identity if we let it.  We let that pain define us when that’s not what God wants.  He doesn’t want us defined by our pain.  He wants us to find our meaning in Him.  Jesus took on all the pain and suffering on the cross.  Pain should not be something we hold on to.  But it is a struggle to let go.  But the awesome thing is when I let go of that hurt and turn it over to God, I feel so much better.  I’m more myself again.  I’m more the person God has called me to be.  I can follow Christ better because I’m not weighed down by the hurt I was holding on to previously.

*I saw a tweet this past week by author and speaker Jon Acuff that stuck with me.  He said this :  “Sometimes God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past so it doesn’t become their future.” I’ve been on both sides of this.  I have heard stories from friends of mine that I learned from their past and I have shared my story with others and my past.  Not only is it a way to help others, but like I said earlier it’s a way of letting go hurt as well.  Seeing that tweet reminded me that I need to share my story more because of the awesomeness of how the Gospel intersects with my story and how it can intersect with others.

Scars and the Stories They Tell

A couple of years ago while when I was in seminary, I wrote a post on Facebook.  I thought I’d post my thoughts about the topic here because I feel like it’s still relevant.

I have scars. Several in fact. In the physical sense I have two main ones.  One is from having my appendix removed when I was very young (around 4 or 5).  The other is on my left index finger from having a coffee cart dropped on it and smashing it while I was in Seattle.  They aren’t as defined as they once were but you can still see them (especially the one on my finger since it’s in plain sight.)

I also have emotional scars.  Some of my own making because of immaturity, some from others (through their words and actions).  But they are there.  Those you have a hard time seeing unless I open up and share about them.  But they are a part of me as well.

I think for a long time I’ve tried to hide my scars.  You want to be seen as “perfect” even though we all know that’s never the case.  But it doesn’t mean those scars aren’t there just because I try to hide them.  They’re still there and I shouldn’t be trying to hide them for one simple reason.  They are there for a purpose.

As we know from physical scars, there was first a wound.  There was a cut or surgery or something that cause there to be a wound that needed to be treated.  Sometimes those wounds healed quickly.  Other times, those wounds would take a long time to heal.  But when they did heal, there remained a scar.  That scar showed that healing had taken place.

Like physical scars, emotional scars come from a wound.  Whether it’s an action or words that someone speaks, they cut and hurt.  Emotional wounds can cut deep and healing needs to take place.  Sometimes the healing process is quick and other times it takes time.  And like physical scars, there are emotional scars that remain.

I believe that God uses those emotional scars as a reminder of His healing in our lives and how He continues to be with us. I’m not a patient person.  Even though I’m better than I used to be, I’m still not as patient as I could be.  When I’m sick or hurt, I want to hurry up and get better.  But you can’t rush healing.  It takes time.  I think it’s the same emotionally,  You have to have time to heal.  However, when you are healed, you can look back and see how you are taken care of through the whole thing by Him.

When I look at the scar on my finger as I tend to do from time to time, I remember the incident.  However, there is no pain involved.  I don’t experience the pain I felt from the accident each time I look at my scar.  What I do remember is that God was watching out for me, and  He took care of me.  The same can be said for my emotional scars as well.  I can look back on events now that have happened in the past and I don’t feel the pain about them anymore.  I may bear the scars but I don’t feel the pain.  I’m reminded of how He has led me to the point in my life where I am now.  Even though it has not been easy following Jesus, I don’t know anywhere else I could be or should be.  That assurance that Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 28:20 about being with them “always” (or in the Greek, “all of the days”) is an assurance that I have too.

So I try to not be ashamed or hide my scars.  Instead, I hope that I can use the stories that come from them to reflect Jesus and the impact that He has and continues to have in and through my life.