Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The Law of the Sea

Davy Jones administers the trade in the souls of men.


Special bulletin for makers of a successful first film:

If you wish to capitalize upon the success of your first movie, and put out a few more without risking the usual flop that sequels are known for being, just use the formula from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Since your audience loved the original story, don’t make the mistake of coming up with a new one. Retell the exact same story you told in the first film, but go into more detail. Then hide what you are doing with the simple trick of purporting to start the second film right where the first one left off, thus giving the surface appearance of a continuation. Spreading it out over two films makes it even less likely that your audience will ever wise up to the fact that they are enjoying your original story all over again.

For an added touch, put references to the sequels in the first movie, just to prove how certain you are that you will be putting out the sequels.

For instance, if the first film takes place in, say, the Caribbean, put in a reference to a place on the opposite side of the globe which has not the slightest relation to anything in the first film, but which will feature prominently at the opening of the third one.

Mullroy: I never would’ve thought of that.

Jack: Clearly you’ve never been to Singapore.

Or you could put in a reference to an entity that will have no role whatsoever to play in the first film, but which you will introduce right at the beginning of the second one.

Norrington: I believe thanks are in order. [offers his hand to Jack to shake; reveals “P” for pirate] Had a brush with the East India Trading company, did we? Pirate.

It does not hurt if you make movie-making history by blowing the budget ceiling of any previous film. Spending money like it was water is especially important if your film is about water and its point is to reveal a world where everything is free. It is then up to your audience to figure out that you already live in this world.

Now if the theme of your first movie involved walking dead who were under a curse, and the happy ending was that the curse was lifted, you can’t exactly recycle those undead guys in the second film without producing a guaranteed flop. So you need a whole new band of undead, and since your first film already got the point across about the walking dead, they need not feature so prominently in the second film.

They can still be the crew of a ship, but don’t make them pirates again. And since you are going into detail, put them into the background of the storyline, and tell the story through their Captain and one particular crew member as new characters you will develop as the story unfolds.

Of course you will bring back all the heroes, heroines, court jesters, and animals that everyone loved from the first film. And when bringing back previous characters, don’t forget to make sure you resurrect at least one of them from the dead. But to avoid predictability, bring the bad guy back to life who everyone was glad to be rid of, and make him one of the good guys.

Just like a coin, there are two sides to every story. In the second film, you will tell the dark side; not until the third one will you be able to turn on the light. This has the unfortunate effect of making everyone say bad things about your second movie, irrespective of how good it actually is, for the simple fact that no audience likes to be confronted with the darkness in their own hearts. However, as the “Pirates” franchise has proven, if you execute this properly, your audience will argue ever after about whether your third film was actually better than the first, a status which, of course, was formerly considered impossible for any sequel to achieve.

Oh yes, and always save the kiss for the end.

*** End of bulletin ***

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program . . .

The story told in Curse of the Black Pearl is how we lost the protections of the common law and became the walking dead operating under bankruptcy protection. This also made us pirates operating under maritime law.

The details of how this happened and how it works today is a tale worth telling. And it is a tale with enough twists and turns in it to fill some five hours of celluloid. Where to begin?

Well, why not begin with how the Governor, representing the common law authority in the colony, directly answerable to the King, lost that authority to a commercial entity, the East India Company operating under maritime law. This part is real history, as we already know that it is only the puny secrets that need protection. But since this historical company actually still exists, we need to add the word “Trading” to the name to avoid infringing on their trademark.

From the sea and onto the land come soldiers who look remarkably like British Redcoats. But at their lead is the new bad guy: Lord Cutler Beckett, head of the East India Trading Company, and the man to whom these troops are loyal. He puts an end to a wedding already interrupted by rain, and in place of the true love of Elizabeth and Will, hands them death sentences. But it is too early to suggest that commerce brings with it the inescapable choice to replace love with death.

Beckett pays little attention to the protests of the King’s Governor, and starts waving around a “warrant” or two for the “arrest” of certain persons on a “charge.” This is the authority he presents which trumps the Governor. To anyone with the slightest experience in a criminal court, or who has watched so much as a TV show about crime, there is nothing unusual about these words at all. But to anyone conversant in maritime law, these words have another meaning, because they are how you stop a ship from leaving port if you are bringing a lawsuit against the ship’s owner for damages. So Dead Man’s Chest starts with us witnessing maritime law being used against two subjects on the land, as if they were ships.

The fact is that the mighty British Empire, upon which the sun never set, was never actually the British Empire. It was the East India Company empire. Starting in 1600 with Queen Elizabeth I, the British figured out that private profit was a much stronger motive for conquest than the Monarch going bankrupt financing far-flung military expeditions of dubious merit. So inevitably, the first British ship to sail into port in any foreign land was a ship of the East India Company. And for those Americans who were taught about a certain tea party held in Boston Harbor, you were probably not taught that it involved three ships, all belonging to the East India Company.

The Company never challenged the ruler of the land directly. Instead it signed treaties securing sole jurisdiction over trade in that port. And in lands with few inhabitants, it founded colonies that were nominally under the King. The law in these colonies was a mix of commercial (maritime) law and common law from the day they were founded. And the Company’s flagship colony still bears its flag.

Lest there be any doubt, later we will witness the Governor surrender his last bit of authority under the common law to the authority of commercial law, as administered by the East India Trading Company.

Lord Cutler Beckett: So you see, Mercer, every man has a price he will willingly accept. Even for what he hopes never to sell.

I wonder how they sleep at night. When the sale comes first and the truth comes second . . .”

There is now only one law in existence, the law of commerce. And that law seems to militate against the Mosaic Law. Put another way, we are tempted to ignore the Ten Commandments because that gives us an advantage in commercial transactions.

Death and afterbirth

Now before we’ve really explained anything, let’s visit a gruesome dungeon of death and despair, and offer no explanation at all as to its significance. Just like our “isle of the dead which cannot be found, save by those who already know where it is,” we will give no hints about where this place is or why it belongs in the film at all.

In addition to ravens plucking out eyeballs, we will witness only one other activity taking place in this house of horror. Men are throwing caskets into the ocean. Hmmm. Caskets = dead people = estate law. Ocean = maritime law. But don’t worry, no one will even make the connection. We zoom in on one of the caskets, and soon, “Bang!” Out pops our hero, Captain Jack Sparrow, complete with the appropriate music.

And what does he do next? Reach in a grab a body part off the dead body that is in there with him, and use that to navigate this vessel to the place he wishes to go. We have just witnessed the issuing of a Birth Certificate, and shown how a newborn baby gets removed from his normal place, under the common law, and tossed into the high seas of maritime jurisdiction from day one, complete with an estate that will follow him where ever he goes.

Which brings us to a little legal problem, and how it was solved. Back in the olden, golden days of 1933, on a particular day, an entire nation was declared bankrupt. To be precise, Executive Order 6102 was issued on April 5, 1933. That order did not use the term “bankruptcy,” yet it put into effect the requirements of a bankruptcy: the seizure of the property of the bankrupt. By removing all gold coins from circulation, this order seized the bulk of the nation’s money, save for a small fraction left circulating as silver coinage. Coincidentally, this bankruptcy declaration was issued a mere eleven days prior to the start of the Jubilee Year of the Redemption, as declared by the Pope. The bankruptcy applied to every man, woman, child, and dog alive on that day. But there was a problem. A minute later a new baby was born. That baby entered the world with no debt, so it was impossible to bankrupt him. What to do?

The answer is the stuff that conspiracy theories are made of. After all, who other than an evil, conniving megalomaniac bent on enslaving the planet would come up with the false presumption that is embedded into every Birth Certificate? To be a full participant in the now bankrupt society, this newborn baby needs his own personal bankruptcy estate. But we can’t give him one because we can’t declare him bankrupt. We can’t even create a credible presumption that he is in debt.

So we turn to the closest related law. We can create an estate based on a death that occurred within minutes of his birth, and then give him the same name as that estate. That estate (think casket) requiring a dead someone (think bones) can now be used by the living child (think Jack) to navigate the high seas of commerce that operate only under bankruptcy protection in maritime law. This is merely more detail on the Isla de Muerta where the Black Pearl “makes berth” in the first movie. This time we get to actually witness the birth being made!

But who died, you ask? Well, the birth registration law is clear. After all, the only thing registered is a “product of conception.” Does that describe a cute, cuddly new-born baby? No, not even to lawyers. It describes the afterbirth. Among the “signs of life” that a doctor is to check for, are such seeming anomalies as “pulsation of the umbilical cord.” That thing is guaranteed to stop pulsating, and we are thus guaranteed to have an estate we can register. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Because the baby’s parents will make the mistake of calling their baby by the exact same name they registered for the estate, we can take every act of the man as being done in the name of the estate, as if he were the administrator. But not being schooled in law, especially estate law, he will probably never figure out that he is a trustee de son tort for wrongfully dealing with property that is not his. Oh yes, if you can’t remember “trustee de son tort,” just think “bloody Pirate”! So if, for instance, this pirate buys some land and registers it in “his” name, it becomes property of the estate of the same name, being a subset of the national bankruptcy estate, and will therefore never actually be owned by the man at all.

A world operating in bankruptcy is a whole new world indeed. Everything, everything down to the last grain of sand, has been claimed as an asset in that bankruptcy. And it has been locked away, in a chest, as it were. There is nothing left to trade for and no money left to trade with. Any attempt to claim private ownership of an item is now an act of piracy, as that would be running off with someone else’s property.

So the only job left in this new world is as administrator of the bankruptcy, but few of us know how to take advantage of the job offer. And thus we spend our lives on the outside, looking in at a brave new world that removes property from us and treats us like criminals at every turn.

Beckett: Letters of Marque. You will offer what amounts to a full pardon. Jack will be free, a privateer in the employ of England.

Will: Somehow I doubt Jack will consider employment the same as being free.

Beckett: Freedom. Jack Sparrow is a dying breed. The world is shrinking, the blank edges of the map filled in. Jack must find his place in the new world or perish.

As Beckett speaks to Will we witness a larger-than-life clock being raised as the new standard under Beckett’s world of commerce. Now every minute must be accounted for, as you will be paid an hourly wage. And ironically, Calvin will distinguish the new religion of Protestantism from its mother church, and create the “Protestant work ethic,” by portraying God as that great clockmaker, to whom every second must be accounted for on the day of judgement. Before the Swiss invented that infernal ticking thing, no one spent half their day worrying about what they were doing with the other half of their day!

When Jack is presented with an offer of the only legitimate job left, he is not quite ready to hang up his pirate’s hat. But it turns out that he owes a terrible debt on the high seas, so he heads to that ancient place of refuge from the tempests of the sea: Land. Any land. And how well that land treats him! In no time he is chief of the tribe of natives that are found there. Yes, we knew it all along. That maritime law was a bum deal. What a relief to finally regain our rights under the common law—the law of the land. . . .

. . . until we learn the full story. Things on land turn out to be not nearly as rosy as they first appear. And the natives are not particularly organized either. They are easily distracted, and have a funny idea of what it means to honor their chief. A brief visit is enough to convince us that the common law and native sovereignty aren’t nearly as good a deal as their proponents would have us believe. So its back we go to the devil we know on the high seas, never again to return to dry land under the harsh reality of the common law.

Unclaimed Properties

And now we are ready to get into the main objective of the movie: finding the Dead Man’s Chest. And what is in the chest?

Pintel: Gold! Jewels? Unclaimed properties of a valuable nature?

Cut! Stop the cameras! Mr. Pintel, where did that line come from? Have you been reading legal tomes again in between shoots? Listen, this is a Disney film, mate. No cursing while the camera is rolling. Right, take it from the top.

We are telling a tale about operating in bankruptcy as a nation, and the first film has thoroughly detailed the position of the bankrupt as the walking dead. So now we are going to flesh out the rest of the picture, which means we have to tell about the Administrator, the creditors, and the bankrupt’s property seized as assets in the bankruptcy. Could this last item possibly be described as “unclaimed properties of a valuable nature”?

If the bankrupt is treated as dead, then it follows that his property has been placed into the dead man’s chest. And it equally follows that we consult a voodoo woman when seeking to understand this chest. . . .

We all know about voodoo dolls, but what we forget is that for a doll to be effective, it must include a body part from the actual man it represents. Hair is a favorite candidate. But the most powerful of all voodoo spells, the one that controls someone’s life completely, is when you get your hands on the placenta and umbilical cord from their birth. So critical is this that any good parent eats the afterbirth just to ensure that their baby can never be controlled in this way.

Of course in civilised countries we don’t believe in such pagan superstitions. We merely control people for their entire life by registering all their property in the name of an estate created from their afterbirth. They never own a thing, and operate under bankruptcy protection, all the while blissfully unaware of how they are controlled by it. Or perhaps you don’t pay taxes on your wages, and you can build a house on “your” land without a permit? And you know lots of people with this exact same level of freedom, so this voodoo spell is indeed complete nonsense.

From the voodoo woman we also learn about the need to make “payment.” We are bankrupt because somewhere along the line we neglected to pay our debts. Let’s find out if we have ever paid anyone in our lives.

Tia Dalma: What . . . service . . . may I do you? Hmmm? You know I demand payment.

Jack Sparrow: I brought payment. [Jack whistles once, a crewmember brings in the monkey in a cage] Look! [Jack cocks his pistol, shoots the monkey. The bullet has no effect, but the monkey chatters in fright] An undead monkey! Top that!

[Tia lifts the cage door, the monkey scampers off]

Gibbs: No! You’ve no idea how long it took us to catch that.

Tia Dalma: The payment is fair.

Jack Sparrow: We’re looking for this. And what it goes to.

Tia Dalma: The Compass you bartered from me. It cannot lead you to dis?

So every deal done by the voodoo woman involves the exchange of value for value. She is not one for operating in bankruptcy. Bring something of intrinsic value, or it’s no deal for you. An undead monkey is a fair payment, and if you want a compass that doesn’t point North, you will need to barter for it, since there is no money in circulation with which you can “pay.”

Not long after, we will learn that Jack’s debt must be “settled.” It cannot be paid at all. Settling involves balancing books, as in making ledger-book entries only. Nothing of intrinsic value need change hands. Welcome to the modern world, where we all believe we are “paid,” and yet every debt can only ever be “settled” as we watch mere digits move around on paper or screen—and we actually believe that we are richer or poorer based on the final total at the bottom!

In the olden, golden days, the “bottom line” translated into actual gold or silver coins held in the bank’s vault. Coins of intrinsic value that you could demand at any time based upon the sum in your account. To this day, the only legal definition of money involves gold and silver minted into coins by a recognized authority. So how much “money” is in your pocket? Let me guess. Today your account is “backed,” not by any money at all, but only by your fellow bankrupts, who suffer under the same delusion as you, and will therefore trade their valuable blood, sweat, and tears for mere digits that are not redeemable by the bank in any form.

Not only do you not know how much debt you were bankrupted for, you are never going to accumulate enough real money to pay it off. Or have you forgotten Pirates I already? The curse cannot be lifted until every last gold coin is returned!

Four stories

And now at last we get to meet the Administrator of the bankruptcy: Davy Jones. It will become apparent soon enough that it is his job to look after the undead: those equivalents to the crew of the Black Pearl who were undead in the first film. But to start with we are told this about him:

Tia Dalma: You know of . . . Davy Jones, yes? A man of de sea. A great sailor, until he ran afoul of dat which vex all men.

Will Turner: What vexes all men?

Tia Dalma: What, indeed.

Gibbs: The sea?

Pintel: Sums!

Ragetti: The dichotomy of good and evil.

Jack Sparrow: A woman.

Tia Dalma: A wo-man. He fell in love.

Gibbs: No-no-no-no, I heard it was the sea he fell in love with.

Tia Dalma: Same story, different versions, and all are true.

Tia goes on to explain how two of these stories relate: a woman and the sea. But she says that “all” are true, not just “both.” So we are dealing with four separate stories about what vexes all men, and then told that they are in fact the same story. So if you’re happy with her connection between the woman and the sea, then just how do “sums” and “the dichotomy of good and evil” fit into all this? Perhaps the tree of the knowledge of good and evil rings a bell? The first one to eat of it was a woman. Is it possible that this fall from grace had something to do with a fixation with sums?

Oh yes, this is a story about water, about your life today, and about how mankind got into our current pickle. To tell the whole story, you have to go back to the point of origin. And that origin, called “original sin” in theological terms, is told by way of a simple story in a place called the Garden of Eden. That garden was paradise, a cleverly veiled reference to Heaven being located right here on Earth. We are told that things started out far better than they are today, and that something happened that would wreck this paradise, and replace it with the world as we know it, full of problems.

What is clear from the story is that prior to partaking of the forbidden fruit, mankind only understood the concept of good. They knew no such thing as evil, so there was no dichotomy. Upon eating the fruit, an evil thought must have entered their minds. Let us imagine for a moment that the evil thought was that their Creator had not provided enough on this earth to meet all of their needs, and so a system of private ownership was needed to divide up the scarce resources and to decide who was worthy of their use, and conversely, whose children should be allowed to starve.

This would then explain their peculiar choice of name for their first child, the world’s first “bad guy.” Cain means “possession,” and to keep track of possessions requires sums. And if you are worried about scarcity, then you will be vexed by those sums. And you will get into disputes over them with your fellow man. Due to the unique challenges of carrying on trade by sea, the established body of law that is best equipped to deal with those disputes is maritime law, the law of the sea. And as it turns out, it is this law, and no other, that governs almost every aspect of our existence today.

Because we still wake up each morning vexed with only one thought. We ask the question “How much?,” and it is in pursuit of the answer to this question that we find the motivation to get out of bed each day. If you do not wake up with this one thought on your mind, then you already live in a world where everything is free!

But let’s get back to the real world, where you feel that strong need to keep track of sums. To do so whilst bankrupt you need the assistance of Davy Jones, a man of the sea, now become a creature of the sea, and administrator of your bankruptcy estate under maritime law. Or is he the reincarnation of Jonathan Edwards?

Davy Jones: Do you fear death? Do you fear that dark abyss? All your deeds laid bare. All your sins punished. I can offer you . . . an escape-uh.

Laying on the religious stuff pretty thick, aren’t you, Davy? This is supposed to be entertainment, not enlightenment. We’re here trying to have a good time, to enjoy life.

Davy Jones: Life is cruel. Why should the afterlife be any different? I offer you a choice. Join my crew, and postpone the judgment. One hundred years before the mast. Will ye serve?

One hundred years you say? Judgment postponed? As in, debts not collected? This wouldn’t have anything to do with a bankruptcy estate would it? So if I am a minor for twenty years, and therefore not legally liable until I attain the age of majority, and you will manage my debts in bankruptcy for 80 years, the statutorily prescribed maximum life of a trust or estate under the rule against perpetuities, that brings us to 100 years, does it not?

Is that why I get a letter from the Queen on my hundredth birthday? Does she need to keep personal tabs on me, now that I’ve survived long enough to be discharged from bankruptcy? Is she scared I might ask for a full accounting of the job she’s done? Oh well, most of us will never live long enough to find out, and the rest of us will no longer be mentally alert enough to ask those questions.

Soon we will see Davy Jones trading in the souls of men, and doing a deal with Jack, where it is established that all souls are not equal, and yet Davy has no interest whatsoever in “price.” A different reality indeed, to the one we are used to. Let’s rejoin our own reality on board the Edinburgh Trader:

Bellamy: It’s an outrage. Port tariffs, berthing fees, wharf handling, and heaven help us, pilotage. Are we all to work for the East India Trading Company, then?

Quartermaster: I’m afraid, Sir . . . Tortuga is the only free port left in these waters.

Bellamy: A pirate port is what you mean. Well, I’m sorry. An honest sailor is what I am. I make my living fair, and I sleep well each night, thank you.

Yes, pay your taxes, fees, levies, and duties, on top of the ever increasing base prices for life’s necessities, and at least you can sleep well at night, knowing you are an “honest” sailor. Ummm, working as a modern-day slave for the East India Company, of course!

Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13

But surely such employment ensures us a comfortable and guaranteed standard of living, so long as we do a good job? For the answer, we meet our former Commodore, now stripped of his crew, his commission, and his life because he failed to perform up to the Company’s expectations on one particular occasion. How has this commercial world treated its faithful servant, still in the prime of his life? Like so much human waste, ready to be thrown out as slop for the swine as soon as he is no longer considered profitable.

For a better deal we might consider employment under Davy Jones. What sort of terms does he offer? Loss of identity for a start.

Bo’sun: Secure the mast tackle, Mister Turner!

Exactly who is “Mister Turner”? Father Bill and son Will are confused as both race to do a good job for their exacting taskmaster. Imagine if there were a grandfather, an uncle, a brother, and a grandson on board as well. It could be total mayhem as all fight each other over who gets to fulfil the demands of the bo’sun. “Mister Turner, I find you guilty of crimes of the highest order, and I sentence you to a hundred years before the mast. Now which one of you will accept liability? Step forward!”

We see that out of compassion, fathers enforce the rules of the Dutchman on their children, or “issue.” And once you’ve signed up on the Dutchman, there is no leaving it “until your debt is paid.” But how to pay that debt? Because you aren’t earning any money during those hundred years of service. Davy Jones is clear: His offer is to postpone the judgment, not to save you from it. Later we will see the crew wagering, not with money, but with “the only thing we have: years of service.” So you will stay busy for a hundred years, and pay a price, but to what end?

This is bankruptcy protection, but without the elimination of the debt at the end. You will be judged, and you will pay—eventually. Perhaps we can’t eliminate the debt because it is a real one involving real money, and not merely an accounting exercise where everything already balances to zero under the double-entry bookkeeping system. What can you put on the other side of the ledger to balance your own books and make the debt go away? In the old days, under the Mosaic Law, all debts were forgiven every seven years. So is it really a new, improved system where we work under slavish conditions for a hundred years, and still don’t see the debt forgiven? Are we missing something?


Will has sworn no oath to the Dutchman, and is there instead to find a key. And not just any key. The key to the dead man’s chest. But his only clue is a picture of a key.

Jack Sparrow: No! Much more better. It is a drawing of a key.

Once he learns where Davy Jones keeps the key, he does an exchange, leaving Jones the “drawing” and taking with him the genuine article. This is banking procedure, and specifically bills of exchange law. “Drawing” is how one creates a bill of exchange. Once the drawer hands the bill over to another party, it has been “issued.” If you have never heard of a bill of exchange before, just think “check.” A check is the most commonly known form of bill of exchange, and check law is bills of exchange law. And this is more than some interesting trivia. Because in a world with no money, every “thing” that we think of as money is in fact one or another form of bill of exchange. Or it’s pure ether!

With key in hand, Will hears his father confess that he abandoned Will in order to pursue the pirating life he wanted. Do all parents unwitting turn their children into abandoned property, to be dealt with as such, when they register the birth? Is this how the State obtains a higher authority over children than their own parents? How else could they be uplifted at will, on the whim of a bungling bureaucrat? But in learning this, rather than accepting that he has no debt to his father, Will finds his mission and purpose in life:

Will Turner: I take this with a promise. I’ll find a way to sever Jones’ hold on you. And not rest until this blade pierces his heart. I will not abandon you. I promise.

To achieve this purpose, Will must now find the chest. But Davy Jones has hidden it, and now even he must go off in pursuit of it so as to keep it out of the hands of:

  1. Jack, who wants his debt to Davy Jones settled
  2. Will, who wants his father’s debt to Davy Jones paid
  3. Beckett, who needs it in order to control the high seas of commerce

Gibbs: If the company controls the chest, they controls the sea.

Three parties after the same thing, and an administrator afraid it will fall into the wrong hands. So he sets sail for the Isla Cruces, which is Spanish for Island of “the Crossing,” where the chest lays buried. Another interesting name. . . .

At his command, Jones has a terrifying beastie, the Kraken. This entity can turn large ships into a pile of toothpicks in moments. And we watch it do so to the Edinburgh Trader soon after it “put in at Tortuga.”

Bursar: And we made a nice bit of profit there.

Bellamy: Off the books, of course.

In a world where everything is registered, it may come as a surprise to learn that there is only one type of registry: a ship’s registry. So whether you are registering a birth, a company, or something else, you are creating a new ship, to be regulated under maritime law. And should that company fail to follow the wishes of the administrator, such as by doing business “off the books,” it will incur the wrath of his terrible beastie which will take down that ship swiftly and surely. And as mortally terrifying as the Kraken is on the big screen, in real life most people fear the tax department far more!

Ignore the girl

The three parties arrive at Isla Cruces before Davy Jones, with Beckett represented by the disgraced but still loyal Norrington. He is not a man driven by ambition, but with an undying faith in “the promise of redemption.” Now whether you are redeeming a bond or redeeming a soul, redemption is a good thing. And these three parties have something else in common: They all want the same girl. She promised to marry Norrington, her true love is for Will, and yet she is also tempted to run off with Jack. But soon we will see them ignoring the girl altogether, as they battle each other for control of the heart in the chest.

Their battle soon proceeds to an old church, and immediately after gaining possession of the key, Jack finds himself lying in a grave. Why this fixation with the dead? Oh that’s right. That was explained in painstaking detail in the first film. Earlier we had a rather inept Bible reading, and far too many theological references for a Disney film. Does the promise of redemption have something to do with the church? Perhaps a church that holds the key, or keys? And would it be pure coincidence if those keys were crossed?

So now that we’ve been shown the chest, and given an idea of who holds its keys, the film will close with a string of hints and partial remedies for the pickle we find ourselves in. Remember, there is another film to follow, so for all we have learned, we are only ready for more clues to point us in the right direction. First, we must know how to outrun the Dutchman:

Gibbs: Against the wind the Dutchman beats us. That’s how she takes her prey. But with the wind . . .

Will Turner: We rob her advantage.

So let’s stop fighting so hard, and start sailing where the wind takes us! Or, as Jack reminds us:

Jack Sparrow: Why fight when you can negotiate? All one needs . . . is the proper leverage.

Unfortunately, Jack lost that leverage, so we don’t get to see how well it serves him. Next, let’s examine the heart of the problem. No pun intended. We are a bunch of pirates, so heavily addicted to rum that we cannot conceive of life without it. In fact, given a choice between death itself or life without rum, we cannot decide which is the worse fate:

Gibbs: There’s only half a dozen kegs of powder!

Will Turner: Then load the rum!

[Gibbs seems shocked, then turns to see the entire crew halted staring at him in stunned silence]

Have you figured out what rum represents yet? Are we in fact so addicted to this concept that we cannot imagine life without it? If so, we will forever remain willing slaves to a system based upon rum. Lest we imagine that the rum is real, Gibbs reminds us that we are all working for free:

Gibbs: Heave! Heave like you’re being paid for it!

And the only way out of this deal is to give up the game entirely, including our precious imaginary ship:

Gibbs: Abandon ship. Abandon ship or abandon hope.

It’s a rather extreme remedy, but the only one with any hope of success, if you believe Mr. Gibbs. Yet Jack “elected” to stay behind, and in doing so he must pursue a different remedy, and one that will take a third film to explain. In explicit detail, we will see him re-enter the womb of the Kraken, so that he might be born again.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (John 3:3–4)

Just in case you doubt the answer to that question, in short order we see that Tia Dalma has indeed brought Captain Barbossa back to life.

Judgment. Eternal damnation. Redemption. Resurrection of the dead. Most people would sleep through a two-and-a-half-hour sermon, but you didn’t, did you? :::

Snodgrass made a decision ten years ago to live as if everything was free, even if it wasn’t. As a consequence of the problem of too-much-time-on-his-hands that this created, he frittered his days away reading legal tomes and watching children’s movies.

His first epiphany came when he thought, “Hey, this is just like The Matrix”, while reading a legal treatise on jurisdiction.” Initially scared to watch Pirates because of the skeletons, he relented after he found that he had learned less about money from all his law books than a close friend knew after a few viewings of Curse of the Black Pearl.

posted by editor ::: October 31, 2012 ::: philms :::