I finally saw Pirates of the Caribbean 2 last night! Spoilers and criticism ensue.
Oh, poor movie. I wanted to like it, but the sheer overstuffing of plot and character thoroughly distracted me. Why did the two comic-relief and formerly undead pirates come back [and how did they get unimmortal]? Could we have dispensed with the East India Trading Company, which didn’t fit at all with the supernatural barnacled sailors and the kraken? [Seriously, doncha think the ending, where the former straight man Norrington, now an avowed believer in the magical, presents the world’s most powerful trading company with …a disembodied, beating HEART, was kinda silly?] And, for the love of the high seas, why did they go to Tia Dalma [and, if she was going to give important plot points, why didn’t they give her more intelligibility or subtitles?]??? More importantly, WHO CARES?
At the heart of POTC 2, there’s a halfway interesting story, much more serious and less nimble than the first, but still fascinating nonetheless. While Elizabeth and Will split up and doubt each other’s loyalty, Elizabeth and Jack also experience some [amusing] attraction [wish I’d seen more repartee there], so clearly romantic tension is a theme. Illicit love, though, finds its apex in Davey Jones, who, according to Tia Dalma, cut out his very heart to protect himself from the agony of love.
Well, actually, the personification of the dangers of love appears in the form of the kraken. Look…it’s a huge, sexualized monster. The kraken comes from the sea, which Tia Dalma has already compared to a woman equated with the object of Davey Jones’ affection. By extension, the kraken is sexualized. Plus…look at the kraken’s form. Its tentacles, a bunch of powerful, spongy things that thrust into holes, resemble a bunch of penises. Furthermore the kraken’s mouth [which apparently ejaculates slime onto Jack when he’s confronting it] looks like the Freudian nightmare of the hungry vagina. [Those were some seriously realistic CGI effects!] Finally, the uncontrollable writhing of the kraken seizes people and flings them around, not unlike the experience of a [really violent] orgasm.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, the kraken seems like a pretty good metaphor for what happens when you get obsessed with illicit love. First you get bitchslapped by its power [tentacles/penises], then thrust into its smelly mouth [vagina] and dragged “down to the depths.” The power of illicit sex/love/attraction overwhelms you so that you drown in it [or die]. When you recover slightly, you find yourself changed a la Davey Jones. You become a slimy, cruel creature with unexpected sharp edges [like the hammerhead shark guy] who wanders forever the way the Flying Dutchman roams the sea. You can find no stability or land [Davey Jones can’t set foot on land except every decade] because the power of illicit sex/love/attraction has a hold on you. It dooms you to a cold, wet, empty life.
Perhaps this is what Jack is fighting when he jumps into the kraken’s mouth: his lust for Elizabeth, his lust for Will [hmmm, why the heck would he always be winking and nudging about Will’s dick or eunuch status??], his lust for the engulfing sea and other things that will mess your shit up if you submit to them.
Or maybe not. Just something to think about!
Elizabeth [in drag]: “I’m looking for the man I love.”
Jack: “I’m deeply flattered.”