If there’s one thing that the United States was founded on, it would be mutiny. Of course, that’s just if you ask the British. Still, mutiny is a strange form of democracy that usually only arises in times of tyranny. And while mutiny doesn’t necessarily restrict itself to the high seas, that is often where it is seen. When one finds themselves in the middle of a vast expanse of water, there is a certain courage to stand up against injustice. Yet, often the “majority rules” of a mutiny are based in greed. If you want something, just take it: and that applies to positions of power as well. If there’s one thing that mutiny does well, it’s cut through the red tape and break through the glass ceilings holding you back from your next promotion. Of course, I don’t condone mutiny, but it’s merely an interesting concept to think about. This week’s two films deal with crews that banded together to lead mutinies against their captains.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Length: 144 minutes / 2.4 hours
What are some of the leading causes of death as a pirate? Scurvy: Yes. Wounds: Yep. Infections from wounds: Sure. Greed: Absolutely. The problem with finding a treasure, let alone finding a treasure with a lot of other people, is that you’ll either have to share it or keep it a secret (both of which are somewhat difficult to do as a pirate). At any rate, one would have to watch their back with that much booty to their name, as it would make them an easy target to enhance someone else’s livelihood, thus continuing the cycle. Then again, what if you couldn’t die? What if your greed caused you to become death itself, wandering the world until you’ve satiated your every desire? Would overthrowing your captain for that greed be worth it? Would you ever regret the mutiny?
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is a pirate captain without a ship or a crew. How can he still call himself “captain”, then? Well, his former crew ran off with his former ship to go after a treasure hidden on an island. Unfortunately, they soon find out that this treasure is cursed. So, while Captain Sparrow is trying to find his ship after being left for dead on a deserted island, his crew is trying to find the progeny of a former crewmate. Turns out that they need the blood of the man they had already killed in order to lift the curse. But, what luck! Jack has managed to escape a hanging and has started to gather a crew to take back The Black Pearl (his ship), which just so happens to include the man that his former crew is looking for. What will happen when their paths (and swords) finally cross?
Mutiny on the Bounty
Rating: Not Rated
Length: 132 minutes / 2.2 hours
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
is the cry of Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in the 1976 film, Network. Howard is fed up with the system and through this dramatic line gets a country to rally around him. The same line could be applied to the Oscar-winning (Best Picture) 1935 classic, Mutiny on the Bounty. Often, a mutiny is performed by a crew when they are persecuted, harassed, and generally not given nearly ideal working conditions. Eventually, after many days at sea, everyone gets sick and tired of their poor treatment and they decide to do something about it. What makes Mutiny on the Bounty truly interesting is that it is based on true events. Now, granted, it’s based on a book that is based on true events, but most agree that this is the best film adaptation of what went on in the Pacific Ocean on this fateful ship.
Who wouldn’t want to sail to Tahiti? Furthermore, who wouldn’t want to sail to Tahiti for work-related purposes? Of course, this is assuming that your captain treats you with any amount of respect. When the crew of the Bounty set out from England to head to the Pacific Ocean, they already knew they had a long journey ahead of them. Unfortunately, Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) is a bit of a masochist, at least when it comes to enforcing the rules on his ship. And while his thought is that a ship of discipline works more efficiently, once they get to Tahiti, most of the crew has had enough. Having spent some time on the island, many of the men grow fond of the native women, providing a stark contrast to their life on the ship. On their return to England, the crew overthrows Captain Bligh through the leadership of Christian (Clark Gable), and they all return to Tahiti to take a much deserved vacation.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 mutinous movies