AT WORLD’S END: Compassion and the Bondservant | FCC 147

In PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) shows compassion in his actions, and Bootstraps Bill (played by Stellan Skarsgard) becomes a bondservant to his son Will Turner (played by Orlando Bloom). Join us as we discuss these Christian themes and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap 
  • 00:06:40 – Movie Discussion
  • 00:27:58 – Listener Feedback
  • 00:34:10 – Christian Themes in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END

Key Texts for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Let these passages be your guide as you watch PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END with your fellow rapscallions and beloved sea-dwellers.

1 John 3:11,18 NLT

This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another. Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

I Corinthians 9:19 NASB

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.

People Aren’t Cargo, Mate: Jack Sparrow and Compassion

Jack Sparrow’s history with the East India Trading Company is an extensive one. In The Curse of the Black Pearlwe see the branding on his arm. In Dead Man’s Chestwe meet Lord Cutler Beckett. In this film (and with a little digging in the Disney wiki), we see how it all connects in Jack’s backstory. Most importantly, though, we see how Jack bases his decisions on compassion.

Long ago, Jack was the captain of a ship named the Wicked Wench. This vessel was a rum-runner for the East India Trading Company. Being a rum-lover himself, Jack had no problem spreading the love. When Lord Beckett became Jack’s boss, though, he wanted Jack to transport something a little more precious than rum: slaves. Jack, however, could not bring himself to do it. He liberated the slaves because he felt compassion for them.

This image from FCC - PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN AT WORLDS END shows Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow.

When Beckett found out, he punished Jack by burning the ship. Jack, still wanting his freedom, then made a deal with Davy Jones: thirteen more years as captain of the Wicked Wench in exchange for 100 years under the mast of the Flying Dutchman. Davy accepts the offer and brings back the ship, only it is charred black from Beckett’s burning it. With its new color in mind, Jack rechristened the ship into its more familiar moniker: the Black Pearl.

Sometimes, it takes some digging in the mud to find the real treasure. Why the editors of the films let this scene (and the whole of Jack’s backstory, really) die on the cutting room floor, we’ll never know. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: knowing this apocalyptic information about Jack helps us more clearly understand his wily and witty ways. What’s most poignant for Christians, though, is that Jack makes his decisions based on compassion – something anyone who bears the name of Christ should strive to do.

Aye, Captain Turner: Bootstraps Bill the Bondservant

The Flying Dutchman must always have a captain. That captain has one job: ferry the souls of the deceased from the world of the living to the world of the dead. The captain must commit to his job, and as a reward, for one day every ten years, he is allowed to come ashore. Davy Jones has been that captain for the longest time, but he neglected his duties and was punished accordingly (i.e. his half-human/half-sea creature visage).

The captain of the Flying Dutchman isn’t the only one who shares its curse. “Bootstraps” Bill Turner and the entirety of the crew also share in this bondage. Bill’s curse is even more ominous: he is doomed to spend eternity on the ship. His son Will Turner has other plans.

This image from FCC - PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN AT WORLDS END shows Orlando Bloom as Will Turner and Stellan Skarsgard as Bootstraps Bill.

With Jack’s help, Will stabs the heart of Davy Jones and becomes the captain. Jones is lost in the maelstrom, and Will is left with the Flying Dutchman. Automatically, though, things start changing for the better. Most notably, the crews’ thalassophobic features fall away, revealing the human likenesses they’ve always had hidden under the shells and barnacles.

Will fulfilled his promise to his father, but now Bootstraps has another debt he owes to his son. This debt isn’t incurred via force by Will but is, instead, an offering of committed service via gratitude from Bootstraps. Bill loves his son so much that he wants to commit himself to an eternity of service. In Bible times, that’s called being a bondservant – someone who willingly commits their life to serving another – and it’s how we’re called to respond to Christ.

Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a good way to use stories to soften peoples' hearts. Find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever.
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