Monday, July 18, 2011

Pirates of the Water Gardens

Last Friday, The Knight and I went to the movies. But while the rest of the world was clamoring for tickets to see the latest/final Harry Potter movie, we chose instead to see the last “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, “On Stranger Tides.” We decided that our chances of getting tickets to Harry Potter were probably bleak, at best, so we didn’t even try.

As it turned out, it was a little tricky getting tickets to “Pirates,” as well. Only one theater in the area, “Water Gardens” in Pleasant Grove, was still having regular showings; while a second theater was having only one showing of “Pirates” per day, at 9:30 at night.

So, we took in the 1:10 p.m. “Pirates” at the “Water Gardens.” This was our first experience with the “Water Gardens.” This is an older theater. No stadium seating. No decorative light sconces on the walls. No lights whatsoever, actually. No curtains. No cup holders. No high-backed, cushy rocking chairs. No water gardens either.

But they did boast “reserved seating.” You actually select your seats from a chart. And the tickets were only $3.00. The advantage/disadvantage of no lights in the theater is that you could not see how clean (or not clean) the place was, or what you might be sitting in/on. Or who or what you might be sitting next to.

We noticed while we were in the ticket line that there were a great number of children of all ages – whole families, apparently – who were soon to join us in the darkened theater. Once the movie was under way, my attention was drawn to the voice seated behind me. I guessed him to be between 5 and 8 years of age. He was speaking to his little brother who was maybe 3-4 years old.  “Don’t look,” he was advising his little brother, “it might scare you!” Similar brotherly comments continually tutored the little brother throughout the movie. I was not bothered or annoyed with the comments. I found them charming and comforting to me as well.

So, why were each of us adults there watching Johnny Depp playing pirates? Was it because we feel nostalgic about when we played pirates when we were kids? Does it remind us of the time we made wooden lath “swords” crudely nailed together to brandish in play-acted sword fights and got splinters in our hands? Do we recall with childlike joy how we cobbled together some kind of “treasure chest” to bury and find again with a treasure map? If nostalgia was our motivation, did watching “On Stranger Tides” help us relive our childhood innocence?

I suppose some movie-goers were there just to watch Johnny Depp swagger, flash his gold teeth, slur his words, out-smart everyone, and somehow manage to not get his eye makeup rubbed off, nor to ever need a change of clothing. (Harry Potter is not the only screen character capable of magic.)

Two-plus hours later, I stumbled out of the theater into the blazing sunlight of a glorious summer day with the movie’s soundtrack adventure theme solidly imprinted in my mind and ears. As I passed by one wench … er… woman … who had just watched the same movie, I heard her loudly saying to another wench ... er ... woman that she would see her at the Temple at 6 p.m. that evening for Ward Temple Night.

I am inadequate in expressing how incongruous the concept of the Temple juxtaposed with the environment and context of the pirate movie seemed to my mind. It was highly disturbing to me, in fact. We had just attended the Temple 24 hours earlier. My memories of the up-lifting and enlightening peace and joy of the Temple were still fresh in my mind. And now, 24 hours later, here I was staggering out of a dark theater imbued with visions of violence and suggestions of debauchery. I felt somewhat tarnished   as if I were stumbling out of a tavern after having imbibed for two-plus hours.

The contrasts of the Temple vs. the Theater were stark. Similar stark contrasts were what Moses experienced after having talked with God face to face and then having a frightening and dark encounter with Satan. “Where is thy glory?” Moses asked Satan who was professing to be God. Where was the deep joy/satisfaction I was hoping to find in watching a pirate movie?

On the positive side, there was a positive note mixed in with all the sword play and Johnny Depp nonsense. The real hero in the movie was the Missionary who saved the Mermaid’s life, and then she saved him. Bravo to the Missionary! Bravo to real heroes everywhere!