Anti-Review: Pirates of the Caribbean 5

After seeing “Dead Men Tell No Tales” on the big screen today, I initially planned to write an honest film review, picking apart the 2017 fantasy/action hit. However, in spite of the rushed story-line, occasionally bad acting and over-dramatic special effects, I simply can’t bring myself to properly criticize the fifth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

If you are a late nineties kid like me, you will understand how special these series are. I remember watching “The Curse of the Black Pearl” when it first came out in 2003, and being totally swept into the story-line. As a naive seven-year-old, I remained pretty much oblivious to some key elements of the plot; however, I was old enough to understand how awesome Jack Sparrow was, how Keira Knightly was the perfect combination of badass and beautiful and the pure “epicness” of the main soundtrack (“He’s A Pirate”, or shall I say DUN, DUN, dundundunDUDUN). There’s just something about each and every Pirates of the Caribbean movie that leaves you slightly amazed, emotional and possibly depressed about how boring modern life seems in comparison.

Nonetheless, the series’ popularity is anything but a coincidence. The combination of a captivating story-line, incredible camera shots, stunning special effects and memorable characters all add to the whole brand that is “Pirates of the Caribbean”. When analyzed from a more technical, filmography-based perspective, the series is definitely not perfect; there are several elements which are repetitive, irritating and often confusing. But considering how dear the series is to me, I can’t sit here and pick apart something that I and so many other kids have grown up with.

Seeing Johnny Depp on screen as Jack Sparrow literally makes my day; his trademark half-drunkenness, dry sense of humour and ability to get out of any dilemma relatively unharmed is weirdly motivational. It’s also refreshing to see a more complex protagonist; someone who is not “the good guy”, but not a villain either – just someone who has experienced life. And what made me even happier was seeing Kaya Scodelario play runaway astronomer Carina Smyth, since I grew up watching her as Effie Stonem on “Skins”.

Alongside the majority of other millennials, I have a particular love for “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Not only are the films incredibly captivating, but they are also very comforting and dear for us. In fact, I might just do a movie marathon soon.

3

Let’s Talk About Willpower

Willpower – something that stops us from lying in bed all day with our laptops, right?

It is no secret that the majority of people have certain mandatory responsibilities, whether it be work, university, school, children or even just grocery shopping. It is also no secret that the majority of people tend to feel lazy – some more than others. This is why humans are equipped with this mysterious magic weapon by the name of “willpower”.

Since willpower is intangible, it cannot be observed by the naked eye. Nonetheless, its consequences are always visible; the university student sighs, hits the off button on their alarm clock, gets up, makes coffee, gets into the shower and proceeds to crawl to their morning lecture. Although they don’t always want to hear about Macroeconomics at 9 am, they know it’s mandatory, so they gather all of their remaining willpower and go.

Based on the slightly odd description above, it can be concluded that willpower forces us to do the things we don’t want to do and stops us from doing the things we do want to do (Google seems to agree with me). However, I personally did not require any background analysis to understand the concept since I’ve been in an unstable relationship with my own willpower for the majority of my life.

They say that willpower is like a muscle – it can be trained. At first, it seems strange to refer to something intangible as a “muscle”, but this statement actually makes perfect sense. Let’s think about it; although the majority of people seem to have the basic level of willpower that forces them to complete mandatory tasks (except for that kid who has more fails than passes, or that one friend googling how much strippers make because “I’m done, I just can’t get up for work in the morning!”), there seem to be several levels to  this “invisible muscle”:

1) Willpower Base – forces us to do the most mandatory tasks, such as survival, education, work, looking after our children etc.

2) Trained Willpower – forces us to do the tasks that are not mandatory, but improve quality of life, such as exercising, following a (more or less) healthy diet, maintaining a good social circle, working on self-development through hobbies and interests etc.

3) Higher-Level Willpower – forces us to be in control of our feelings and emotions; gives us the ability to rule our minds by (almost instantly) dismissing negative thoughts and encouraging positive ones, allows us to drastically change what we don’t like about our personalities through repeated mental training.

Now, these three levels shouldn’t be taken as a confirmed theory; these are just my suggestions, and how I visualize the concept. What concerns my position; I suppose I’m still working on the second level. Although the third level is the most challenging, I believe it is easier to successfully transition from the second to the third rather than from the first to the second.

Last night, I decided to do that activity where you write down a list of your problems and then include a rational solution under each one. And you know what? I was somewhat amazed to see that all of my problems could be solved via stronger willpower. Don’t get me wrong; the concept itself isn’t going to eliminate all possible issues in one day, but it is a crucial element to completing the required steps of every solution. Since I don’t want this post to be personal, let’s consider a hypothetical example:

Jane weighs 95 kilograms (not a pseudonym – I’m 55). Although she is pretty heavy, she is not suffering from any health issues and her doctor told her that as long as she doesn’t gain any more weight, it is unlikely that any issues will arise in the near future. Therefore, it is not mandatory for her to lose weight. However, Jane is still unhappy; she feels unconfident in her skin, suffers from fatigue on a daily basis, and finds herself unable to walk up a flight of stairs without losing her breath. Now, if my hypothetical woman only possesses the first level of willpower, she will stay at her current weight, since all of the current problems related to it are not completely detrimental to her existence. However, if Jane masters the second level, it is likely that she will find herself 30 kilograms lighter by this time next year. Why? Because she will use that willpower to improve her diet, take part in regular exercises, make healthier choices and so on.

And you know what the funniest thing is? Getting to the second level isn’t hard. We’ve convinced ourselves into thinking that training our willpower is unpleasant and difficult, but it really shouldn’t be when considered from a step-by-step perspective. Going back to my example, it seems much harder to make lifestyle changes that will allow one to dr

I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty mind-blowing. I mean, think about how many people would achieve their goals via stronger willpower by taking it one step at a time instead of considering them on a grander scale. Doing a bit of extra math every day instead of constantly reminding yourself that you need an A by the end of the semester is more likely to get you that A, because now you are less overwhelmed. Willpower training is just like a good work-out: if you view it as a chore, yet expect outstanding results, you’re not going to get anywhere. I know it sounds cliché, but (for the most part), we are in control of achieving whatever we want; the only thing to remember is that we should learn how to channel our willpower in the right way.

2

A Couple of Words on Words

Although I promised this blog would be less personal, I feel like I have to start with some grand opening. A new blog is like a new year; it brings expectations, inspiration and is always better with a bottle of wine/champagne/cranberry vodka. Since I’m currently on medication (again), the last one is off limits. However, I’m still going to give my new project the flashy opening it deserves.

Many people don’t understand the purpose of blog – especially if it’s not monetized (but hey, who knows what the future holds). I mean, what’s the point of just writing about things? After all, there are professional writers and journalists out there who hold the responsibility of transferring information via words and obtaining a significant sum of money in return. For some bloggers, writing is a fun hobby on the side, but for me – it’s a necessity.

For me, it’s not just about blogging, but about writing in general. Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved to both read things and create things to be read. I’m not talking about teenage years, oh no. When I say “ever since I can remember”, I literally mean ever since I can remember – probably around eight or nine. As I got older, I began to read more “serious” books, keep proper journals instead of random tiny notebooks and even start random blogs from time to time. I also began to put extra effort into all of my essays simply because it was fun for me.

Two years ago, when I turned eighteen, I decided to open a WordPress blog. This time I didn’t get tired of it, and wrote regular posts for nearly two years. Someday I might link it here if I feel like sharing all of that personal content. During this time, I also started to make money by establishing myself as a freelance writer, taking on a wide range of orders; from essays, to product descriptions, to marketing texts and scripts for start-ups. Not only was I receiving cash for it, but I was genuinely enjoying the writing process.

Fast forward to now, when I’m at the somewhat unstable and chaotic age of twenty. I say unstable because at this age – at least for the majority – people are often confused. My head is constantly filled with questions, such as

  • What do I want to be when I graduate university next year?
  • Do I want a gap year or go straight to masters?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • What internship do I want?
  • What kind of people do I want to be friends with?
  • What qualities do I want in a partner?
  • Do I even want a partner?
  • What if I don’t want to date anyone but being single is boring?
  • Should I just marry a millionaire?
  • Billionaire?
  • What gym do I want to go to?
  • Should I fix my guitar or am I not interested in playing anymore?
  • How can I make more money with minimal effort?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Are tomatoes a vegetable or a fruit?

In spite of so much indecisiveness, the thing that has solidly remained with my throughout these years is my love for writing. It calms me down, gives me a purpose and even allows me to educate others from time to time. Writing is fun too, and you learn a lot about yourself based on the topics you decide to write about. Looking back on my old journal entries and even my own blog posts, I can see what things have changed and what has stayed the same. Overall, writing is great, and I can’t imagine ever not doing it in one form or another. That’s probably why I’m sat here, typing the second post of my second blog, wondering how many more things like this I’m going to do in my life.

1

Switching Up My Game

Unlike many other seemingly “beginner” blogs, this blog is actually not my first one. Moreover, this is not my first experience with WordPress.

Prior to this, I had been actively running a more personally-oriented blog for a total of one year and nine months – just about enough time to have a child and raise it to the stage of development where it is capable of trashing the whole house. By the way, this was a theoretical scenario; as much as I love to dote over little children, I don’t plan on dropping everything to have a kid at twenty years young. Alright, let’s not get sidetracked.

As I mentioned, I had a “baby blog” before this one (apologies for all the random maternal references), but it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very proud of every single one of my posts, and very appreciative of all my followers. However, I think it’s time to move on to something more serious than just random ramblings on the topic of my life, feelings, internal monologues etc. I have this persistent urge to discuss more than just the occurrences in my daily life; after all, one of the biggest human errors is forgetting that there is a world outside of one’s little bubble, and I want to work on that.

So, what is this blog going to be about? Since I hate categorizing, and am not too particularly fond of planning things that are difficult to plan, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Right now, I envision a wide range of posts covering world events, society, culture, philosophy, psychology, entertainment, literature and my own take on the complicated mess we refer to as the Modern Civilization. Although I’m not too certain on the direction this blog will take, I know one thing for sure; if you stick with me, I guarantee that you will not regret that fateful moment you decided to click “follow”. See you soon.