I just posted this in a comments thread on Merlin's blog, and rather impressed myself with a few of my thoughts, so thought I'd pop it in here and see what anyone else thinks. The discussion, amongst other things, was about the plot of the 2nd Pirates of the Caribbean, and also the fact that lots of people (Merlin and I especially) are reading lots of things into the themes of the film, and whether or not that's a good thing to do...
Firstly, I think all the talk about DMC having no plot, or an unclear plot, is just silly. Yes, it's a meandering plot that takes a little concentration. But hey, life is a meandering plot. I love the plot of DMC, I did the first time I saw it. But then, that kind fo plot where you really don't know the full story until the very end is my favourite kind. (or in other words, what Merlin said - a movie you have to watch several times and think about backwards - I still think it's extremely enjoyable the right way round and the first time, but you get more levels out of it when you know their direction). Some people don't like it, they think you should always be able to know what's happening or where everyone's going. Fair enough, nobody has to like the same thing, but that doesn't mean it's *bad* or *wrong*.
The ending I especially loved. It surprised me and thrilled me. I was absolutely beside myself during the last few scenes with anticipation, and I just about jumped out of my seat with joy when Barbossa came into view down those stairs.
So yeah, I totally don't get what people are complaining about. But maybe that's just me.
As far as authorial intent and whether or not there are valid allegories etc...Let's remember that films, plays, novels are *entertainment*. I don't say that in a light way, I believe entertainment is an extremely valuable commodity and very much worth pursuing (otherwise why would I be striving to make it my life's work). But the point is, when someone writes a novel or performs a play or creates a film - it's purpose is to go out into the ether nand find it's place in everyone else's eyes and ears. To dig a little bit into people's imaginations and be enjoyed, studied, challenged and expanded by the thought processes of the reader/audience.
Anyone who creates an artwork knows that nobody will look at their artwork and see exactly the same thing they see themselves. Some people will see less than what the creator put in, some people will see more, some people will see something quite different altogether. That's the beauty of art, it allows us to use our imaginations and join in with the creator on an exploration of some idea or thought or image. Whatever you see in a particular work, whatever strikes you abotu it and means something to you, is valid and exciting. Whether anyone else sees the same thing is beside the point.
If artists were really concerned about their art being "interpreted" "wrongly", they woudl keep their art at home for themselves.
Along those lines, saying that it's okay to find depth and imagery in Tolkein or Lewis, but not in a modern film, strikes me as rather high-brow. That's just saying that certain forms of art have more merit and skill than others, which isn't true. Tolkein himself, I think, shunned ideas of his works having allegorical meanings, and yet that never stopped anyone finding those meanings and findign great joy in the study of them.
Merlin's points about Pirates having rich textual traditions is great, but I personally don't mind if a piece has a great "ancestry" or not, I love what I see for what I see. To me, a completely new story can be just as rich as an old one (mind you, pretty much all stories are influenced by old ones, somaybe what I mean is that *undefinable* ancestry is, to me, just as valid as a definite textual tradition).
The only difference, if you're talking classics like Tolkein vs new writers like Ted/Terry etc, is that film is visual rather than written, and a film has more than one author or creator. I don't think we're giving Ted/Terry/Gore/Johnny more "credit than they deserve", I think we're just exploring ideas and remarking on the cleverness of those who initiated those ideas.