On Stranger Tides
Philip and Syrena
The movie clip you are about to see is, in many ways, the best one in the whole movie: Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides. Of course, there are Johnny Depp’s swashbuckling antics, the special effects, etc. but if you have even one romantic bone in your body, this scene is the one to remember.
For those who have not seen the movie or have forgotten most of it, here are the main points leading up to this scene:
Captain Sack Sparrow accompanies Blackbeard – a distant relative of mine – on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth.
In order for the fountain to work its magic, they must procure the tears of a mermaid. In this story, the mermaids are nasty pieces of work and obtaining the tears of one is nigh on impossible. All the pirates need to do is capture a mermaid; easier said than done.
During the battle to capture the aforementioned mermaid, Phillip – a man of God – is almost killed by falling debris. He is pulled from harm’s way by a mermaid, later known as Syrena. She, herself is trapped by the same falling debris. Philip captures her and voila, they have their mermaid.
As the movie progresses, Philip comes to see Syrena as one of God’s magnificent creatures and enables her to escape from a slow and horrifying death. In the subsequent melee, Philip is gravely injured and returns to the pool where he saved Syrena in order to wash his wounds.
It is mentioned during the course of the movie that a mermaid’s kiss can save a man from drowning. Syrena appears in the pool, and sorrowing over her hero’s wounds, tells Philip she can save him if he would only ask her. Philip replies that in a way he has already been saved. He mentions that he seeks only one thing; forgiveness for the harm he has caused her.
Syrena whispers one word: “Ask”. Philip leans over the pool and asks her to forgive him. That is apparently good enough for her and now comes that powerful moment when Syrena reaches up to kiss Philip and pull him under the water.
Love has bridged the gulf between them and Syrena accepts Philip as her own.
What does On Stranger Tides have to do with Urban Mermaid?
In actuality, Philip and Syrena save each other. The same thing happens with Peter and Penelope. Peter’s unwitting intervention stops Penelope from doing herself in. She doesn’t realise it at the time, but Penelope has found what she had longed for: Someone to love her and be loved by her.
Peter’s salvation is nowhere near as obvious as Philip’s, but it happens, nonetheless. Peter has resigned himself to a life of loneliness but instead, receives the things he has sorely missed: To be wanted. To be needed. To be desired. To be loved.
There is a nod to On Stranger Tides in the proposal scene contained in Chapter 9 of Urban Mermaid. Penelope tells Peter that neither a snorkel, nor scuba gear nor a mermaid’s kiss will help them out of their present situation.
Notes about the two versions of the movie clip:
Both versions were gleaned from YouTube. The video in the first clip is brighter than the second but it contains (non-English) subtitles. Some folks may find this annoying. The second clip does not have the subtitles but it is not as bright as the first. The only place this becomes a problem is in the final shot where Syrena swims off into the ocean with Philip in her arms. It is so dark you can barely tell what is happening.