Making the Grades
"Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it," says the old adage. And those wise words are exceptionally true for Jimmy Warren (Charles Herbert), a sullen child who would rather be a pirate sailing the seven seas than stuck at home doing school work and chores. But he realizes the folly of his fancy when a genie in a bottle actually fulfills his request.
Magically appearing on board the Queen Ann's Revenge some two hundred years in the past, the young boy quickly attracts the attention of the vessel's captain Blackbeard (Murvyn Vye). Accused of being a stow-away, he is given the choice of walking the plank or swabbing the deck. Suddenly life as a cabin boy doesn't seem all that different than life in 1960s suburbia--except back in Massachusetts he wasn't subject to death threats.
He has another problem too. It seems the ever-so-congenial genie (Joseph Turkel) that granted his petition really had ulterior motives for being so benevolent. Trapped within his bottle for the last 2000 years, the miniature man knows the only permanent way out is to have someone else take his place. As few are likely to volunteer for such a trade, he cunningly blackmails Jimmy into the position by bestowing the wish. Now, the only way the unwilling victim can back out of the deal is by returning the genie and his bottle to the exact place they were found, within the next three days. This may prove difficult however, as the pirate ship is at full sail and headed in the opposite direction.
While Jimmy tries to formulate a plan to get the rum soaked, trigger happy Captain to make the necessary course correction, he is also caught in the current of the buccaneers regular attacks on other seafaring travelers, and witnesses sword fights, cannon fire, pistol shots, murders, and plundering. Among the stolen cargo is a female hostage about his age. After befriending the blonde girl (Susan Gordon), she becomes his accomplice in the attempt to turn the boat back towards their home shore.
Although the pirating activities are never gory, they are plentiful, with several on screen killings. The script does endeavor to lighten the mood by throwing in some humorous confusion over modern day inventions (such as matches and bubble gum), and creating a hero out of one of the crewmembers (Paul Guilfoyle). Nevertheless, just as Jimmy discovered, youngsters hungering for this kind of action may find they lose their appetite once a feast of fighting is placed before them.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Boy and the Pirates.
The character of Blackbeard portrayed in this film is based on a real pirate. You can learn all about the scurvy scallywag at this webpage: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pirates/bbeard.html