The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a truly horrific name for a truly clever, enjoyable, stop-motion animation film by the makers of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. Here’s a preview.
And now the deets:
Released April 27, 2012
Written by Gideon Defoe
Directed by Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt
Starring Salma Hayek, Hugh Grant, Imelda Staunton, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Ashley Jensen, Anton Yelchin, Brendan Gleeson, Brian Blessed, and Al Roker
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Pirate Captain (Grant), yes that’s his name, is a bit of a bumbler, but he loves being a pirate and wants to win Pirate of the Year by beating out his rivals Cutlass Liz (Hayek) and Black Bellamy (Piven). To win the trophy, he has to collect more booty than the other pirates. He has a group of faithful pirates, led by Number 2 (Freeman), and joined by the Albino Pirate (Yelchin), the Pirate with Gout (Gleeson), the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (Jensen) and others. Pirate Captain tries to do pirate stuff and ends up a total failure, taking captive a scientist named Charles Darwin (Tennant) who realizes that the pirate crew’s beloved fat parrot is actually a Dodo bird.
Now a new plan is… er… hatched to win Scientist of the Year for the Dodo discovery and use the promised huge prize to win Pirate of the Year. This takes our heroes to London and multiple confrontations with Queen Victoria (Staunton).
All of this leads to a final slapstick-filled confrontation with all of the world’s major leaders and some heartwarming lessons about loyalty and honesty.
With a fairly solid plot, consistently detailed and dynamic animation, and excellent voice acting, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is an entertaining flick. There’s plenty of slapstick humor to keep the kids laughing, but there’s also some more subtle humor that fans of dry, random British humor like Monty Python will really enjoy. The opening scene is one of these.
I found that the the movie dragged a bit at times, but was enjoyable enough, as long as you don’t stop and think about it too much.
Content warnings: slapstick violence and a ghoulishly angry queen
Writing: 3.5 Acting: 4.5 Overall: 4
It’s not pirating if you share this with your friends and enemies, so you’d better do so or I’ll make you walk a virtual plank. Which really isn’t all that bad.
For your convenience, here’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits on Rotten Tomatoes.