2012 Movie Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits

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Finally got around to seeing this one. I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of Aardman animation before, because I never thought they were that funny. Well, now that The Pirates! Band Of Misfits has been nominated for Best Animated Feature, I said ‘what the heck’ and ordered it from my local library. Does it deserve getting the nomination instead of Rise Of The Guardians? No, but it’s still fun to watch.

The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) has gotten a reputation as the world’s worst pirate. Apparently, Jack Sparrow doesn’t exist in this world. On his way to earn the Pirate Of The Year Award, he comes across scientist Charles Darwin, (David Tennant) who reveals that the ship’s beloved parrot, Polly, is in fact the long-thought-to-be-extinct dodo. Claiming he can bring about many riches, Darwin invites the Pirate Captain to present the bird to Queen Victoria. (Imelda Staunton) And the rest is just a bunch of jokes.

Going into this film, I was surprised by how many times I found myself laughing. The jokes range from chuckle to laugh out loud, but almost all of them hit bullseye. I also have to mention the animation. You can clearly see that the filmmakers put a lot of effort into the vast sets, even if they only appear in the movie for a few minutes. The stop motion allows for a lot of great comedy, and I can see why Aardman has gotten the reputation that it has.

But with that said, the plot is relatively lacking.  It’s interesting at first, but as the film goes on, they throw a bunch of wacky loopholes your way, praying you won’t find them. The third act in particular jumps the shark several times, and I find that the Pirate Captain is a bit of a bore. The remainder of the cast is hilarious. Particularly Imelda Staunton as the Queen. But sometimes, I find that the cast isn’t being used to their fullest potential. See the cross-dresser on the far right of the picture? I kept waiting for the scene where she would be revealed, but it never happened. I guess they’re saving it for the sequel, if any.

Overall, The Pirates! Band Of Misfits is a fun and funny film that you might enjoy, particularly if you’re either an Aardman fan or a pirate fan. It’s just one of those movies that will keep you entertained just long enough.

***1/2

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