Hi, Bryan Here….
Aardman Studios proves once again that it can turn out a very charming and hilariously funny film that is fun for all ages. The claymation is top-notch and mixed with that famous dry humor we have come to love from Peter Lord and his creations. In the likes of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, Peter Lord’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a great and pleasurable adventure.
We follow Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) who’s number one priority is to be named Pirate of the Year at the Pirate Awards. This is a difficult task for Pirate Captain since he’s so likable. He’s even ranked the lowest on the most wanted list, with a reward for his capture being only a few dollars plus a free pen. Pirate Captain has a true band of misfits for a crew–including an albino, a female dressed like a male pirate, a gout-ridden pirate, and the pirate who is known only as “the pirate with the scarf” and is second in command to Pirate Captain. When I saw all of them on screen, I knew I was in for a fun ride.
The main enemy in the film is Queen Victoria who has a vicious hatred for Pirates. If she sees a Pirate, she will immediately kill them or imprison them forever. Meanwhile, Charles Darwin has set sail on the high sea when his ship is attacked by Captain Pirate and his band of misfits. In the midst of looting the ship, Darwin notices that Captain Pirate’s shoulder “parrot” is not actually a parrot at all, but a very rare specimen of bird. The last living dodo.
Darwin convinces Captain Pirate to enter the bird in a scientific contest for best new discoveries. The prize, he promises, will be well worth Captain Pirate’s efforts. So they all set sail to the science tournament. Unfortunately while they are at the tournament, Queen Victoria arrives. The pirates must disguise themselves as doctors and scientists to avoid capture. Things make a turn for the worst, and Queen Victoria discovers Captain Pirate’s identity. They barely escape. Queen Victoria tells Darwin to track down the rare bird for her and steal it. Darwin steals the bird and brings it to Queen Victoria with Captain Pirate in hot pursuit behind them. The Queen disregards Darwin altogether and offers Captain Pirate a very large sum of money for the bird. Captain Pirate accepts the deal and is pardoned by the Queen. When his band of misfits ask about the bird, he lies and tells them he’s hiding the bird in his beard for safety.
Now that Pirate Captain is the richest pirate in the land, he sets out for the Pirate Awards and wins Pirate of the Year. But the award is short lived as everybody finds out he was pardoned by the Queen and is no longer wanted by the authorities. He is stripped of his award, pirate’s license, and dignity. His band of misfits abandon him too when they learn he sold their precious pet bird. Alone and drowned in self pity, Captain Pirate decides to sell baby clothes. He runs across Darwin again and is told that Queen Victoria intends to bring the pet dodo bird to a secret dinner club where kings and queens from other lands come together and feast upon the rarest of animals. Now, it’s up to Captain Pirate to rally his band of misfits and rescue their beloved bird. They have to break into a seemingly impenetrable royal ship undetected and save the bird…oh yes, and steal all of the Queen’s possessions while they are at it. Perhaps this plan has just enough danger and deceit to warrant that Pirate of the Year award back.
I loved the pacing of this film. It never slowed down or got off track. It was funny, easy going, and very entertaining. The voice acting was great too. Hugh Grant lent a surprisingly animated voice to Captain Pirate. The voice inflections didn’t even sound like Grant, deviating from the slower, more tortured tone used in his romantic comedies. David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Martin Freeman, and Imelda Staunton were all a pleasure to listen to as well. They really brought their characters to life. There is even an original new Flight of the Conchords song in the movie. Flight of the Conchords won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Song (Muppet of a Man from the Muppets Movie), and this song in Pirates: Band of Misfits is just as good. Maybe they’ll win two years in a row. The song will have you in stitches.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a movie you can easily love. The characters are fun, the animation is that classic Aardman studios animation, and there is a treasure trove of laughs. If you want to see something lighthearted and easy going this weekend, then you should definitely see The Pirates! Band of Misfits. It is a fun time for the whole family.