The Pirates! Band of Misfits

The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) – yes, that’s his name – leads his ragtag crew of pirates plundering through the high seas. And now, it’s more important than ever to be a successful pirate. The Pirate King’s (Brian Blessed) Pirate of the Year Award is going to be awarded soon. After not winning for the last 20 years, Pirate Captain is sure this is his year. He’ll be up against such pirate powerhouses as Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven), Cutlass Liz (Selma Hayek), and Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry). The one problem: Pirate Captain does more blundering than plundering.

During one of his many unsuccessful raids, Pirate Captain happens upon a boat carrying Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Charles is working on his scientific discoveries, all while pining for the pirate-hating Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton). (Queen Victoria vows to put to death any pirate she can get her hands on.) Charles wants desperately to find a way to be with her. Almost more than he cares about any of his work.

When Charles realizes Pirate Captain’s “parrot,” Polly, is actually a dodo (which have been extinct for 150 years), he hatches a plan for both of them to attain their goals. A science show, where Charles will present Polly to the world. He will win Scientist of the Year, garnering the attention of the queen, and Pirate Captain will get the plentiful booty that comes with the prize.

Only, nefarious works abound while in London. Works which put everyone in peril, while at the same time allowing everyone to achieve their goals. But at what cost?

The Pirates! Band of Misfits is from the people who brought you Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. It is the same type of claymation you see in those films. Meaning that it is well done, animation-wise. The quality of work, and all the details in the film are amazing.

The story is not a bad one. It’s a classic tale of “what would you do to achieve your dreams” combined with the alienation and self-redemption motifs that seem to always accompany it. Even at its 88 minute run time, I did find myself a bit bored at times. Sure, it had its share of funny parts. Pirate Captain’s exploits, and costume changes, provided entertainment. But I think it was Darwin’s monkey who, fittingly, provided the most intellectual humor, with his notecards.

Overall, it’s an ok movie. Not great for younger kids, as it gets a little dark at times. But fun for the ones who are a touch older. I’m talking probably 8-10. I don’t highly recommend it. But it’s not bad. I do, however, recommend that if you are going to see it, go to the theater and see it in 3D. I’m a sucker for well done 3D. And this one doesn’t disappoint in that realm.

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