Capsule Movie Review – The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
A new film by Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run) sells itself to their many fans. For The Pirates! Band of Misfits, based on a children’s book series, they bring their signature stop-motion claymation to a jolly tale of adventure on the high seas. The visuals are as delightful as ever and the characters as sweetly lovable. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Gromit could talk, then this is your movie; there’s a strong and distinct temperamental likeness between Pirate Captain and his loyal first mate and Wallace and his trusty pal. Hugh Grant reveals a hidden talent for voice work as the captain. Martin Freeman as the mate, Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria, and David Tennant as Charles Darwin round out the principal cast- with the cheeky comedic invention of the movie’s Victoria and Charles a big part of the fun. (Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Lenny Henry, Brendan Gleeson, and Brian Blessed are funny in colorful bit parts.) Atypically for the studio, the script is peppered with contemporary pop culture references. While it doesn’t have the timeless quality of other Aardman works, it’s a winning romp nonetheless.
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: My favorite scene was the captain on stage at the science competition. For a bunch of pirates they sure spend a lot of time on land.