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Film Review : Pirates! Band of Misfits

04/29/2012 04:28AM ● Published by Justin Buettner

Aardman Animation studios, the creators of such hits such as Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Arthur Christmas, turns their attention to Pirates in their newest film. The Pirates! Band of Misfits follows a bumbling bearded pirate captain comically named Pirate Captain. He and his rag tag crew go on a quest for booty in a laughable attempt to win the coveted pirate of the year award. The pirate crew cross paths with Charles Darwin whom discovers that Pirate Captain’s bird is not a parrot but the last remaining Dodo bird which leads them to London to win a science discovery award.  While there the pirate hating Queen Victoria attempts to steal Pirate Captain’s dodo bird for her own collection. Will Pirate Captain and his crew be able to save their beloved bird and win their pirate of the year award while avoiding Queen Victoria’s grasp?

The comic sensibilities of Aardman Studios always tends to be a little more adult than the more popular animated made by Disney and Dreamworks and Pirates! Band of Misfits is no different. This is not to say that children will not enjoy this zany adventure film, but much of the quick witted humor is not disguised in cheap pop culture references but in historical references instead.

Hugh Grant was an excellent choice as Pirate Captain. He injects a bountiful amount of enthusiasm to the character and makes it easy to see why the band of terrible pirates march to his orders. The supporting cast was comprised by a wonderful group of character actors that each had their moments to shine.

If I had one major complaint with the film, it would be there was not enough “pirating” by the main pirate crew. I wanted a bigger adventure and more sword fights. Perhaps I was spoiled by the original Pirates of the Caribbean (I was not a fan of any of the sequels), but I wanted there to be more pirate action. Most of the action in the film consists of chase scenes. The lone swordfight is featured at the end of the film, but that was more martial arts than swashbuckling.

Peter Lord, the director, has a great sense of tongue in cheek comic timing. He knows how to create very funny moments in the dialogue that if you are not paying attention you will miss the wit. Even though they play for comedy, the characters in Peter Lord’s movies always have a lot of heart and personality which always gives his movies an endearing quality to them.

Pirates! Band of Misfits is not quite as good as some of the studios best, but it is still a fun escape into the pirating world. The kids will like the energy, the parents will get a kick out of the use of historical references and it’s clever play on words and there is no missing its creative enthusiasm that the filmmakers put on display. Like Pixar movies, Aardman Studios is consistent in its ability to make quality entertainment the whole family will enjoy, and Pirates! Band of Misfits easily fits with that.

Films like Pirates! Band of Misfits : Arthur Christmas, Chicken Run, and Wallace and Gromit : The Curse of the Were-Rabbit


Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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