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The Pirates! Band of Misfits

April 27, 2012

Pirate Captain: Fire all things that go bang!

In my humble opinion, claymation is the best form of animation. The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a mixed bag. I found a good amount of the film to be charming, witty, and incredibly funny. However, there is a reasonable amount of hit-miss comedy included. What elevates the film is the stellar voice cast boasting the likes of Brendan Gleeson, David Tennant, and Salma Hayek – but the real standout here is Hugh Grant as The Pirate Captain. Another wonderful aspect is the superb claymation animation, which never ceases to amaze me. Even though The Pirates! did not totally satisfy me, I can confidently say that it was a nice little film, which will satisfy kids and adults alike.

Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) has never won the annual Pirate of the Year award. This year, however, is his time to shine (or so he says). Most of the other Pirate organizations take his crew as a big joke. At this point, Pirate Captain is so selfish and fed up with people not taking him seriously that he enters himself in the Pirate of the Year award ceremony. As expected, nobody thinks he has the balls to be the best Pirate in town. Astonished, Pirate Captain decides to take his crew on their most dastardly mission yet: an adventure with scientists. He travels to another land which is ruled by Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton).

Aside from the god-awful Corpse Bride, I’ve never disliked claymation. It’s a unique tool that is mostly used for fantastic entertainment purposes as long as we have two very talented directors: Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit). As far as I’m concerned, nobody does claymation better than these two. Throughout the film, colors are radiant and eye-catching, with an array of fun sequences taking advantage of this wonderful form of art.

With all that said, this movie is not perfect. I did find quite a few problems here, starting with some pacing issues. After a terrific first half, the film becomes kind of iffy throughout the second half, with a bunch of issues including Pirate Captain’s feeble attempts at becoming a pirate and a very unfunny montage showing it. While it does not sound like much, it’s a big deal coming from a critical standpoint. 

Fun, flawed, and fast – The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a reasonably fun time sure to please any audience.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits: 3 out of 5

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