The Pirates! Band of Misfits
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Pirate adventure blends Victorian history, high-seas fun.
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Tomatometer®reviews counted: 20see all The Pirates! Band of Misfits reviews
Top Critic Reviews
Fresh: Pirates are right up there with vampires, werewolves and people saying "LOL" out loud on the list of Played-Out Pop Culture Phenomena, but leave it to Aardman Animation to find the remaining reservoirs of fun in a bunch of seafaring scalawags.
- Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, Friday, April 27, 2012
Fresh: That the film happens to be in 3-D, with digitized settings and backgrounds, doesn't detract from the timeworn charm of watching blob-like characters lurch erratically through harebrained comic pratfalls.
- Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, April 26, 2012
Fresh: The action is beautifully staged, delightful, and exciting.
- Bruce Diones, New Yorker, Monday, May 7, 2012
Not a bad bit of entertainment, for kids or adults I suspect, but Pirates: Band of Misfits isn't as zany as some of Aardman's other works, due basically to a story line that never really takes off in spite of the inventiveness of throwing in Charles Darwin as a major character. I believe that the film is hampered by trying to be too much to too many; keeping the plot simple and most of the characters one dimensional so the kiddies can follow truly robs the film from becoming something even more ribald. It's an issue I had with the Shrek franchise as well - things are kept obvious and simple... of course one could counter by saying "well, it's just a cartoon, what'd ya expect?" -I'd counter the counter by saying that just because something is animated doesn't mean it has to be childish. So, we have a film that begins beautifully, with a fantastic camera shot that is truly wonderful, but then that realism is turned on its head by the introduction of Queen Victoria who looks exactly like a cartoon character - quite a jarring juxtaposition. The film only starts to lose steam when Darwin starts acting like... well a cartoon character. So much more could have been done with him, and yet he is reduced to a plot contrivance that has fallen in love with Victoria. Now many will talk of the voice acting (which is quite good for the most part, although I expected more bombast from Jeremy Piven as Black Belamy) - but while I found it much fun to see the likes of Brian Blessed (who will forever be Augustus Caesar from I Claudius), and Brendan Gleason in the mix, I can see my wife's point in that who is speaking the words isn't as important as how the words come across. There are bits of lunacy and fun, and yet I often felt as if each character was there to perform a specific task; playing to the tried and true method of cartoon characters through the ages. From the Pirate Captain's continual refusal to see anything other than the obvious (and often missing even that), to the crew's all too predicable antics - it all felt kind of tired in spite of some truly funny bits, as when the Captain makes a presentation in front of the London Scientific Community and Also Sprach Zarathustra (the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey) is played on a squeeze box! In conclusion; there are far worse animated films out there (Planet 51 for example), but there are so very many better ones (Over The Hedge, Aardman's own Chicken Run - not to mention anything Pixar). It's just fine if you want nothing more than light humor and a few chuckles.
- paulsandberg, Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The Pirates! Band of Misfits! is a delight. The style is a cheerful throwback to classic stop-motion animation. Given the strong resurgence of titles like ParaNorman and Frankenweenie, audiences seem to be responding to its more organic, tangible quality. Of course the aesthetic beauty of the film would mean nothing without a good script. Indeed, Pirates is an intelligently written production. Witty jokes and funny sight gags abound for the careful viewer throughout the brisk 88 minute running time. The voice cast is wonderful but it's telling that one of their most amusing doesn't even speak at all. Mr. Darwin's assistant is a highly trained chimp named Mister Bobo who communicates by holding up note cards. He's hilarious, but the rest of the ensemble is quite good as well. Hugh Grant has the right amount of narcissism mixed with geniality as the Pirate Captain and Imelda Staunton is a hoot as the pirate hating Queen Victoria. With its hip soundtrack (The Clash, The English Beat, Jimmy Cliff, Supergrass) and occasional gags that little tykes won't get, this is pitched more at older kids than the toddler set. Seeing as I am well over 8 year years old, that is just fine with me. fastfilmreviews.wordpress.com
- hobster1, Sunday, February 10, 2013