Country: USA, UK
IMDB Rating: 7.1
After years of humiliation and failed attempts to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award, Pirate Captain and his oddball crew take on the cream of the pirating crop - Black Bellamy, Peg Leg Hastings and Cutlass Liz - in a race to pillage the most booty. They soon cross paths with lovelorn scientist Charles Darwin, who persuades the Captain that the crews prized parrot, Polly, could be the answer to the untold riches they are searching for. Their adventure takes them to Victorian London where they meet Darwins sidekick man-panzee Mister Bobo, and the notorious pirate-hating Queen Victoria herself. It soon unfolds that Darwins motives for helping the crew are not what they seem, and the Queen has an evil hidden agenda of her own. The Pirate Captain must choose between basking in the glory of being crowned Pirate of the Year, or staying faithful to his trusted crew.
We have taken some photos of "The Pirates! Band of Misfits". They represent actual movie quality.
manutoo (18 May 2013)
I got into this movie without expecting much, I even didn't know it wasby the creators of Wallace & Grommit, but I recognized their styleright away, and they greatly improved it : the visuals are stunning,with a lot of details & delightful backgrounds, and the rendering isreally different of the usual 3D stuff, as it looks like it's done clay(not sure what's done with real clay or CGI, but it looks greatanyway).I was 1st annoyed by the low frame rate implied by the stop-motionanimation, but after 10 minutes into the movie, I didn't think about itanymore : I just got a big grin on my face that never left me duringthe whole movie, except for some nice laughs !This movie stacks up more imagination, creativity & originality thanall other movies I've seen so far in 2012 combined. I'm getting old,and vastly bored to see the same things over & again, and I'm cravingto see something good & different like this movie provides : I feelyoung again ! :-pIt lasts only 85 minutes, but it's packed with so much stuff going onon the screen, so much gags either visual or word-play, that it feltmuch longer ! Hey, I will even have to watch it at least a couple moretimes to catch all the little stuff I missed running into thebackground ! :-)Now my only hope is to see another adventure of The Pirates! ,completely different of the 1st one, yet with the same crazy, silly,funny spirit raging into its soul !
dalelawson-1 (18 May 2013)
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (Dir Peter Lord & JeffNewitt, 2012) is the first hand-animated feature film released byAardman Studios since the successful Wallace and Gromit in The Curse ofthe Were-Rabbit (Dir. Steve Box & Nick Park, 2005). Much like theWallace and Gromit franchise, The Pirates! features plenty ofintertextual jokes, a plot full of twists and a generally entertainingfilm.The narrative follows a simple but eventful plot so as to appeal to theyounger audience. Many of the jokes throughout The Pirates! thereforeutilise slapstick and basic comedy to please the target audience.However, for the adult spectator, many jokes are intertextual and mayneed multiple viewings to understand or even notice them. This use ofgags, and simple plot, can be seen all through Aardman's filmography.Aardman famously utilise a British cast in their films and they do notforsake this convention in The Pirates!. Hugh Grant gives, arguably,the best performance of his career as the Pirate Captain, helping drivethe story forward with a strong supporting British cast. The filmsroster is full of other famous British faces including David Tennant,Martin Freeman, Russell Tovey and Brian Blessed. Yet even with thisalmost pure British cast The Pirates! seems very American. Perhaps itis the partnership with Sony and the over-excessive use of CGI, orperhaps it is the plot that bears similarities to the U.S. blockbuster,The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Dir GoreVerbinski, 2003), but The Pirates! just seemingly lacks the charm andquaintness that the Wallace and Gromitfranchise has.Finally, I will briefly discuss the use of 3-D within The Pirates!,which was the first film I have seen in 3-D this year (2012). Andhaving only previously seen Jackass 3D and Avatar in 3-D I have mixedopinions on cinema's desire to use this media. I believe that somefilms, like Avatar, cleverly utilised 3-D by enhancing the depth offield, whereas many films desire only to pop things out of the screenat the audience Unfortunately, The Pirates! attempts to do both ofthese things, causing the clarity of anything in the background to behindered because of the foreground focus. I would urge people not towaste money seeing this movie, and countless others, in the thirddimension.Aardman had a lot to live up to when creating, and releasing, ThePirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!, due to the success of theirother films. I have to say it was a little disappointing as I had goneinto the cinema expecting Wallace and Gromit on an epic ocean-battlescale, while keeping the quaint "Britishness" presented by both theWallace and Gromit films and Chicken Run (Dir. Peter Lord & Nick Park,2000). But in fact I found a clay-mation of The Pirates of theCaribbean with a stronger plot and exciting characters. All I can hopeis that the next film to come out of Aardman studios is another Wallaceand Gromit.http://dalelawsonreviews.tumblr.com/
kosmasp (10 May 2013)
Actually easy to watch, if you forgive the pun. More to the pointthough, it seems to be fairly difficult to convince an Americanaudience to watch animation movies that have that weird British humorin it. Just take the omission of Arthur Christmas as one big example ofthis. An omission at the Oscars that is, that is just out of myunderstanding and reach. A wonderful family movie (far better than someof the nominated animated pictures), it didn't get the credit itdeserved.Pirates will have a hard time too. Not only the misfits of the story(they'll have to overcome quite some obstacles), but also the movieitself. If you don't mind an animated movie that actually requires youto use your brain while you watch it, then this could be for you.
Quietb-1 (09 May 2013)
This band of misfits pirates is harmless enough for the whole family.It is not as sharp as Wallace and Gromit efforts and some of the humormight be missed by children. At only 88 minutes there are parts thatseem to drag.For some reason makers of animated features feel a need to put in asong. Not the pirate songs but the "why is this here" song over thefoggy shots of London slows things down.The 3D offers nothing special and isn't worth the up-charge, especiallywhen you consider the lack of brightness exchanged for a few 3Deffects. It's a wide screen production that will look as good or betteron the small screen. Wait for this band of misfits to come to you.
thefratking (08 May 2013)
There were 2 reasons why I wanted to see this: 1. I love AardsmanStudios and have been watching Wallace and Gromit since I was 3 yearsof age. 2. The Movie got many good reviews and has a 7.0 in IMDb whichfor animation is pretty decent.What I got was a funny movie that crossed boundary's for the better. Idon't like explaining plot because you can read a nine paragraphsummery on the page of the movie.Now overall, This is a movie for smart people. There are a lot ofhistorical(and many time inaccurate) references which had me gutbusting. So if you want to your 4 year old to shut-up for 90 minutes,put in Finding Nemo. Also, for an animated movie there is some harshlanguage and innuendos.Now Story wise it is very animated clichÃ© which I sometimes do enjoy,but I feel like the small jokes were a lot funnier than the big jokesand I heard the American version dubbed a lot of the jokes from theBritish version. So plot wise, its nothing new except with differentjokes and different characters All in All, It's an enjoyable animatedmovie that the parents might enjoy a little more than the kids.
MYeah_Plaza (07 May 2013)
ARRR! The quirky scallywags of Aardman animation be at it again! Afterseven years of waiting, they've at long last made port with theirreturn to stop motion. The Pirates! be a scurvy, swashbuckling, andlaugh-out-loud funny high seas adventure, with Charles DARRRwin. Okay,I promise to stop talking like a pirate now.I must say, even though it doesn't have the same originality as ChickenRun, or the same comedic bite as Wallace and Gromit, The Pirates is avery entertaining movie. It's easy enough to compliment the animation,and Aardman's signature style of slapstick, or a terrific voice cast aswe've come to expect. All that aside, it remains a constantly funnyadventure, with only a few jokes that ever fall flat. It's great tohave you back Aardman.**** / *****
william walker (01 May 2013)
That's right, I said the "Snow White" fairly tale! So, where's SnowWhite?? Certainly not Cutlass Liz, the slinky ethnic female pirateleader. Snow White has been transformed into Polly: the last livingDodo, thought long extinct. The minimal crew of the Pirate Captain'sship are mostly dwarf-like, to emphasize the much bigger ego of theirtaller Captain, each with an unusual physical or behavioralpeculiarity, like Snow White's seven dwarfs. Few of them, along withthe Captain, come across as being bloodthirsty pirates, hence the labelin the title as a 'band of misfits'. The 7 dwarfs were said to be goldminers, presumably not very ambitious ones. The Pirate Captain and hiscrew, of course, sought to plunder gold and other valuables, again, notvery ambitiously. Queen Victoria has been transformed into theequivalent of Snow White's jealous stepmother queen. Like this monster,who thought she had eaten Snow White's heart(but fooled), anoverstuffed shrewish Queen Victoria wants to eat Polly, along withother virtually extinct animals, presumably to demonstrate herdisregard for all creatures, as well as humans. The Pirate Captain andDarwin, primarily, along with their buddies, collectively take theplace of the Snow White's prince, repeatedly rescuing Polly from theQueen's selfish designs. Like Snow White's evil Queen, who isultimately banished from the kingdom, Queen Victoria is last seenbuzzing off into the distance in her out-of-control airship, while herhuge ocean liner is disappearing into the deep, Titanic-like, under theweight of an astronomical amount of baking dough(of all things!) thathas suddenly engulfed the ship. This symbolizes the victory of thePirate Captain's Robin Hood-like band of minimal pirates and harmlessscientific curiosity seekers over the unbridled greed and cruelty ofthe Queen. Also, the Pirate Captain has now given up his ambitions tobe what he doesn't deserve to be : Pirate of the Year, and Scientist ofthe Year.In the end, poor Charles Darwin is still frustrated in being recognizedas an important scientist. Some in the audience know that his fame willcome much later for a much more important general insight than the merediscovery of the last Dodo. He is also frustrated in finding a womanwho will love him, with his seemingly unpromising fixation oncollecting animal and plant curiosities. In the closing credits, it'ssuggested that he will try to get cozy with a Soutn Seas maiden:someone much closer to the natural world he loves than the rarefiedupper class British women he was brought up with.The unlikely relationship between the Pirate Captain and Darwin muchreminds us of the relationship between Captain Jack and the veryDarwin-like ship's surgeon Stephen, in the award-winning "Master andCommander", of about a decade ago. Thank's to Darwin's knowledge, Pollyis the Captain's possible ticket to both scientific and pirate fame, aswell as the queen's pardon. but, the queen expects to exchange a pardonfor Polly: "the feathery heart and soul of the ship". This conflictover Polly's disposition endures for the remainder of the film.Besides Queen Victoria and Darwin, who were historic contemporaries,Black Bellamy was a historic personage, albeit a good century or sobefore when this story supposedly took place. Bellamy, in fact, iscredited with being the most successful pirate during the 'golden ageof piracy' in terms of the amount of plunder he captured. This servesas the basis for Bellamy's claim as 'Pirate of the Year' in this story.The real Bellamy was actually, in some ways, rather like the PirateCaptain, known for his mercy and generosity toward his victims, andlikening himself to Robin Hood. Thus, he contrasted his employment ofrobbing the rich with his victim's employment of robbing the poor. Inthis film, he is portrayed as more resembling his contemporary: thebrutal Blackbeard.With the very negative characterization of Queen Victoria, as the onlymajor female human, the screenplay risks coming across as being verymisogynic, and thus imparting a negative impression on girls.This isvery different from the much more balanced traditional "Snow White"story. Is this expensive production aimed primarily at children or adults?Seems they tried to incorporate elements that would primarily appeal toone or the other, and sometimes to both, perhaps not alwayssuccessfully. Obviously, the overabundant slapstick is of the sort thatprimarily appeals to children. On the other hand, some other aspectsare probably over the heads of at least the younger children. As anolder adult, I found both amusing and boring aspects to the film, butoverall, I liked it.I also recommend checking out the non-animated pirate farces: "DoubleCrossbones", starring Don O'Connor, on You tube or DVD, and "ThePrincess and the Pirate", starring Bob Hope.
miruleyall (30 April 2013)
Ardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation have done a absolutelyfantastic job on Pirates.First off lets talk about this films unique visual style (combiningdelightfully old school stop motion clay animation with modern CGI) Itlooks absolutely gorgeous, very similar to chicken run but with a lotmore variation in terms of scenery and characters.I had the pleasure of seeing it in 2D so while i cant comment on theadditional effects that 3D would have brought it still lookedfantastic, the colors, brightness and cinematography where perfect, noweird HD noise here, absolutely flawless camera work, this is not youraverage 2D film ,especially if your cinema has Digital 2-4K Projectors,mine did and it looked awesome.As for the story, well suffice to say it doesn't stray far from theaverage Aardman stock but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it,the characters stand out much more than they have done in the past andthe writing, comedy and bombastic style are very much still intact.If you want a funny, pretty and interesting movie to keep your kids andyou very much entertained for the 2Hours~ it takes to watch thiswonderful movie nothing in this would should stop you 5/5 Visuals 5/5 Sound 5/5 Story= 5/5 Stars overallSEE THIS MOVIE
ASlightlyRedDisturbance (28 April 2013)
The only reason I heard about this film was because it got the Oscarnomination, and since I had seen the other four animated filmsnominated, I decided to give this a go. Really, really fun! I think ithas the most inventive wit and kids' humor from the five, but it'sreally clever and frequently hilarious. The characters are a hoot andreally entertaining, and the film takes quite a few turns in the storythat allow for more action and adventure. It's really quite great, andit reminds me of last year's The Adventures of Tintin in how it's the"action animated" film of the year (from what I've seen, which is the 5nominated ones). Really enjoyable film, a surprising delight!
Tom Gooderson-A'Court (27 April 2013)
Pirates! An Adventure with Scientists or Band of Misfits as it is knownoutside the UK for some reason, is the latest stop-motion feature fromAardman Animations, the studio behind the likes of Wallace and Gromitand Chicken Run. It is based on the first two novels in the Pirates!Series by Gideon Defoe.Set in 1837, the story follows the adventures of a pirate captaincalled Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) in his attempts to win the Pirate ofthe Year competition for the first time. Despite being mostly deludedand incompetent he is actually kind at heart and has the respect of hiscrew. He is really up against it through when it comes to winning thecompetition because he is a pretty rubbish pirate and is up against thecream of the piratical world which includes Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek)and Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven). While attempting to rob a ship,Pirate Captain has a chance meeting with Charles Darwin (David Tennant)who notices that the ship's parrot, Polly is in fact the world's lastDodo. Darwin, the Captain and his crew travel to London to show theScientific community their discovery but while there risk bumping intothe staunchly anti-pirate, Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton).As you'd expect from an Aardman production, the film is full of bothsubtle and not so subtle humour. One of the first things that made melaugh was the names of Pirate Captain's crew. There is The Pirate witha Scarf (Marin Freeman), so named because he wears a scarf, The Piratewith Gout (Brendan Gleeson) who is fat, the Albino Pirate (RussellTovey) and the best of them all, the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate(Ashley Jensen) who is a woman in a fake beard. They are great nameswhich bought a smile to my face each time they were used. A lot of thehumour comes from the book on which the film is based but it isliberally laced with Aardman's trademark subtlety. Every shop sign orwanted poster features a pun and there are nods to the likes ofBlackadder. It's the sort of film that will take several viewings inorder to see all of the jokes.The animation is top notch, as it should be. Aardman are the masters oftheir art and having dabbled in stop-motion animation myself, Iunderstand the time and effort that must go into making a stop-motionfeature. Aardman has come a long way from the rough and ready claymodels of The Wrong Trousers but the models still maintain theirdistinctive style and it is obvious that care has been taken duringeach of the millions of frames.The voice cast is excellent. Most of the actors are instantlyrecognisable but David Tennant puts on a convincing accent for hisinterpretation of Charles Darwin. The actors help to make the scripvery funny and I'm pleased to see that the filmmakers have stuck with amostly British cast and stayed away from an A-List star.The soundtrack is enjoyable and uses songs which are not only great butfit the story perfectly. You can expect to hear the likes of The Clash,Flight of the Concords and Blur.While my girlfriend, most of the adult audience and myself enjoyed thefilm, the young children in the audience seemed a little bored by it. Idon't think there was enough in the film to keep the young childrenentertained and a lot of the humour was going over their head. It isalmost like the film has been pitched at an adult audience, which isfine and worked, but with a U rating and an Easter release, lots ofchildren will go and may be disappointed.This is not Aardman's best work but it was an enjoyable 88 minutes thatfeatured plenty of laughs and a fairly interesting but in the end throwaway plot. I would definitely go back to watch the sequel and willwatch it again when it is inevitably shown on TV during a futureChristmas period.www.attheback.blogspot.com
George Dragomir (25 April 2013)
I was happy to see an actual silly putty movie. It's been so long sinceI saw one (I think I was like 5). I knew it was intended for kids, andI must say, I found it quite great.The plot is nicely done. The characters are explained perfectly for akid to understand the story. And it does not go into heavy details andplunge a young one's mind into a deep state of confusion.Basically it's about a pirate captain, named "Pirate Captain" (this wasa good funny start) who strives to become the number one ranked pirate,and win best pirate of the year award. However, misfortune andclumsiness are his best buds.I went in with my little sister and she was a bit disappointed atfirst, mostly because she hadn't raised with these types of animations.But as the funny scenes started rolling she kept on smiling.The jokes and the conflicts were done pretty good, and can becomprehended by an 8 year old. Which is good, as I consider that agegroup, to be the main target of this film.7/10.
TheLittleSongbird (25 April 2013)
Having loved Aardman's other work, especially Wallace and Gromit,Creature Comforts, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep, I was much lookingforward to The Pirates! And I found myself loving it. Apart fromsagging slightly in the pace in the middle with a couple of scenes thatcould've done with more punch perhaps, it has all the attributes thatmade me love Aardman in the first place.For instance, The Pirates! is a marvellous looking film, you couldreally tell that a lot of creativity and effort went into it. Thecolours and backgrounds are plentiful and rich with always somethinginteresting to look at, and the character designs are appealing withthe title character reminding of a youthful Wallace with hair and abeard. The 3D is one of the rare instances where it enhances thevisuals and action rather than detract from it.Theodore Shapiro's music is enough to rouse the spirit, and does verywell conveying a sense of adventure. The songs featured are fun andmemorable. I also loved the crispness and wit of the dialogue managingto appeal to children and adults alike, and the story is exciting withlots of charm and heart. The characters appeal because of theirlarger-than-life personalities, true the names are on the genericside(Pirate Captain, Pirate with gout) but that was probably theintention. I did enjoy seeing the likes of Charles Darwin and QueenVictoria as well, and they especially Queen Victoria added a lot to thefilm.As for the vocal cast, the cast itself was one of the film's mainattractions and the voice work is first rate. Hugh Grant showsimpeccable comic timing, and Salma Hayak voices Cutlass Liz with lotsof sass. Jeremy Piven shows that he can do wonderfully with a characterthat is strongly-written and provides a good contrast to Grant's PirateCaptain. Brendan Gleeson and Brian Blessed give rousing turns, DavidTennant's Charles Darwin charms and Imelda Staunton voices QueenVictoria as if she were born to do it.Overall, Aardman does it again, a wonderful family film that anybodycould enjoy. 9/10 Bethany Cox
hannahballerina310 (22 April 2013)
My boyfriend and I took my younger sister to see this and she loved it!It was great for her as she loved all the child's aspects of the film,But for my Boyfriend and I it was also a good film, very amusing inparts I would definitely recommend this film for people of any age.Especially Wallis and Grommit fans ( As it is made by Aardman) My sister laughed through the majority of the film at the brilliantcomedy throughout as did we. I would most certainly give this film a rating of no lower than 7. And would also recommend people to go and see it with children as it isa brilliant film for all ages.
sebmmoderns (21 April 2013)
I have been a fan of Aardmans for all of my life, from Nick Park'sWallace And Gromit and Chicken Run, to computer technology such asFlushed Away, and through my adolescences to Aardman's Darkside: PibAnd Pog and Angry Kid to Jeff Newitt's outstanding classic: Loves Me,Loves Me Not! When realising that the cast have all teamed up to make afilms about pirates saving their "Big Boned" dodo from the EVIL GREEDYQUEEN VICTORIA!, I just had to see this movie, and wow was I blown awayby it! The very best bit was NOT from the movie, I actually met one ofthe people who worked at the Aardmans studio and even better, I evengot a signature from them! However, there are some cannon hits and somecannon misses! I overall think that this film should not be aimed atvery young children, because Aardmans had crossed the line with its"South Park" related humour by trying way too hard to be funny at timeswhen usually, it is just plain old insulting, but show it to your olderkids and they will sure to love it! If you want to show children analmost perfectly child friendly movie, then show them their previousstop motion classic: Wallace And Gromit And The Curse Of The WereRabbit! My Overall Rating For "Pirates: An Adventure With Pirates" is a 4 outof 5! (Very Good Work Aardmans!) :)
Pearson-258-457087 (20 April 2013)
Cute Movie with many clever moments however, is my least favorite ofall the splendid spectacles given to us by Aardman Animations. Band OfMisfits drags in several bits and the ending is very hand-wavy, one ofthose movies that had a lot of promise but was kind of a let-down. Thefirst thirty minutes really had me going and I loved the whole CharlesDarwin plot line; but the end was rushed and made very little sense.Perhaps the only reason I am so critical of what most people wouldconsider a good kids movie, is because I know that the creative team atAardman animations can and have done much better.If you haven't already run (don't walk) to your local Blockbusters andfind either Wallace and Grommit or Chicken Run. Trust me you won'tregret it.
TheGatsby (20 April 2013)
In recent years, the pirate genre has enjoyed something of resurgencein popularity all because of one series. You know which one I'm talkingabout. The first film became an unprecedented success and three sequelseventually followed, in total grossing nearly $4 billion at the boxoffice. It was then unsurprising that the pirate would foray intoanimation, however, this being an Aardman production meant this wouldoffer something different to Jack Sparrow and co.After their recent uses of CGI, it was uncertain whether the Aardmanwould return to stop-motion animation, thankfully, they have. It helpsto separate the film from the countless CGI-fests that so many kids'movies are today, giving it a magic all of its own. The immense effortput into every frame is so wonderfully on display, with the animatorsrevelling in meticulous detail and rewarding the sharp-eyed viewer withnumerous visual gags that flash by in blink-and-you'll-miss-it motion.Given that this film comes from the same production company thatdelivered the brilliant 'Wallace and Gromit', it comes as no surprisethat this film has two h's in abundance: heart and humour. It neverfeels cold or detached, with the main characters consistently charmingand easy to root for, aided once by again by the skilled animation.Succeeding just as well on comedic level, we are offered jokes forchildren, jokes for adults and fantastically, jokes the two can enjoytogether, that are equally broad and witty. Highlights include anamusing reference to 'The Elephant Man', Darwin's chimpanzee Bobo and agag which manages to make leprosy funny without being tasteless.It is rounded off by a great voice cast, lead by a delightfully gung-hoHugh Grant as the "luxuriantly"-bearded protagonist 'Pirate Captain'.He is complemented by reliable actors such as Martin Freeman, BrendanGleeson and David Tennant, with cameos from people like Lenny Henry,Salma Hayek and the unmistakable Brian Blessed.At only 88 minutes long, this fantastic film flies by in a flash, neveroutstaying its welcome and leaving the viewer (well, me anyway) wantingmore. I do indeed hope that the proposed sequel goes ahead, because I'dmuch rather watch this than 'Pirates of the Caribbean 5' or any ofthose sequels any day.
Diwali-Jumbonads (18 April 2013)
"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" is an eye pasture... If one appreciatesPixart'sstyle, one feels in this film, from the first minute on, athome...Affectionately morbid details in sparseness and abundance, arethetriumph of this film... However there is before Christmas"comparedwith" Nightmare three little things too be taken into account."The Pirates! Band of Misfits" is, however, certainly no bad film. Theslopingto the otherworldly, to the Bizarre, which shows up in thebacchantalforms of the landscapes and dolls, was expenditure-provokedhere nearlyup to the maximum. Over the whole "Setting" a kind mourningseemspermanent of being appropriate for Trostlosigkeit andDeprimiertheit from out of horrid legends burgeoning forth from thefoul and pestilent district of the Rhine. Accursed river!! Nearly eachfigure - as well as the two "leading actors" -and the living dolls aretotal freakshows of Nature if you can believe me- works besides rathermeticulously &repulsively. 1). It would not have harmed to write the film a trace funnier... 2). Mr. Elfman's and his Songs have got to go. and, 3). the conclusion ofthe film seems to me --over, nevertheless, alittle abruptly... But otherwise, I can only recommend "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" toeachprospective customer... Further Recommendations?? Comparisons??KINDERSPIEL 2(aka CHILD'S PLAYII), COMEDY PLAYHOUSE: Lunchtime in thePark, and Madcap Models No.U1-4: Tubby Tuba Takes a Walk (USA: seriestitle).
FilmPulse (18 April 2013)
Pirates! Band of Misfits is the latest offering from the wonderfullytalented team of animators who brought us the Wallace & Gromit seriesand Chicken Run, as well as the much less well-received Flushed Away.Titled Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists in the UK, thisclay-mation adventure tale contains a fair amount of fun, but lacks anyserious laughs, and in the end, falls just short of being somethingworth recommending.Hugh Grant lends his voice to The Pirate Captain, who, along with hisband of merry men (and woman), decide to compete in the Pirate of theYear competition. As one might imagine, although the Pirate Captain'sheart is in the right place, he always seems to come up short againstthe big dogs of the pirate world (voiced by Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek,and Al Roker). In an attempt to plunder everything he sees, The Captainstumbles upon the ship of Charles Darwin, who informs him that histrusted "parrot" could be worth a fortune. The crew sets sail forLondon, and comedic adventure ensues.While there certainly is a decent amount of adventure in the film, thecomedy aspect was not my cup of tea. Borrowing from the book of TexAvery, much of the comedy in Pirates! focuses on prat falls and sightgags, which, to it's credit, are quite good, but it's a shame that justa little more of that comedy wasn't put into the dialogue. Some of thebest lines are delivered by Anton Yelchin's character of Albino Pirate,and it would have been nice to hear more of the crew's banter.The central character of The Pirate Captain, has a blissfully ignorantway about him, sometimes acting like a dolt, and other times plottingingenious schemes. This gave the character a somewhat inconsistentfeel, and caused a slightly uninteresting character to be even moreuninteresting. The rest of the characters were much more engaging, andunfortunately don't get enough development or screen time.If you've seen Wallace & Gromit, or Chicken Run, then you know what toexpect as far as the animation goes in this film. One thing to note,some of the backgrounds were digitized, so clay-mation purists may beupset, but it didn't detract from the overall look of the movie. Whilenot breaking any new ground, it's always refreshing to see somethingdifferent than CG animation, and I always applaud the use of adifferent medium. This was also shot in 3D, which adds nearly nothingto the film, and only acts as a gimmick for a few stick stuff out atyou moments.Pirates! Band of Misfits is a solid animated comedy that your kids willlove, and you will be able to tolerate. With Pixar dominating themarket, it's tough to watch an old-school kids movie without judging itmore harshly because of it's omission of adult undertones and themes,but sometimes it's nice to just have fun with a movie without needing amessage, or sophisticated humor. Go into the film thinking more LooneyToons, less Wall-e, and you'll walk away smiling.Adam FilmPulse.net
Andy Steel (17 April 2013)
Exceptionally well animated, as ever, with some really great sight-gagsall over the place. I think I'll have to see it a few times to catchthem all! As to the plot, well maybe a little over-complicated for itstarget audience, but there's enough excitement on screen to keep thelittle ones occupied. For me, the only downside was portraying QueenVictoria as the main baddie; I can't recall her ever being played inthis way before, but I'm sure I'll be corrected on that. This aside, Ifound it quite charming with many comic moments that even made me laughout loud! (This is rare). All the voice artists were excellent, Iparticularly liked Hugh Grant; I think he got it just right. Over all,an entertaining film with plenty of laughs and there's even a greatsoundtrack!SteelMonster's verdict: RECOMMENDEDMy score: 7.8/10You can find an expanded version of this review on my blog: Thoughts ofa SteelMonster.
jburtroald95 (16 April 2013)
A cheery, enthusiastic pirate captain plainly named The Pirate Captain(voiced splendidly by Hugh Grant) is optimistically vying for thePirate of the Year Award. The mere sound of this plot basis sounds likean unbearably overwrought contrivance, but fortunately this award isnot just based on one's ability to impersonate Robert Newton Â theoriginal classic pirate actor Â but seems mostly founded on generalfinesse, quantity of shiny, gold booty and sticking it to the crown.The irritating taunts of hotshot contenders Black Bellamy (JeremyPiven) and slinky femme fatale Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) add urgency tohis quest to be this year's most notorious and wealthiest buccaneer.Early on in his travels, he intercepts the ambitious scientist CharlesDarwin (a very charismatic David Tennant) during his now famous trip tothe Galapagos Islands, and is persuaded into bringing his own belovedPolly to the London Science Fair, as it turns out that she is in factthe last of the dodo race that was thought to have been extinct formillennia. From the outset, it is clear that this seemingly respectableman and his disturbing chimpanzee butler Bobo are hiding ulteriormotives. One suspects it might be that he is planning to torturouslyexploit this poor creature to feed man's greedy curiosity, and startsexcitedly anticipating an intriguing exploration of the moral dilemmathat surrounds science and innovation, but instead we find that thefilm only sees him as a bored loner desperate for some romanticattention from exotic animal enthusiast Queen Victoria (Imelda Stauntonback for more fun after Chicken Run) and that is all there is to it.This is only a children's film after all, at when it approaches a bigidea, all it can do is flirt with it and then run away.In the narrative department, all that is produced is an almostmaddeningly predictable tale of loyalty and friendship in the face ofambition and temptation. Essentially the conflict is over a flightless,defenceless bird that is at least not saccharinely cute and allows theaudience to develop a natural sympathy for her. We also feel quitesympathetic towards the captain as he attacks several ships in hissearch for gold, only to find that they're not at all what he waslooking for, and at one point reflects that he hopes he's "ninth timelucky." He is not the only one failing so many times: this entire filmis about frustration. The conniving Darwin, the unexpectedly tough andselfish Queen, and the big-headed pirate captain are all just as clumsyas each other and frequently come extremely close to achieving theirgoals before we realise there's still at least a good half hour of themovie to go, and we need more complications from some ridiculoussource. Even the writers are a part of the never-ending struggle, withtheir countless attempts at producing a laugh almost always fallingflat, though they try everything up their sleeves. Bobo, the"manpanzee" cannot speak, but he holds up title cards showinginterjections like "Ooh!" and "Ah!" and "Oh no!" at every dramaticmoment, but never once are we amused. One gag from the pirate crew evenprecedes an arrogantly long pause where we are expected to be chucklinguncontrollably, but, most embarrassingly, nothing happens.So, when Gideon Defoe's writing gets stuck in a sprawling mess of half-baked recycled ideas, there are still various things that Peter Lord'sfilm can fall back on. Most prominently, the animation, which is thereason we are here, is fantastically imbued with the meticulousartistry and sumptuous expressive details that only Aardman Â theoriginal pioneers of Claymation Â can give us. Here they manage toexplore the new territory of the world of sailing and the cluttered,grimy streets of Dickensian London that has often been the home of TimBurton, as well as the familiar sights of cutlery swordfights,dangerous machinery, and a plump, bead-eyed beastly villainessattempting to slice off a bird's head at a high altitude while thefeathered distressed damsel's heroic friend climbs up a rope to herrescue. Here, that ghastly murderous woman is the Queen, who hasundergone even more of a dramatic change than Darwin and is even morepricelessly entertaining and deliciously wicked. While the ingeniousanimators are ensuring that everything from her squinty eyelids down toher bloated abdomen are showing as much vehemence as possible, Stauntonturns the shrill furious outbursts that her insufferable DoloresUmbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix exhibited up toan 11 and belts it out throughout most of the film. ThisOscar-nominated actress absolutely steals the show as part of an aptlychosen voice ensemble of other British character actors. BrendanGleeson, Lenny Henry, and Martin Freeman, in yet another bemused, long-suffering assistant role as the Pirate Captain's "number 2", providethe voices for the oddball crew with a certain degree of charm, andBrian Blessed plays the shockingly street-type pirate king.Finally, the intoxicatingly exciting action scenes chase away anybored, sober mental criticisms almost without fail and complete thethreefold strength of the Aardman animation team that makes their workso timeless. While it is unlikely that members of the Wallace andGromit generation will embrace this rudely new offering, it is morethan likely that the naÃ¯ve, impressionable youngsters viewing this atthe cinema today will come to use this as a benchmark for all futureanimated films. Perhaps we are getting too old for these kiddie films,but it still couldn't hurt see this one for old
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