Synopsis: In The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain – a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side, and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It’s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!
Release Date: April 27, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Children and Family, Comedy
In the year 1837 the known world is largely under control of the British Empire, and Queen Victoria sits on her thrown an overzealous monarch with an overactive penchant for disposing of those she despises. Those being pirates. Queen Victoria hates pirates, as it says on her crest quite plainly “I Hate Pirates,” and for the Pirate Captain and his crew of misfits, that includes an albino pirate and a suspicious cross-dressing one, it is a time to rejoice in being wanted. But the Pirate Captain is not the greatest pirate of them all, far from it actually. His ransom is so small they offer to throw in a free pen with his capture. The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) dreams of being the best pirate there is, and wining the Pirate of the Year award to prove himself worthy of the term “Pirate.” His competition is stiff, with the likes of Cutlass Liz (voiced by Salma Hayek) and Black Bellamy (voiced by Jeremy Piven) scoring far more booty with ease.
The only way to win the Pirate of the Year award is to pillage and plunder as much as possible, and the Pirate Captain’s crew attempts to do just that. The fact that every boat they come across is not full of gold but ghosts, or even plague victims, does not help their plan; it does make The Pirates! Band Of Misfits very funny to watch for a viewer though. There is a saving grace, and it comes by way of Charles Darwin and his ability to spot a rare bird. Said bird is Polly, the Pirate Captain’s best friend and until meeting Mr. Darwin she was believed to be a Parrot. The Pirate Captain and his crew are not the brightest lot of pirates, and that is saying something, because Polly is actually a rare Dodo bird, and the soon-to-be ticket for the Pirate Captain to score all the treasure he could imagine. What he has to do along the way is discover what is more important, treasure and glory or friendship and loyalty. Even the funny band of misfits that are The Pirates! Band of Misfits have heart, morals, and an unbreakable bond.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits is pleasing to watch for adults and children alike. Some of the material may walk a fine line between suitable for young children, or not; there are scenes of animals in distress and talk of harming them that may disturb a small child. The heart of The Pirates! Band of Misfits is pure gold though, and the intentions of the filmmakers to create a well-rounded group of animated characters you can root for, laugh with, and enjoy every moment you spend with them present from start-to-finish on their action-packed adventure.
Aardman animation is the studio behind such films as Chicken Run, Arthur Christmas, and Wallace & Gromit. Every film they have made has been impressive, whether they are using claymation model animation or computer-generated animation, everything is done with precision and a high-level of skill. With The Pirates! Band of Misfits Aardman Animation has outdone themselves. Over more than five-years, The Pirates! Band of Misfits was being created with the use of hand-molded puppets, outlining each detail of the character and movement, and creating animated backgrounds from claymation and computer-generated animation techniques. The resulting look of the film is outstanding.
The world of the Pirates comes alive under Aardman, and everything looks almost too real to be an animated film. There is an extreme amount of clarity, depth-of-field on the high seas, exceptional use of the color field, and the movements of the animated characters seamless in their execution. The Pirates! Band of Misfits feels like a non-animated film that is using animated characters. It is as much perplexing at is exciting to see animation techniques such as this exist on screen and a true achievement in animation.
**To learn more about how Aardman created The Pirates! Band of Misfits watch the special making-of crew featurette here.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Peter Lord
- Producer(s): Gideon Defoe
- Screenwriter(s): Hugh Grant (voice of The Pirate Captain)Salma Hayek (voice of Cutlass Liz)
- Story: Martin Freeman (voice of The Pirate with a Scarf)
- Cast: Imelda Stanton (voice of Queen Victoria)Jeremy Piven (voice of Black Bellamy)
- Cinematographer: Theodore Shapiro
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USAUK