The Pirates! Band of Misfits review

Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt
Hugh Grant
Imelda Staunton
David Tennant
Salma Hayek
Rated: PG

Going the animated route is probably the only way Hugh Grant could ever play a pirate.

“The Pirates! Band of Misfits” follows the story of the character The Pirate Captain (Grant), a pirate who has been around for years yet has never reached the pinnacle of success for his field, the pirate of the year award. The year that the story takes place though, The Pirate Captain decides to try and get the award at any means necessary.

One day while out pillaging a ship he comes across Charles Darwin (Tennant). Darwin informs the captain that his parrot that usually sits on his shoulder is actually a rare bird and not a parrot at all, and that he should go to London to win the grand prize from the science exhibit that’s going on. However going to London is dangerous since Queen Victoria (Staunton) hates pirates with all of her being.

The plot of “The Pirates!” was to me the weakest part of the entire film, everything in it seems really random and not fleshed out. It also lacked a real sense of adventure, which prompted me to start checking the time after the midway point. The movie’s final battle is fun, however, it feels to little to late.

The main character, The Pirate Captain is fun and charismatic and Hugh Grant gives the character a lot of life. Charles Darwin was the same way having quite a few good lines and having good delivery from David Tennant. What I was really disappointed with was the crew, who I felt really didn’t get a lot of time to shine. I realize that the movie is only about an hour and a half however I felt they could have made a lot better use of the other pirates.

The film throws joke after joke out and some of them were pretty funny, yet this is one of those movies where for me there were more that missed than those that hit. One of the best parts of the film is Darwin’s monkey butler who carries cards to show what he’s saying and it makes for a couple good laughs. For the most part though, a lot of the humor just got tired after a while and I felt as if some of the gags that they had ended up not going anywhere.

The biggest praise I can give the film is its animation. The studio Aardman which created the “Wallace & Gromit” and “Chicken Run” movie really do a good job of mixing stop motion animation with great looking CGI. One scene in the opening shows Queen Victoria’s castle and it looks top notch.

“The Pirates! Band of Misfits” is great to look at, has some funny moments and a humorous main character however the story is never engaging or exciting and most of the characters besides The Pirate Captain never give a reason to really be cared about. It’s not a bad film, it’s just really lacking. This one gets a high 2 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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