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Movie Review: "The Pirates: Band of Misfits"

“The Pirates: Band of Misfits” (Sony Pictures)

“The Pirates: Band of Misfits” is the latest offering from Sony Animation combined with the Claymation skills of the Aardman Company. This is the group that presented us with the most enjoyable “Chicken Run” a few years back. Sadly the enjoyment factor on this film is much lower. The characters, the humor and the story just don’t create enough animated magic to get this show off the ground.

The central character in this movie is the Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant). He heads up a motley crew of ragtag pirates who sail the seas looking to plunder other ships. It is not the booty that draws him to plunder other ships as much as is the chance to be named “Pirate of the Year.” He has never won this competition and thinks this year might be his turn.

His competition includes Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayak). They have both had great years at sea and scoff at Pirate Captain’s chances. Finally the Pirate Captain is convinced his chances are slim to none and he takes to the sea to try to build up his empty treasure chests.

At sea he boards several ships, the last being one carrying a scientific expedition headed by Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin spies the Captain’s pet parrot named Polly and declares it is actually a dodo bird, a species thought to be extinct. He declares they must take it to London and enter it into the annual scientific competition. He says the winner gets a priceless prize. So off they sail to London and a chance to meet Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton).

That’s a lot of plot for an animated movie aimed at children, and in truth it is too much for them to absorb. Plus the best lines in the movie are so sophisticated that they go over children’s’ heads and only mildly entertain the adults in the audience.

Grant is quite good in providing the voice of the Pirate Captain. He makes his character come to life. This is true of the other actors too. Still this being an animated feature there needs to be more music, more comedy or more adventure. Without some of this the movie becomes dull and draggy.

The film is rated PG for comic violence.

Claymation is an acquired taste in animation. In this film it doesn’t necessarily detract from the entertainment but it doesn’t necessarily add anything either. And with a drawn out story and less comedy than you would expect the movie just sits there waiting for something to happen to make it better.

I scored “The Pirates: Band of Misfits” a looted 5 out of 10.

Photo courtesy of: Sony Pictures

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