August 28, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Pirates: Band of Misfits'

The Pirates: Band of Misfits (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Never let it be said that there is any justice in the world of movies. Some movies, inexplicably, rake it in at the theaters, with no rhyme, reason or any logical explanation for it. Then there are those that really should have every seat filled, yet the people stay away. In the four months that The Pirates: Band of Misfits was at the theater it took considerably less than its budget. More is the shame, as this movie is bloody hilarious!

Coming out of the Aardman Studios, who brought us the terrific Wallace and Gromit movies, and the minds of directors Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt, The Pirates: Band of Misfits takes a familiar plot and fills it with some wonderful moments.

The plot follows the Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) and his attempts at winning the coveted Pirate of the Year trophy. Of course, he is totally inept and is shown up by Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek). However, a chance meeting with one Charles Darwin (David Pennant) and his monkey, named Mr. Bobo, leads the Pirate Captain and his motley crew on a trip to London, and a run in with Queen Victoria.

The Pirates: Band of Misfits, as with many other Aardman movies, is clay animated and in 3D, although the Blu-ray version I watched was 2D. Not that this matters, as the film looks terrific in whatever dimension. Bright colors, fully expressive characters and great animation are the order of the day here, and not to mention loads of cool jokes that you will either get or you won’t, depending on your age and where you were born. For example, one of the pirates, The Pirate with Gout, is seen wearing a Blue Peter badge. What is that, you may well ask? Well, Blue Peter was a kid’s show on UK television that ran for years, and they were always fond of giving out badges (or buttons as they are called in the US).

Even though there are some obscure jokes, there are many that you can’t help but notice; Charles Darwin, a monkey and Also Sprach Zarathustra from 2001: A Space Odyssey. There really are some truly priceless moments throughout. The story itself does take a quiet familiar ark, but you’ll be so wrapped up in the fun of it all you won’t really care.

The cast are all terrific, in particular Grant, Pennant and Martin Freeman, as The Pirate with a Scarf. Also joining in the fun and games are Imelda Staunton, as Queen Victoria, Lenny Henry, Brian Blessed and Anton Yelchin, among others.

Quite often when an animated film hits, the assumption is that it is just for kids and that is not always the case. Sure, The Pirates: Band of Misfits will definitely appeal to kids, and I don’t dare say that they will love it, but so will the adults out there. It’s the adults that will pick up on some of the subtleties of the humor, and not to mention the great soundtrack. Supergrass, The Clash, The Pogues, Tenpole Tudor and The Ethiopians? Come on! What’s not to like about that?

The Pirates: Band of Misfits can’t get a big enough recommendation from me, hell I loved it. Even when it misfires, on the rare occasion, it is still wonderful viewing, and I can’t wait to watch it again. Right, I’m off to groom my most luxuriant beard.

The Pirates: Band of Misfits is released on August 28th by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

1 comment:

entertain yourself said...

Thought this was a fun one. Then - it was quite a departure from The Raid: Redemption I watched the night before!