The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Now Showing at: most major theaters.
Review by: Larry Thomas
I have always preferred the films from Aardman Entertainment to most any other animated studio. Aardman is the brainchild of Nick Park, who started his career with the wonderful Wallace and Gromit shorts, and gradually progressed to features with the likes of Chicken Run.
The newest Aardman animated feature is The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and it certainly is a misfit. Even in its comparatively brief running time of eighty-seven minutes, I have a hard time finding anything at all I actually liked about it.
First off, if you read the hundreds of names in the end credits you’ll not see Nick Park anywhere. Apparently he passed the project on to others at the studio, but forgot to pass along his humor, charm, and talent as well.
Then, there’s the question of an identity crisis. In England, the film is called The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!, which is more descriptive of the action. Guess the Sony folks thought that might frighten away those wary of anything intelligent.
Also a minus is the use of celebrity stunt casting for the voices: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Brendan Gleeson and others. Fine actors all, but they lend nothing to the film. In fact, your cousin Eddie from Alabama could have done all the voices and it would have likely come out the same as with the big names.
Next, it’s in 3-D, but you wouldn’t know it save for the glasses perched on your nose. There’s no inventive or exciting use of the medium, and all it does it raise your ticket price a few bucks.
And when it comes to stupid, allegedly funny, pirate movies, let’s face it… that scow has sailed. Johnny Depp and company have wrung all the good out of the genre to the point there’s nothing else to plunder here. Oh, and the music is more contemporary rock than anything else, and is quite annoying at times.
Methinks Captain Park told his crew to go make an animated pirate movie and make it silly. Unfortunately, he didn’t demonstrate what he meant by “silly” which can be quite funny, and “stupid” which can be quite unfunny. For example… and I’m not giving anything away by telling you this… the only time I laughed was for a two-second reference to John Merrick, The Elephant Man. Had there been four hundred people in the audience… there weren’t… I still think I might have been the only one to catch it.
Monty Python is silly AND Monty Python is funny. If you find yourself on the verge of seeing this mess, heed the words of the Pythons and “Run away! Run away!”
The PG rated The Pirates! Band of Misfits is showing all over the place in both 2-D and 3-D versions.