Saturday, April 28, 2012

"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" Review

    From the makers of Wallace and Gromit comes a movie with a surprising amount of Charles Darwin. This is The Pirates! Band of Misfits!

    The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Or The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists in the UK) is the newest Claymation film from Aardman Animations. It based on a series of books by Gideon Defoe, a series that wasn't exactly meant for kids (One book has the pirates team up with Karl Marx). It follows the Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) as he tries to get the Pirate of the Year award with the help of his crew. Along the way, he meets Charles Darwin (David Tennant) and his chimp helper Mr. Bobo and faces off with Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton). Martin Freeman, Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven round out the rest of the cast.
    Going into this movie, my hopes were high due to the fact that Aardman usually tends to hit it out of the park with their films, especially with Wallace and Gromit and the trailers all looked good. Upon leaving the theaters, I can safely say that the feeling I was leaving with was disappointment.

She's not fat. She's just not the right species.
    Don't get me wrong. This is certainly not a bad film. The acting is all good. You never really feels as if the characters are just famous actors' voices. They come across has real, live people, where even the villains are likable to a point and the characters that don't talk are still interesting to watch. Plus, Aardman once again show it's very impressive attention to detail. The characters are look great as do the sets, to a point where you might even forget you're watching animation. And backgrounds are absolutely filled with hidden detail and jokes that they alone make the film deserve a second viewing.
    However, this movie still is Aardman's weakest one yet. For the most part, the falls mostly on the shoulders of the plot. The film explores very little new territory and as a result, it is hard to get invested in what is going on on-screen. Audience members that have seen at least four childrens movie will be able to see the twist and turns the film takes and the messages it wants to say before the film wants you to know them. Plus, the humor is here, but it's not in the droves that is usually is in Aardman movies. Most of the laughs come from the subtler parts of the animation and the background gags mentioned earlier, but most gags are nothing that haven't been done before.

A bike-powered flying machine. Surprised it didn't catch on.
    The Pirates! Band of Misfits is nowhere near a bad movie. The acting is good and the animation is stunning with it's terrific level of detail. However, the story isn't particually interesting and the film just isn't as funny as Aardman's previous film. The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a movie that kids will certainly love. But for everyone else, The Pirates! Band of Misfits gets four and a half stars out of six. 

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