The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Sony/Aardman)
Rated PG for mild action, rude humor and some language.
Starring (voices of) Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Lenny Henry, Brian Blessed, Anton Yelchin, Brendan Gleeson, Ashley Jensen, Al Roker.
Written by Gideon Defoe.
Directed by Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt.
The Aardman claymation fellows are back at it again with this week's release of The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
Hugh Grant is the voice of Pirate Captain, the leader of a group of shoddy pirates out gain swashbuckling glory. Determined to win "Pirate of the Year," PC embarks on a quest to ransack ships for booty. When the gang raids Charles Darwin's ship, he points out that the captain's parrot is not a parrot, but dodo bird, considered extinct. Darwin convinces the captain to sail to London to enter the bird into a "Scientist of the Year" competition instead.
Upon arrival, the gang soon discovers how much Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) hates pirates, and they disguise themselves until winning the prize. The captain eventually gives the bird to the Queen Victoria and accepts a huge treasure reward. The gang uses the treasure in a ruse to return to the Caribbean so the captain can claim the coveted "Pirate of the Year" award. The ruse is discovered, leaving the captain without the treasure, his bird or any self-respect. He decides to go back and rescue his bird from the evil queen who plans to eat it as part of a secret society that consumes rare animals.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits has plenty of clever jokes and warm-hearted humor that most kids will enjoy, if not understand completely. The absurd mixture of real historical figures and contemporary pop culture can be a stretch for little kids, while the silly premise might leave a few adults yawning.
Either way, The Pirates! Band of Misfits has a little bit of comedy treasure for everyone, even if you might need a map to find it.