The Pirates! Band of Misfits: It’s a Plunderful Life
by Andrew E. Lindsay
you put Pirates
of the Caribbean
into a blender with Wallace
what you’d probably get is a movie milkshake that tastes a lot
Pirates! Band of Misfits. This
is the latest offering from Aardman Animations, the production
company responsible for a slew of Wallace
and a whole bunch of other really amazing stop-motion movies and
shorts that are also amazingly funny.
you’ve never seen any of the Wallace and Gromit films, you
should stop reading this review and go do that now, so that when I
tell you this is incredibly good stop-motion animation you won’t
be thinking Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer
These claymation characters are weird and wonderful and very real,
with facial expressions and movement that mimic the best human
humor tends to be a bit on the British side, rather cerebral as well
as slapstick, with an expectation that the audience can keep up with
their very steady, very funny pace. The funny business also tends to
be layered, so that subsequent viewings produce additional
discoveries of extra funny bits and pieces that were buried in the
background before, but now become just as amusing as the main action.
So, it’s important to pay attention to the props and little
details because there’s a gold mine of funny gems just below
I know, now I’m mixing metaphors like a cat on a hot fudge
sundae. And I have no idea what that means.
Grant provides the voice of The Pirate Captain, known to his crew and
victims alike as, The Pirate Captain. Other pirate crew members
include The Albino Pirate, The Pirate with a Scarf, The Pirate with
Gout, The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate, and The Pirate Who Likes
Sunsets and Kittens.
also encounter other pirates in the course of the movie, such as The
Pirate King, Cutlass Liz, Peg Leg Hastings, and Black Bellamy. As the
story opens, we meet Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton), who has very
little use for pirates and wants them all hunted down. The Pirate
Captain is not at all worried about this because his attentions are
focused on winning the coveted “Pirate of the Year”
award, despite having failed for many years and suffering public
humiliation in the pirate community.
to prove himself worthy of the award, he sets out with his faithful
and feckless crew to loot and plunder every ship on the seven seas in
search of booty. Sadly, they only seem capable of attacking worthless
targets, ships on school field trips, plague ships, a ghost ship, and
so on. Ultimately, they attack a scientific ship and meet Charles
Darwin (David Tennant).
becomes intrigued with The Pirate Captain’s parrot, Polly, who
turns out not to be a parrot at all, but the only known living Dodo.
Darwin convinces The Pirate Captain to return with him to London for
a “Scientist of the Year” contest, where Polly is a
shoe-in for first prize.
course, there’s a price on the head of all pirates, although
The Pirate Captain’s price is admittedly rather small, since
he’s never really amounted to much, piracy-wise. Nonetheless,
they all accompany Charles Darwin back to England, variously
disguised as scientists and Girl Scouts, and enter Polly in the
competition. Winning the contest comes with a promise of great
riches, but The Pirate Captain is soon forced to choose what is most
valuable to him, after all.
is not a movie that will change your life. There is no great nugget
of wisdom that will be endowed upon you if you spend 88 minutes
watching this instead of washing the car. There is no “aha”
moment when you will suddenly see the purpose of life more clearly
than you did before you started watching. But I would skip washing
the car any day of the week to watch this movie.
a technical standpoint, try imagining just how complicated the
animation process itself is to make so many things move in celluloid
synchronicity. That alone is terribly impressive. Beyond that,
however, is the fact that this movie is funny piled on top of other
funny, wrapped up in more funny. In fact, do yourself the favor of
watching all of the end credits and you’ll be rewarded with a
great deal of the funny props and gags that were scattered throughout
the movie put on display for just long enough to pick up on a bunch
of jokes you missed the first time round.
is pretty safe family fare, despite the comical depictions of
pirate-like violence. The language is tame, and there is plenty for
everyone to laugh at. Very young viewers will find some things
inherently funny, while older viewers will grasp more of the jokes
and innuendo. All in all, I think there is very little here to
complain about and a whole lot to just enjoy. I could be wrong, of
course, but to err
is human. To arrrgh!
Andy Lindsay can frequently be overheard engaged in conversations that consist entirely of repeating lines of dialogue from movies, a genetic disorder he has passed on to his four children and one which his wife tolerates but rarely understands. When Andy's not watching a movie he's probably talking about a movie or thinking about a movie.
Or, because his family likes to eat on a somewhat regular basis, he just might be working on producing a TV commercial or a documentary or a corporate video or a short film. His production company is Barking Shark Creative, and you can check out his work here www.barkingshark.com.
Andy grew up in Frederick, Maryland, but migrated south to North Carolina where he met his wife, Deborah, who wasn't his wife then but later agreed to take the job. Their children were all born and raised in Greensboro, but are in various stages of growing up and running away.
Andy (or Anziano Lindsay, as he was known then) served a full-time mission for the Church in Italy, and today he teaches Sunday School, works with the Scouts, and is the Stake Video Historian.