Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012 movie)

Aardman, the folks behind Wallace and Gromit, combine old-school stop-motion animation with computer imagery to produce a reasonably entertaining comedy.

I found it interesting that the entire lower faces of characters were made in dozens of different expressions and mouth positions, changed as often as every frame. There was an obvious seam where the parts of the face came together, but the seams were digitally removed. The ocean and distant backgrounds are also computer generated.

The protagonist is a pirate captain, called Pirate Captain, who leads a likable crew known as the Pirate with a Scarf, the Pirate with Gout, the Albino Pirate, the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate, and the Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens (the last voiced by The Today Show’s Al Roker). Made fun of by more successful pirates, Pirate Captain hopes to reverse his fortunes when he captures Charles Darwin, who informs him that his overweight parrot is in fact a dodo, the rarest bird on Earth, and sure to win a fabulous prize if presented to the Royal Society. But Darwin, it transpires, is not being entirely forthright. Meanwhile, pirate-hating Queen Victoria is scheming diabolically.

The story is loosely based on a series of children’s novels by Gideon Defoe. I wouldn’t rate it as high as, say, the Wallace and Gromit film Curse of the Were-Rabbit, but I liked it, and it has the gently deranged attitude you expect from Aardman.

Link to trailer: http://youtu.be/Tqtcj20Z778

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