The Pirates! Band of Misfits is the first stop-motion Aardman film since Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Since stop-motion takes so much time, the studio stuck with computer animation for Flushed Away and Arthur Christmas. Although I appreciate the dedication, The Pirates! is a Sony production that wasn’t exactly the return I was expecting. CGI is still partially incorporated for impossible shots in the open sea. The Pirates! is adapted from a series of British novels. The first book’s title In an Adventure with Scientists had to be changed for American audiences.
The primarily British cast includes Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, and David Tennant. Even with such a talented cast, Band of Misfits is a pretty basic pirate adventure with a pirate captain simply known as Pirate Captain. His loyal crew is just as simple with the exception of a woman disguised as a man. The captain’s only goal is acquiring enough gold to win the coveted pirate of the year trophy. Until he and his crew wind up in an adventure with scientists. Like other Aardman productions, The Pirates! is pretty edgy with stabbing jokes, nudist jokes, and a joke about leprosy that had to be removed.
I expected modern slang, but I didn’t expect Queen Victoria or Charles Darwin to have such a crucial role in the story. Darwin is paired with a monkey butler and seeks the captain’s dodo bird for scientific recognition. His presence is uncomfortable since I’m strongly opposed to evolution. I know Queen Victoria probably wasn’t a saint, but she’s treated like an absolute monster who wants to eat the extinct animal. The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a good effort that will likely appeal to a small demographic.