Film Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Scene from The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant, right) swings into adventure in 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits', an animated film produced by Aardman Animation for Sony Pictures Animation. - Photo © 2011 Sony PIctures Animation

Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty

“I’m here for your gold.” “Afraid we don’t have any gold old man. This is a leper boat,” and once again Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) has bungled another looting adventure in the animated comedy, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

After 20 plus years of losing the coveted Pirate of the Year Award to other competitors, including Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), Pirate Captain and his loyal oddball crew set out determined to collect the most booty of all time to ensure a win. While striking out yet again and pillaging for gold, the Captain comes across a young and fairly unknown Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin, desperate not to walk the plank, tells the frustrated Pirate Captain that his pet parrot Polly might hold the key to endless riches. There’s one catch, in order to try to get the riches the Captain and his crew must go to London. This is extremely dangerous because Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) hates all pirates and would like nothing better than to string up Pirate Captain and his crew for all Londoners to see.

Not wanting to lose the title of Pirate of the Year once again, Pirate Captain and his crew decide to chance it and set sail for London and most likely certain doom.

Funny and silly, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is an animated adventure that benefits from a strong cast of voice talents bringing the characters to life. Hugh Grant is extremely effective as Pirate Captain, a well-meaning, glory-seeking, likable rogue who’s not all that bright. Imelda Staunton is perfectly cast as the overbearing, loud and obsessive Queen Victoria who wants to eliminate all pirates no matter how much it costs.

One of the few problems with the film is with the pacing, which is awkward and inconsistent. The movie slows to a crawl once the pirates arrive in London. When the pirates are fumbling a looting raid or being chased by enemies, the slapstick and one-liner jokes is very entertaining, but then the film slams on the brakes for way too much dialogue between the goofy characters and it loses both the children and the adults attention in the audience.

Another waste is the 3D which is only utilized by the filmmakers a few times to have Pirate Captain point his sword at the audience. It’s a complete waste of money for the movie-going public.

Still, with a solid cast and an adventure with plenty of laughs, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a fun family film which should be seen for the matinee price. So get ready to weight anchor and set sail to a movie theatre near you, matey.


The Pirates! Band of Misfits hits theaters on April 27, 2012 and is rated PG for mild action, rude humor and some language.