Prepare to laugh your booty off. Complete with clever puns and a great deal of charm, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a fun-filled tale with plenty of heart.
Directed by Wallace & Gromit creators Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt, the film follows the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) and his crew as they try (often unsuccessfully) to create havoc on the Seven Seas. The Pirate Captain is a bit of joke amongst the pirating community, seeing that he doesn’t consider the cutlass or the booty the best parts of his job; he’d much rather have a Ham Night, in which him and his crew dedicate a night to feast on ham.
Though as enthusiastic and lovable as Pirate Captain is, he’s tired of being mediocre. When he sets off to win the prestigious Pirate of the Year Award for the umpteenth time, he’s once again shunned by rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven), Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek).
During a mission to steal some booty, he and his crew come into contact with a very lonely Charles Darwin (David Tennant) and his human-like chimp, Mister Bobo. Realizing that Pirate’s beloved bird, Polly, is actually the long-extinct Dodo, Darwin encourages the pirate to enter the Scientist of the Year competition at the Royal Academy in London for a valuable prize. Hoping that this will lead to much fortune, Pirate Captain directs his ship to London despite being warned of Queen Victoria’s (Imelda Staunton) hatred of pirates.Harbouring a massive crush on the queen, Darwin desires the prize to impress her and for much of the film, he tries hard to credit the Dodo discovery as his, while the Queen attempts to keep the rare bird for herself in exchange for treasured goods.
Based on British writer Gideon Defoe’s The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, the film is like a Monty Python film for children, with its witty puns and amusing source material, which will have you chuckling here and there. The DVD isn’t short on content either. Featuring a cute mini-movie, So You Want to be a Pirate!, an interactive flash card challenge with Mister Bobo, thoughtful commentary by the filmmakers and a DVD-Rom link to more fun and games online, this film is extremely family-friendly for parents with young kids.
(This review was published in Exclaim!)