On a good day, the 320 crew members, 33 animators and 41 shooting units could produce about six seconds of stop-motion film for the new Aardman Studios Claymation-style movie The Pirates! Band of Misfits. No wonder, when you figure in creating 112 animated characters and massive sets – the pirate boat, alone, weighed almost 800 lbs. – it took five years to complete this charming cinematic treat. The movie revolves around the Pirate Captain’s (yep, that’s the main character’s name) quest to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Trophy. The Pirate Captain is likeable but loopy…kind of like, oh, say, a popular contemporary actor, who is bedding one of the most beautiful women in the universe, but for some reason decides to pay a sleazy street prostitute $60 bucks to perform a sex act on him in his car, and then gets arrested by the LAPD. And speaking of Hugh Grant, he’s the perfect choice to voice the film’s hero.
How inept is the jolly Pirate Captain? Well, his wanted poster boasts a reward of 12 doubloons and a free pen! And if that answer puts a smile on your face, this is the movie for you. Follow Captain and his zany crew from Blood Island (so named because it’s the shape of blood????) to Victorian England. Along the way meet Charles Darwin, Queen Victoria (she hates pirates), Jane Austen, the Elephant Man, Polly the Parrot?, a card-communicating monkey, sea monsters, ghost ships, leper ships, nudist ships, carnivorous world leaders and the thank you, thank you very much Pirate King. This silly but sophisticated flick is a PG-rated crowd-pleaser the whole family will enjoy. Froggy and I were so smitten we saw it twice. Stop-motion films have come a long way since the original King Kong. I’ll take Aardman over Pixar any day!
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