These Pirates are far more apt to say “Ahem” than “Yargh!”
“The Pirates: Band of Misfits” revolves around a comically inept Pirate Captain and his crew, who, in spite of being miserably inept on the high seas, insist on entering the Captain’s name in the annual “Pirate of the Year” competition. Having lost for over 20 consecutive years, their chances are slim. They’d actually be lucky just to avoid humiliation. They enter the competition regardless, however, partially to save face in front of Jeremy Piven and Salma Hayek’s more flamboyant Pirate characters.
While plundering and blundering their way along the high seas, consistently attacking ships with nothing to offer in the way of loot, a bizarre thing happens. Their “Parrot” is discovered to actually be a rare Dodo bird, long thought to be extinct. This causes the crew to shift gears temporarily and seek out the Scientist of the Year Award, in the mistaken belief that they can take the prize money earned and pass it off as booty, thus increasing their chances of winning Pirates of the Year. Unfortunately for them, this detours them back to England, where Queen Victoria is bitterly against Pirates. Their cover is soon blown, and the battle to escape – with their bird – is on.
“The Pirates: Band of Misfits” is wonderfully animated via claymation – a style that is really, really a lot of fun to watch. And here, the animation is fantastic. I don’t know that I can recommend the 3D aspect of the film, but aside from that, the movie is absolutely gorgeous to watch. The characters are all colorful, literally and figuratively, and the claymation lends a quirky sensibility to the entire movie.
Unfortunately, the film’s “sensibilities” are where it began to lose me a little bit. Namely its sense of humor. It is farrrrr to wry and dry for my taste. Now, understand that humor is a tough thing to universalize, so what I personally didn’t find funny, I recognize that others may find hysterical. That said, the humor here was subtle, clever and witty but… almost to a fault. I don’t know how to explain it, it just didn’t connect fully with me. I found it way too understated. Where’s the line between understated humor and just simply not being funny? Couple that with the fact that the action sequences fall way below my typical expectations for an animated movie, and you can begin to understand why I can’t give the movie an overly enthusiastic grade.
That concession aside, the movie was funny enough, and gorgeously animated as I mentioned before, it’s a solid movie to sit and watch from a visual standpoint. Plus I fully recognize that just because the humor isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, doesn’t mean that others wont love it. I would caution parents thinking of bringing their young ones though. The children in the audience I watched it with – who were DYING with laughter during the “Despicable Me 2” Barbara Ann/Party Favor teaser trailer – were pretty much stone-cold silent the entire movie through. NOT a good sign. Personally? I think a lot of the jokes here are going to be WAY too subtle for kids.