Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great voices, unpredictable story

Not a Wallace & Gromit claymation style fan

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pirates! Band of Misfits

Studio:  Aardman Animations

Genre(s):  Animated/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  March 28, 2012 (UK)/April 27, 2012 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


Behold! The wonder and glory of the dodo!!!

The Pirate Captain is the captain of one of the worst group of pirates in the Caribbean.  They stink at plundering, have no respect from the other pirates, and their mascot is the fattest parrot you’ve ever seen.  When the Pirate Captain enters the Pirate of the Year contest, it seems hopeless again.  When the Pirate Captain raids a ship transporting Charles Darwin, Darwin realizes that the parrot Polly is actually a believed to be extinct dodo.  The Pirate Captain decides to risk a trip to Queen Victoria’s pirate-hating England and finds fame as Polly’s owner.  Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin have other plans for Polly, and the Pirate Captain faces a temptation that could destroy his crew.


Taking London by storm!

Directed by Wallace and Gromit director Peter Lord (with co-director Jeff Newitt), Pirates! Band of Misfits loosely adapts Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe (and was titled this many parts of the world).  The movie did raise controversy with its trailer which featured a leper colony, and the film was changed when agencies representing people with leprosy complained.  It was met with positive reviews and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (losing to Disney’s Brave).

The story of Pirates! Band of Misfits does take a lot of twists and turns.  What seems like a story about pirates being hunted by a queen bent on destroying them becomes a film about a pirate trying to win pirate of the year…which quickly becomes a film about a dodo.  It is pretty unusual to have an animated film focus around an extinct bird, Queen Victoria, and Charles Darwin.


The last call for Polly?

With subjects like these, Pirates! Band of Misfits does not seem like a kids’ movie.  I have mixed feelings about this because I think modern animated films try to appeal too much to the adults since they are the ones having to see them and more importantly pay for them.  In Pirates! Band of Misfits however, it feels like they weren’t even trying for a kids’ audience.  The movie just didn’t happen to have swearing and cursing so kids just got in.  There are few kids who will get jokes about the Elephant Man and Darwin’s Origin of Species.


Queen Victoria…ninja!

I love claymation and the movie did a great job getting great voice actors.  Despite being a claymation fan, I’m not a huge Wallace and Gromit fan and kind of avoided this film.  It was a mistake since besides the actual look, Pirates! Band of Misfits feels like its own creation.  The movie is backed by some great actors including Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Brendan Gleeson, and Ashley Jensen.  Surprisingly, for the UK and the US versions a couple voices were switched out.  Russell Tovey (of Being Human) plays the Albino Pirate but in the US it is played by Anton Yelchin (of Star Trek).  The other change was Ben Whitehead as the Pirate Who Like Sunsets and Kittens in the UK but in the US TV weatherman Al Roker did the voice.

Pirates!  Band of Misfits is a fun film, but it doesn’t really feel like a kids’ film at all.  The jokes and style of the movie seem to be aimed at adults despite the animation and though a child will probably enjoy it, it would play better to an older audience.  With a big success, the movie has bounced around the possibility of a sequel in the future.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response