110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Rated PG for some rude humor and mild violence
posted May 6, 2012 - 8:22:06am
This year is off to a great start with its second major animated film (following, of course, Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty) making quite a splash. Aardman Animations (the studio responsible for the Wallace & Gromit films) brings to life the quirky characters from Gideon Defoe’s books, and of course backs it up with a cast more than capable of producing some of the charm for which British films are known. Filled with beautiful animation and a taut script throwing around plenty of goofy one-liners, this kids’ movie finds plenty of ways not only to make the children in the audience laugh, but also bring a smile to their parents' faces.
The Pirates! Band of Misfitstells the clay-animated misadventures of Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) and his loyal crew (featuring the voices of Brendan Gleeson, Martin Freeman and Anton Yelchin) as they try to win the Pirate of the Year Award. The only problem is, Pirate Captain isn’t exactly a shining beacon of pillaging and plundering, which is why he and his crew set out on an adventure to swindle Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) with the help of scientist Charles Darwin (David Tennant). But the beloved Captain might be a little out of his depth in this latest adventure.
The movie features gorgeous animation, filled with detail and plenty of physical comedy that, when paired with the clay medium, is simply awe-inspiring. It’s so rare to see stop-motion these days (unless Tim Burton is working on his newest pet project) that it’s a treat just to see it up on the big screen.
Popcorn represents how fun a film is to watch—how funny it is, how exciting the special effects are, and how enjoyable the story is on repeated viewings. The perfect popcorn movie would be one that never got stale regardless of how many times you’ve seen it.
And no studio does it quite as well as Aardman. There’s little doubt that The Pirates! Band of Misfits will receive an Oscar nod this year. It’s almost unimaginable how much time and effort must have gone into carving out the tiny details in every scene, and putting together the fluid movements of the characters. The fact that this stunning animation is presented in 3D is just a cherry on top of the visual sundae.
Lead by Hugh Grant, The Pirates! Band of Misfits features a brilliant cast that really brings the characters to life in a film filled with enough wit and charm to dance its way through a story clearly geared toward the tinier audience members. It’s a movie adults can get through with some smiles. At times, though, it feels like it loses sight of itself and gets too wrapped up in looking pretty.
That being said, the film is a perfect family movie, safe for the little ones and even a little fun for the big ones. However, it probably doesn’t hold much merit beyond that. The Pirates! is a cute flick to recommend to a mom or dad, but everyone else might want to pass on another hour of a half of Hugh Grant being so awkward that it passes as charm (like always).
Stars & Popcorn grade: 3 stars, 3 1/2 popcorn
— Born and raised in the sunshine state, Patrick grew up loving movies. He’s currently attending the University of Central Florida and is a Cinema Studies major. Along with being the president of Stars and Popcorn, he’s a player in the independent comics scene.
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