By Kyle Poland
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” the latest animated feature from director Peter Lord of the Wallace and Gromit franchise, is back with star power this time. Hugh Grant voices the Pirate Captain, Salma Hayek voices Cutlass Liz, and Jeremy Piven is Black Bellamy.
Big name actors have started to be more excited about the animated medium, leading to better and better movies. It used to be enough for an animated movie to just be sufficient for the kids to enjoy. That is no longer the case with movies like Hugo, Adventures of Tin Tin, and WALL-E getting Oscar love in the Best Picture category. Now you have to make a film that’s entertaining for everyone.
I am happy to report that Pirates is a solid film for all ages. It revolves around a misfit crew lead by the pirate captain trying to win the Pirate of the Year award. The Captain has to try to beat out the vicious Cutlass Liz and the silver-tongued Black Bellamy for the award, all while trying to avoid the pirate-hating Queen Victoria. The pirate captain seems hopeless until he happens across Charles Darwin, who informs him that the crew’s supposed parrot is actually the last remaining dodo in the world.
The movie’s consistently funny Darwin character is both a coward and madly in love with Queen Victoria. A joke like this is clearly intended only for adults who can appreciate treating the father of evolution with such disrespect. The movie is paced well, and at just under 90 minutes it never feels too slow. There are so many little jokes, the credits serve as a callback for some that viewers may have missed.
This film may not have as much social awareness as a WALL-E, but it is still a fun movie for families, as well as for a date night. I give it a solid 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it highly.