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The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Movie Review

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Get ready to laugh. The artists behind Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run are sailing the high seas in their new claymation movie, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Aardman Animations, based on England, continue to perfect the art of claymation entertainment. This new film about a less than heroic pirate and his shabby shipmates’ adventures is family-friendly and, at times, incredibly funny.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits is by no means a history lesson (Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin are characters). Think of it like a more family-friendly option compared to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, with less violence and more clay.


The Pirate Captain has one dream – to win the Pirate of the Year Award. To do that, he’ll have to break his losing streak and beat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz. Prize in mind, The Pirate Captain and his motley crew hoist their Jolly Roger and leave the Spanish Main looking for adventure and spoils to prove he has what it takes to be named Pirate of the Year. His quest tests his courage, loyalty and wit – and his determination to win, no matter what.


Hugh Grant, whom audiences will know from films such as Notting Hill and About a Boy, is the voice of our unlikely hero, The Pirate Captain. His second in command, whom he likes to call No. 2, is The Pirate with a Scarf, voiced by Martin Freeman (a well-known British actor who is currently filming The Hobbit with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson). British actors Imelda Staunton (Chicken Run, Nanny McPhee) and David Tennant (Doctor Who) voice the roles of Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin, respectively. Brendan Gleeson (Braveheart), Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Selma Hayek (Frida), Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and even TV weatherman Al Roker round out the cast in roles with names such as The Pirate with Gout, Black Bellamy, Cutlass Liz, The Albino Pirate, The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens and more.

With a message of treasuring what’s most important above all else, The Pirates! Band of Misfits shows how fame and fortune are shallow riches. Loving things instead of people will leave you wanting – a lesson The Pirate Captain must learn. You also get the sense that the filmmakers are making a statement about the plight of endangered animals. World leaders are painted in a nasty light, with Queen Victoria as the villain. As previously mentioned, this movie is a complete work of fiction. In fact, the Queen was a beloved monarch. Though she and other pirate-hunting royals prosecuted pirates for their crimes, she was not the scallywag she appears to be in this story.

Captain Jack Sparrow can be comical, but these clay pirates have some downright hilarious moments. The script is layered with so much pirate lingo and humor it might even be hard for some moviegoers, especially young ones to catch all of the dry British humor. All in all, the film delivers an enjoyable 3D movie experience.

Rated PG, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is fairly clean of offensive content. It's PG rating is in part to scary moments (ones that may be too intense for small children) and Selma Hayek's scantily clad pirate character, Cutlass Liz.


Aardman Animations should be proud of The Pirates! Band of Misfits. It is without a doubt the best feature film the studio has released since their witty and heartwarming movie, Chicken Run, back in 2000.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's