The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) desperately wants the accolades that come with being Pirate of the Year and to beat his bitter rivals - Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek.) He wants it so bad that he can taste it, but his crew is a bunch of misfits not well groomed for piracy or collecting booty (the measure by which a pirate is rated.)
In his search for booty, he stumbles upon the research ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant). When Charles sees the Pirate Captain's bird Polly (a DoDo bird), he persuades him with the stories of riches from the scientific society and gets him to London.
Queen Victoria's London, however, does not like pirates and Pirate Captain is no exception, but when the Queen spies the DoDo bird, she says she absolutely must have the bird for her petting zoo. He is reluctant to sell but when the Queen (Imelda Stauton) pardons the Pirate Captain, and agrees to buy the bird with
gold. Much to the disappointment of his crew, especially No 2 man, the Pirate with the scarf, (Martin Freeman) he gives in. Others, as the Pirate with Gout (Brendan Gleeson) and the Curvaceous
Pirate (Ashley Jensen) also speak up.
Realizing that he cannot win Pirate of the Year, realizing that he misses Polly, he decides that he must rescue her. Sneaking into London alone, he discovers to his horror that Charles Darwin has been dupped, as has he. The Queen plans on eating the bird! With the help of Charles and his pet monkey man (very cute), the Pirate Captain boards the Queen's vessel and rescues his bird, learning in the process that it's not what you want but who you are that's really important. In chasing the flashy prize, he learns that what he loves the most, he risks losing.
The Aardman production, Pirates! Band of Misfits, done in association with Sony Animation,
was directed by Peter Lord, and had numerous laughs for adults, who understood the double meanings, and for kids, who didn't. I would rate it a 9 for kids and a 7 for adults. The setting and props looked unbelievably real.
Written by Gideon Defore, based on his book The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, the script was executive produced by Carla Shelley. Co- director was Jeff Newitt and music was by Theodore Shapiro.
Shown in Real 3-D, which is the flatter version of 3D, unlike the IMAX, which comes out at you, the movie, nevertheless, left an impression with many of the audience. The technique was stop motion, used often by Aardman and has helped them win four Oscars.
Charles Darwin was, unfortunately, not portrayed as the true scientist he was, nor was Queen Victoria shown in a good light, and that can be upsetting for many history buffs, but the story line of finding what is right for you is one that should resonate with many viewers.
The film will be released April 27, 2012, in theatres around the nation, but has not yet been rated. For more information see www.thepirates-movie.com