"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Friday, February 26, 2021

Movie Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

 Ahoy, mates!

Step aboard my ship as I write out this review! We will be waging war with the high seas, so hold on and enjoy!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012):

Also known as The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!
Based on: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! - by Gideon Defoe.
The Pirates are happy with their rooting and plundering, except they haven’t had any luck lately. No matter, as they have more important things to attend to, like the Pirate of the Year competition which they hope the Pirate Captain will win! Their chances are looking slim next to the others, so they decide to get more gold to show how impressive they are. After looting a ship that turns out to be only a science expedition they run into Charles Darwin who recognizes the Pirate’s “parrot” to be a dodo! He makes the case that Polly could gain him back some prestige in the Scientist of the Year awards. The Pirates agree to help him in order to get enough gold to win the Pirate of the Year competition. Everything seems to be going well, but is the tide about the turn?
Animated, Adventure, Claymation.

Length: approx. 88 minutes.
Script: 9, blast! I can’t remember if there were any bad words and swearing or not. I’m giving this a tentative score of 9 because of that.
Crew: Directed by: Peter Lord & Jeff Newitt. Written by: Gideon Defoe.
Starring the voices of:
Hugh Grant as The Pirate Captain.
Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, Anton Yelchin, Ashley Jensen, Al Roker, & Ben Whitehead as his crew.

David Tennant as Charles Darwin.

Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria.
Jeremy Piven as Black Bellamy.
Salma Hayek as Cutlass Liz.
Brian Blessed as The Pirate King.
Lenny Henry as Peg Leg Hastings.
Mike Cooper as Admiral Collingwood.
David Schneider as Scarlett Morgan.
Tom Doggart, Sophie Jerrold, Sophie Laughton, Peter Lord, Kayvan Novak, & David Schaal provide additional voices.
Costumes: 6, there is a time when someone is sitting in a bathtub but not wearing anything for a few minutes and though we don’t see anything, it’s still inappropriate and not particularly funny. There are low costumes, too.
Animation: 9, I’m partial to claymation so I like it a lot. I think it’s a unique and fun style! I like how all of the characters were made to look.
Animation by:
Aardman Animations.

Music: 6, not “bad” but not memorable in any way. It does capture the “piraty feel” in places.
Music by: Theodore Shapiro.
Quotability: 7, nothing really comes to mind except this:
“It’s treacherous villainy! It’s villainous treachery!”
Content: 6, there is crude humor involving pirates, drinking, suggestive things, and killing. I thought it was a little vulgar in places, but from what I read of the book (2/3) it is tame. It’s mostly suitable for kids, who are the main audience.
Originality: 8, I wouldn’t go overboard and say I’ve never seen anything like it, but there are some fun elements.
Good For: anyone who likes claymation, families.
Age Range: I’d say the range for this movie is about from 8 up, but when you get to a certain age you might just be bored of it, which is understandable. It depends on the person.
Overall Score: 7.
Worth watching?:
Yes, actually! You might’ve thought that this review was going downhill, but there was a kernel of gold hidden within. It had a really good message which I’ll talk about that more in a minute.

Will I watch again?: If I had nothing else to do, then maybe. Or if I was sick. Actually, this seems like it would be a very good movie to watch if you are ill because it will make you laugh and feel better!

For the blogathon:
This is my second entry in Hamlette’s We ❤ Pirates Week! You won’t want to miss plundering the list of participants HERE

I’d had notes on this movie for awhile so when Hamlette announced it I jumped aboard ship immediately!

I had originally planned to review the book, too, and compare the two, but 2/3 into the audiobook I gave up because I couldn’t stand it anymore. You see, it’s just that I highly dislike satire. I have a really hard time understanding it and that is not my kind of humor at all. My sister said, “I told you so.”

I had gone into the book expecting it to be a fun and cute romp with pirates like the movie but instead was given nothing but cruelty and parody and satire. Not my kind of thing at all. From what I read, the plots hardly matched up! Therefore I was surprised by this little introduction from the Pirate Captain:

“...You see, there’s a good chance that in your more enlightened times of hover boards and A-semetrical haircuts, a daring theatrical impresario will have decided to adapt my exciting adventure with scientists into some sort of morion picture to be exhibited at your local zoetrope club. Probably, you will notice how the motion picture contains a number of differences from the book you are now listening to. I would like to reassure you that this is not because of any sinister plot to rewrite history, it’s simply that certain things are better suited to the page than to the inside of a spinning metal drum. For example, it may be that the villain in said motion picture is Queen Victoria rather than the diabolical bishop of Oxford...
“...And perhaps the motion picture contains an entire plot to do with me owning a dodo, which is obviously a ridiculous and unlikely flight of fancy. Though I would very much like to own a dodo instead of our idiot parrot, Gary, who is frankly, a nuisance. But, rest assured, that in both zoetrope display and book, my beard is still luxuriant, Black Bellamy is still a fiend with eyes of the darkest pitch, and there’s still a good bit where a chimpanzee gets dressed up in a waistcoat, and most importantly, at no point does anybody mistakenly think it is somehow inherently funny to “talk like a pirate”....”
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! - by Gideon Defoe.

I couldn’t fathom how this little note could be so accurate to something that was so different. The answer: Gideon Defoe, the author of the book, also wrote the screenplay. I’m very pleased with all of the changes that he made, which is such a rare thing for me to say.

If you haven’t experienced either then you might wonder why I’m so surprised so I’ll explain. The book is supposed to be full of humor for the sake of humor. It showed pirates as resembling real pirates with killing and cruelty willy-nilly. That’s not what I want to talk about, as this is Hamlette’s We ❤ Pirates Week! We want to talk about why we like them!

So why do we like pirates, and does that change from the book to the movie for any reason?

Yes, it does change. In the book it’s all about what the next adventure is, whereas the message of this movie is family. None of the pirates are actually related, but they are a crew and work together through it all. I think that is one of the many charms fictional pirates bring us, a camaraderie to bring them through the hardest storms.

“What is the best part of being a pirate?” Well, that’s exactly what is answered in this movie. Maybe memories and companionship are the real gold.

Thanks to Hamlette for hosting! Make sure to check out the participants HERE.

Thanks for reading! Has anyone else seen this? What is your favorite claymation movie? Why do you think that we like pirates so much?



  1. I've seen this movie around, but it always looked a little crass, so I avoided it. Maybe I'll try it one of these days.

    1. Rachel, it definitely gets close to being crass sometimes, but I recommend it more than the book!

  2. Huh. I've never heard of this movie. Maybe I'll try watching it at some point.

    1. Yeah, it's not well-known. They were planning on making a sequel but this one wasn't that big of a hit.

  3. Blogger published my comment before I was finished again. *sighs*
    Anyway, I was going to say it doesn't look like a "me" movie, but you never know. Great review, as always.

    1. Ugh, it's done that to me before. WordPress gives me more troubles, but Blogger can still be annoying.
      I agree. The plot is more fitting for younger viewers. Thank you for reading, though!

  4. I've been meaning to watch this one, mainly for David Tennant.

  5. I've never seen this, but holy cow, that cast for the voice work! Wow. If I ever run across this, I'll have to see it just for them.

    Thanks for joining the party!

    1. It is impressive! I watched it because of Hugh Grant, but my favorite characters were voiced by Martin Freeman and Brendan Gleeson!

      My hat's off to you again for hosting it!

  6. I'm pretty sure I got this from Blockbuster with my dad not long after it came out. I'd totally forgotten about it! I didn't realize the amount of big names in this movie at the time, I should rewatch it now that I know who some of the names are.

    1. I also meant to put in my comment that my current two favourite claymations are Coraline and ParaNorman.

    2. That's similar to me! I watched it very soon after it came out, but it wasn't until this last time that I recognized how many voices I know from other things.
      My sisters hate Coraline, but I think there are cool elements in the claymation, so good choice. I remember when ParaNorman came out, but never tried it. Maybe one of these days! One of my favorite claymation movies is Kubo and the Two Strings.


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