The Pirates! Band of Misfits didn’t even make me smile, let alone laugh, and from the sound of it, the same went for the rest of the audience in the theater. Pirates is based on the first of a series of books written by Gideon Dafoe, and is the latest stop-motion clay animated movie from the critically acclaimed Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit, Arthur Christmas). Lacking humor, imagination and a creative way to extend its unique animation into the 3D realm, Pirates ain’t no Chicken Run.
Our hero is the prideful Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), a too friendly for his own good swashbuckler who annually gets shown up and humiliated by rivals (among them Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven, both featured far too little) for the Pirate of the Year Award. Determined to turn the tide and finally win the award, Captain and crew attempt to steal all the booty from unsuspecting ships, only to consistently fail. On board the ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant), they yet again find no treasure but learn that their beloved parrot actually is a rare dodo bird. The scheming Darwin, along with his chimpanzee sidekick (evolution, get it?) suggest he enter the bird in what is basically a science fair hosted by Queen Victoria, who happens to detest pirates.
Maybe I just missed the British humor (I didn’t), but sitting through Pirates is a rather dull experience, with scene after scene of little to no action. The comedy is obvious and contrived, like an anchor being dropped on someone’s head. Nothing new there. Making an ass out of the Queen and Darwin is fine, but there’s a certain point where you begin to not care (like when they overdo it). This is especially the case for Darwin, who is clowned out so much that I threw my hands up and asked for mercy for the poor guy. The only jokes that landed were the self-reflexive ones, and those were rare.
Chicken Run came out in 2000, and despite 12 years passing the claymation has yet to grow old. I am still amazed by its oddball look and movement. However, Pirates is in 3D and must make the extra dimension worthwhile. Animation is where 3D is generally best utilized, since it’s easy to add depth to the picture and have a few things pop out of the screen. None of that is applies here, though, making the 3D glasses just an unnecessary accessory at the theater.
I understand the success and appeal of Aardman Animations, but I don’t get the overwhelming positive reviews of Pirates thus far. Considering it’s a children’s flick, I found Pirates for the most part to be surprisingly devoid of entertainment. And this is from the guy who does weekly pro wrestling reviews.
After seeing the "new Superman" I thought it was alright but, I kind of hoped…
Gerwig is so awesome all-around. Would love to give her hugs and be friends. :)
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Cant wait to watch it!