For a movie where the previews seemed shockingly awful, The PIRATES! Band of Misfits somehow managed to be far worse than my subterraneanly low expectations. For a cross between Spongebob Squarepants and any other horrendous Nickelodeon cartoon, you would think that there would at least be some subverted adult humor that would make the ninety minute flick somewhat bearable. Instead, all of the adult humor was blatant and incredibly dumb, and what was left was a mess of a plot, ending in utter pointlessness.
I promise I’m not being harsh – there are lots of dumb movies that I really enjoy, and I probably like too many “bad” movies to be credible. Plus, there isn’t an animated kid’s movie I haven’t seen. But, for this atrocity, everything from the poor animation to the shallow characters and the misappropriation of historical figures (like Queen Victoria and Jane Austen) makes this a giant flop.
The scene is set in London 1837, and Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) makes the horrific discovery that the British navy had all but dominated the seven seas, with the exception of a few rogue pirates. And, according to the royal crest, she hates pirates. This becomes one of the main themes throughout the movie, and plays into several things that happen later on.
In the meantime, the ship manned by the aptly named Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), is headed to Blood Island, the location of the annual Pirate of the Year Awards. Pirate Captain has his heart set on winning this year, though the competition is particularly tough. After being made laughingstocks by the other more “piratey pirates,” Pirate Captain and his crew (and his parrot Polly) set out to earn more pirate booty to get back in the running.
After several unsuccessful attempts at pillaging ships, the pirates come across the ship of one Charles Darwin. Yeah, you read that right. And from here, the movie just loses all sense of normalcy. Charles Darwin (David Tennant) is made out to be some creepy, lonely loser who tries to steal Polly, after discovering that she is not a parrot, but instead an exotic, extinct dodo bird, and all to impress his secret crush, the anti-pirate Queen Victoria. Instead, Darwin’s plan is foiled by the antics of Pirate Captain and his misfit crew.
The movie’s somewhat confusing plot ultimately leads to the big question and overarching “theme” (I use this term loosely), which is: What’s more important? Pirate booty, or the “real” treasure – friends. I suppose this could suffice for some as an acceptable conclusion, and possibly a good lesson for kids to learn – but really, it’s more of an afterthought in the grand scheme of the plot.
Though the movie isn’t ALL bad (there are a few funny instances involving Darwin’s trained monkey-butler), the overall experience really falls short in everything from the poor, choppy animation, to the boring voice acting (from the likes of actors such as Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven) and the awful attempts at humor. Truthfully, I don’t know that I could even say that this movie had the potential to be good.
If you still feel the need to see this movie, all I can say is: ye have been warned, matey! Okay, I will admit, that was a terrible thing to do. Incredibly lame – but hey, so was this mess of a movie.
The PIRATES! Band of Misfits – 5/10