|Movie poster for The Pirates! Band of Misfits|
We opted for the 2D version as we didn't think the 3D one would offer much more in terms of special effects.
As a result, tickets were not much of a problem and we got some comfortable seats that also vibrate depending on the sound effects.
This is the fifth feature-length film by Aardman Animations and director Peter Lord and his crew have come up with a great pirate adventure that is a visual and audio feast full of laughs.
I could hardly recognize Hugh Grant's voice as the Pirate Captain who is constantly praised for his "luxuriant beard", and he leads a rag-tag group on a rickety boat pillaging whichever ships they come across.
He wants to enter the Pirate of the Year contest, but his chances are practically nil when his competition includes Black Bellamy voiced by Jeremy Piven and the seductive Cutlass Liz with the voice of Salma Hayek.
But how can Pirate Captain prove his worth?
He somehow gets mixed up with Charles Darwin and the scientist realizes Pirate Captain's feathery companion is not a parrot but the last surviving Dodo bird...
And then all heck breaks loose and it also involves a sword-wielding Queen Victoria.
The attention to detail in this movie is amazing. In the opening scene there's a fight on the pirate ship and one pirate uses a live lobster to beat up another, complete with the crustacean's eyes blinking. Queen Victoria's motto is "I hate pirates" engraved on her crown and the creators had fun naming the various shops and pubs in 19th century London.
Pirate Captain's crew are definitely a band of misfits -- there's Albino Pirate, Pirate with Prosthetics, and Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate who is actually a woman but no one seems to notice or question why her beard is different.
Apparently I missed a few quirky details in the film, such as the bumper sticker on the back of the ship that says "Honk if you're seasick" and Queen Victoria's treasure room has a gold Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit.
We also loved Darwin's sidekick, Mister Bobo who was adept at using flash cards to say his lines. Darwin says of him: "I thought that if you took a monkey, gave him a monocle and covered up his gigantic unsightly behind, then he would cease to be a monkey and become more of a... Man-Panzee if you will."
The Pirates! Band of Misfits wasn't knee-slapping hilarity, but good fun.