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The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 144
Fresh: 124 | Rotten: 20

It may not quite scale Aardman's customary delirious heights, but The Pirates! still represents some of the smartest, most skillfully animated fare that modern cinema has to offer.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 2

It may not quite scale Aardman's customary delirious heights, but The Pirates! still represents some of the smartest, most skillfully animated fare that modern cinema has to offer.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 85,035

My Rating

Movie Info

In The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain - a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much


Animation, Kids & Family, Comedy


Gideon Defoe

Aug 28, 2012


Sony Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on The Pirates! Band of Misfits

December 27, 2012:
Best Movies Off the Radar 2012
The Avengers. The Dark Knight Rises. Skyfall. There were plenty of highly-anticipated, critically...
April 27, 2012:
Critics Consensus: The Pirates! Band of Misfits Is Certified Fresh
This week at the multiplex, we've got a little something for everyone. There's Aardman's stop-motion...


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All Critics (145) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (124) | Rotten (20) | DVD (1)

The action is beautifully staged, delightful, and exciting.

May 7, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The filmmakers have said they are already dreaming up a sequel. They needn't hurry. Whatever treasures these pirates have are well buried.

April 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Comments (18)
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To paraphrase a certain man with a certain luxuriant beard, it's only impossible to enjoy if you stop to think about it.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pirates are right up there with vampires, werewolves and people saying "LOL" out loud on the list of Played-Out Pop Culture Phenomena, but leave it to Aardman Animation to find the remaining reservoirs of fun in a bunch of seafaring scalawags.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: TheWrap
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This pirate tale is a misguided adventure that doesn't fully set sail.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Comments (2)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Designed to please all generations of irreverent humour-lovers, The Pirates! Band of Misfits may not be heart-warming (it is about nasty, scurvy pirates!) but it's breezy rollicking fun.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Funny for families of all ages, this animated comedy is a rare and delightful treat.

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: John Hanlon Reviews
John Hanlon Reviews

This is one of the few times I watched something from Aardman and found myself watching the clock...

February 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

This is a good Aardman Animations feature, from a studio that's proved itself capable of being better than good.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Toledo Blade
Toledo Blade

The Pirates! Band of Misfits is cinematic booty that shines like gold.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The Pirates! is the first truly great animated film of the year: a painstakingly-modelled laugh riot that boggles the mind while tickling the funnybone.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source:

It's got great vocal talent and well-done animation, but it proves once again that the story is the key ingredient.

September 15, 2012 Full Review Source:

A rollicking good time that offers enough broad comedy mixed with more cerebral sight gags to ensure this will be a family favourite for years to come.

September 15, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

It's full of jokes for adults that will fly right over kids' heads, but retains just enough plot conflict and slapstick to keep younger audiences involved as well.

September 12, 2012 Full Review Source:

The Aardman folks might not have created a pirate film to rival the big screen's best, but they've created a subtle parody of pirate movies that's well worth watching.

August 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Yes, the film feels childish, but in the best possible way.

August 25, 2012 Full Review Source: CraveOnline

There's comic treasure in this animated feature

May 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

... enough amusing throwaway gags to keep us entertained.

May 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

The Pirates! Band of Misfits deserves two doubloons up. It shivered me funny bone.

May 16, 2012 Full Review Source:

The fun, infectious tone is set early on and never peters out. The humor is kind of like Monty Python for kids.

May 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Sin Magazine
Sin Magazine

Droll and charming, and will probably appeal more to fans of Monty Python and 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' than to young kids...

May 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

This is a very funny, very good looking movie getting lost in the fray.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Reno News and Review
Reno News and Review

Warning to all ye who enter: drollery, Pythonesque absurdity, and some smartly silly swashbuckling with history ahead. The dark corners of wooden ships and buildings ground the zaniness in Victorian atmosphere, so even modern jokes sail smoothly along.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The best laughs come around the fringes, with great throwaway gags and Grant's usual self-deprecating way with dialogue.

May 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

A few funny lines and a great vocal turn by Hugh Grant. All else is unexciting. Can't see the kids going wild over this one.

Audience Reviews for The Pirates! Band of Misfits

A rather cute tale of fringe pirates with funny puns, a gruesome twist from Queen Victoria voiced by evil incarnate, Imelda Staunton, and some impressive, near-unrecognizable voicework by Hugh Grant. Nevertheless, the gaping ellipses of claymation mouths makes me a little queasy, so I just wasn't terribly into it.
July 2, 2013

Super Reviewer

Delightful from beginning to end, Aardman's stop-motion animated caper Pirates: Band of Misfits is hands down the best animated film of the year. Its wry British humor is mixed with inspired slapstick and a child-like sense of folly as the Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) and his motley crew try to prove themselves to their pirate peers. Then they run into Charles Darwin, discover their parrot is really the last remaining dodo, and have to face off against a double sword-wielding Queen Victoria. The imagination on display is remarkable. Even the puns are funny. The pacing is swift, with gags flying so fast you'll likely want a second viewing to catch them. The voice acting is spot-on and Grant anchors the film with his gleeful impulsivity. The story is simple but well executed and fun. I absolutely loved this movie. Its action sequences are well orchestrated, its comedic sensibilities are silly but often satisfying (a monkey butler who speaks in pre-written cards, a member of the crew that is merely a fish with a pirate hat on), it's self-aware without being too self-conscious, and the animation is wonderful. There's something about stop-motion that other animations cannot replicate, a physicality to its world that can make it so rich and immersive in the right hands. Kids will miss the references to, among others, Darwin, Jane Austen, and John Merrick, but adults will appreciate the nods. Pirates: Band of Misfits is a wildly entertaining family-friendly animated adventure that has it all.

Nate's Grade: A
March 26, 2013
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

The Pirates! Band of Misfits! is a delight. The style is a cheerful throwback to classic stop-motion animation. Given the strong resurgence of titles like ParaNorman and Frankenweenie, audiences seem to be responding to its more organic, tangible quality. Of course the aesthetic beauty of the film would mean nothing without a good script. Indeed, Pirates is an intelligently written production. Witty jokes and funny sight gags abound for the careful viewer throughout the brisk 88 minute running time. The voice cast is wonderful but it's telling that one of their most amusing doesn't even speak at all. Mr. Darwin's assistant is a highly trained chimp named Mister Bobo who communicates by holding up note cards. He's hilarious, but the rest of the ensemble is quite good as well. Hugh Grant has the right amount of narcissism mixed with geniality as the Pirate Captain and Imelda Staunton is a hoot as the pirate hating Queen Victoria. With its hip soundtrack (The Clash, The English Beat, Jimmy Cliff, Supergrass) and occasional gags that little tykes won't get, this is pitched more at older kids than the toddler set. Seeing as I am well over 8 year years old, that is just fine with me.
February 10, 2013

Super Reviewer

Not a bad bit of entertainment, for kids or adults I suspect, but Pirates: Band of Misfits isn't as zany as some of Aardman's other works, due basically to a story line that never really takes off in spite of the inventiveness of throwing in Charles Darwin as a major character.

I believe that the film is hampered by trying to be too much to too many; keeping the plot simple and most of the characters one dimensional so the kiddies can follow truly robs the film from becoming something even more ribald. It's an issue I had with the Shrek franchise as well - things are kept obvious and simple... of course one could counter by saying "well, it's just a cartoon, what'd ya expect?" -I'd counter the counter by saying that just because something is animated doesn't mean it has to be childish.

So, we have a film that begins beautifully, with a fantastic camera shot that is truly wonderful, but then that realism is turned on its head by the introduction of Queen Victoria who looks exactly like a cartoon character - quite a jarring juxtaposition.

The film only starts to lose steam when Darwin starts acting like... well a cartoon character. So much more could have been done with him, and yet he is reduced to a plot contrivance that has fallen in love with Victoria.

Now many will talk of the voice acting (which is quite good for the most part, although I expected more bombast from Jeremy Piven as Black Belamy) - but while I found it much fun to see the likes of Brian Blessed (who will forever be Augustus Caesar from I Claudius), and Brendan Gleason in the mix, I can see my wife's point in that who is speaking the words isn't as important as how the words come across.

There are bits of lunacy and fun, and yet I often felt as if each character was there to perform a specific task; playing to the tried and true method of cartoon characters through the ages. From the Pirate Captain's continual refusal to see anything other than the obvious (and often missing even that), to the crew's all too predicable antics - it all felt kind of tired in spite of some truly funny bits, as when the Captain makes a presentation in front of the London Scientific Community and Also Sprach Zarathustra (the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey) is played on a squeeze box!

In conclusion; there are far worse animated films out there (Planet 51 for example), but there are so very many better ones (Over The Hedge, Aardman's own Chicken Run - not to mention anything Pixar). It's just fine if you want nothing more than light humor and a few chuckles.
January 15, 2013
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

    1. The Pirate Captain: You'll see. I will be Pirate of the Year! And then you'll be laughing on the other side of your faces. And believe me, that is a very painful thing to do.
    – Submitted by Matthew R (20 months ago)
    1. The Pirate Captain: [looks at Charles Darwin's house] You don't get many girls, do you?
    – Submitted by Matthew R (20 months ago)
    1. The Pirate Captain: Now listen Charles, we've all done something unforgivable. I've betrayed my pirate honor, you've betrayed science, and Mr. Bobo's betrayed the animal kingdom.
    – Submitted by Matthew R (20 months ago)
    1. The Albino Pirate: Wee! I'm a floating head!
    – Submitted by Matthew R (20 months ago)
    1. The Pirate Captain: She's not fat, she's just 'big boned'.
    2. Black Bellamy: She's fat dude.
    – Submitted by Matthew R (21 months ago)
    1. Pirate Captain: Its us, the pirates, masters of disguise.
    – Submitted by Matthew R (21 months ago)
View all quotes (25)

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