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April 29, 2012

THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS

PiratesRenewing their iconic brand of stop-motion animation (see “Chicken Run”), the peerless team at Aardman once again proves the dynamic power of their painstaking techniques to create a family-friendly cinema full of pure joy. That the boisterous comedy is his honed to a fine narrative polish comes with the territory. The film’s extraneous 3D effects get lost in the shuffle of an ambitious pirate-ship captain’s last-ditch attempt to stake his place in history.

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Hugh Grant voices the energetic Pirate Captain who, after loosing a Pirate-of-the-Year competition to the salty lot of Black Bellamy (Jeremy Pivan), Cutlass Liz (Selma Hayek), and Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry), discovers no small amount of prestigious promise in the guise of his cherished “big-boned” pet bird Polly. The brash Pirate Captain meets up with a love-struck Charles Darwin (voiced by David Tennant) who identifies Polly not to be a parrot, but rather the last dodo bird known to man. Hoping to win the heart of the notorious pirate-hating Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton), young Darwin leads the Captain and his crew of scalawags to London for a scientific contest for which the rare dodo is sure to secure the main prize.

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A jocular but dry British sense of droll humor matches Aardman’s signature attention to detail as shepherded by co-directors Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt. Sly jokes come as fast and furious as the imaginative visuals that overflow like an exploding booty of goofy action. Every nook and cranny of the movie seeps with humorous purpose.

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Rated PG. 87 mins.

4 Stars

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