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Movie Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

By Shalimar Sahota

April 12, 2012

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The film’s swift pace means that it rarely lingers. Apart from a few moments of conversation between the Pirate Captain and his right-hand Pirate With Scarf (Freeman), it’s kinda like rushed vaudeville, trying to cram as much as possible inside 90 minutes. For example, there’s a moment where Queen Victoria discovers that the Pirate Captain is a pirate. Within a matter of seconds she has his head on a block, ready to be beheaded, and a curtain is unveiled to reveal an executioner, surprisingly with axe already in hand. Also, with such a quirky crew, the film doesn’t get to spend as much time one would like with all of them.

While it’s great to hear of adults enjoying films tailored towards children, we seldom hear the views of the children themselves, probably because we’ve been led to believe that they don’t know what they’re talking about (oh dear). As usual, parents have to contend with having to read the reviews, half of which come from old guys suffering from erectile dysfunction, while the other half are written by idiots like me that don’t even know how to sentence a structure. Kids don’t read reviews, because they’re too busy playing Call of Duty (however, if you dear reader are under ten, then… well… I guess it’s great to be able to reach out to that kind of demographic).




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I’m only a child around once a month, so while I enjoyed The Pirates!, I will note that the audience I saw it with mainly consisted of families with children largely under ten, and most of the laughter came from the adults. Everyone gets sight gags, but some of the more subtle humour, such as a humorous reference to the Elephant Man, will be completely lost on children. One girl sat on the same row as me was asking a few questions to her parents about the characters. An hour later, she told them that she wanted to go home (they stayed because the parents were enjoying it). However, this is just one screening, and some of you parents may actually show David Lynch films to your kids (I mean, who doesn’t? Oh… wait a minute… oh no).

The film may skewer towards the slightly older, and could even be considered an acquired taste for some youngsters, but there’s enough fun in there for everyone. Overall it’s wonderfully entertaining. If anything, The Pirates! Band of Misfits teaches us about doing the right thing, something the Pirate Captain amazingly fails to do, but he sets about righting his wrongs. In the process we learn how lonely people could turn out to be killers, and that being a pirate is about beard glossiness; important stuff for all really.

Directed by – Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt
Written by – Gideon Defoe (based on his book)
Starring – Hugh Grant (Pirate Captain), David Tennant (Charles Darwin), Imelda Staunton (Queen Victoria), Martin Freeman (Pirate With Scarf), Ashley Jensen (Curvaceous Pirate), Brendan Gleeson (Pirate with Gout), Russell Tovey (Albino Pirate), Lenny Henry (Peg-Leg Hastings), Salma Hayek (Cutlass Liz), Jeremy Piven (Black Bellamy)
Length – 88 minutes
Cert – U / PG


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