I can remember so long ago how popular clay animation was, especially for some of those Christmas movie involving Rudolph and his friends. Although there have been a few attempts in the past to keep the trend alive, aka Wallace and Grommet and Chicken Run, most movies prefer the art of CGI. Well this weekend Sony Pictures Animation attempted to revive the clay animation movement with the movie Pirates: Band of Misfits. Now although they pulled in a couple of big names for the picture, Hugh Grant and Salma Hayek, I wondered just what this movie had in store for me. To find out, please keep on reading as I review the latest in children animation movies.
As always I start with a synopsis of the trailer. Pirates is about the Pirate Captain, no that’s really his name, a down on his luck pirate with a loyal crew. Despite his accident filled adventures, The Captain has a dream of winning the upcoming Pirate of the Year award, which is given to the pirate who collects the most treasure or booty as they repeatedly call it. After being challenged by a few of the pirate legends, The Captain and his crew decide to do anything it takes to be number one, even if it means crossing into the territory of Queen Victoria, who hates pirates.
Where to go to next? I suppose I should start off with saying that this is one of the most kid friendly movies I’ve seen in a while. Unlike some animated films, Pirates really has little adult humor and instead has ridiculous antics that involve more physical comedy and loud phrases than actual jokes. While kids will be rolling on the floor, older audience members may chuckle at some of the wit this movie has to offer. Some of the clueless moments the Captain has are humorous as well, but again it’s not enough to keep the audience laughing. I also found myself a couple of times having difficulty in understanding the dialog as a few of the voice actors mumbled or talked too quickly for me to catch every word.
So if not for humor than what does this movie have to offer for entertainment? Well for me the main thing to admire is the animation of this movie. The Claymation, as they call it, is very smooth with little jerkiness to it at all. It was nostalgic to see this animation again and maybe that added a little more enjoyment for me. I feel though that this movie would be more entertaining in 3-D though as a good number of the scenes were made to come out at the audience and give them some laughs. Also the movie took some unpredictable turns that I wasn’t expecting them to take, which was nice to see. The map scenes as well were fun, sort of an Indiana Jones travel that goes wrong, which I also laughed at.
However, aside from that there really isn’t much more this movie has to offer. There is very little character development in this movie. I mean most of the characters don’t even have names they are just called the pirates with certain qualities. While I think this was meant for humor reasons it was lost on me and I felt the rest of the crew was unnecessary. Salma Hayek also didn’t have much of a role in this movie. Her character was only in a couple of scenes and she barely had any dialog at all. Maybe you’re thinking that the adventure aspect of the movie will make up for some of these weaknesses. Unfortunately this is not the case at all, as the ad venture is really more talking than actual action. Sure there are a few scenes here and there that are fun, but for the most part this movie is pretty boring.
Pirates: Band of Misfits is definitely worth taking your kids to see as they are sure to enjoy every moment of it. However, for the rest of the world I would avoid it unless you want to see some good animation work or can’t think of another movie to see. Grant’s smooth English voice may be charming, but it is not enough to keep this movie afloat. I strongly urge you to Redbox this movie or wait for it to show up on TV two years down the road, unless you are trying to take your kids to the movies. My scores for this film are as follows:
Movie overall: 4.0
Tune in next time for my review on The Five Year Engagement and as always keep on enjoying the movies!