Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Cinema File #66: "Pirates - Band Of Misfits" Review



Arrgh. Not to be confused with Aagh! or Ugh!

What I'm saying is, I really loved this claymation movie about Pirates. Sorry, Pirates!

Oh holy fuck did I love this movie about Pirates. I've never been a big fan of Aardman Animation, never being all that enthusiastic about Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run despite both being examples of a rarely utilized medium I have much appreciation for. I've yet to see their more recent CG efforts Flushed Away or Arthur Christmas, but after watching Pirates: Band Of Misfits, I have to say I am more than intrigued to find out if there is another gem or two like this that I missed somewhere. Without actually reviewing it, mostly because I couldn't think of much to talk about other than how awesome it was, I've mentioned on this blog that my favorite movie of the year is Paranorman, but currently, that film and this one are wrestling for the top spot in my brain. As you may have read, I just about creamed my pants over Rise of the Guardians, and as good as I still think that movie is, Pirates! blew past it in the first twenty minutes.




I am struggling to think back on a single joke that I did not laugh at. Pretty much every single one lands, perhaps only leaving the ones that go by too fast to catch. The juxtaposition of dry subdued British wit with the childishly over the top adventurism of the romantic pirate life is so rife with comedic potential that it makes the Pirates of the Caribbean movies feel trite in comparison (or maybe they just do that on their own). Something as simple as the Pirates not having any proper names, only referred to as Pirate Caption or Pirate with Gout, or Surprisingly Curvacious Pirate (obviously a woman in disguise), becomes just one of the many, many hilarious running gags throughout the film. This movie throws so much out at you so fast, that I'm actually surprised there weren't more jokes that went by without notice while I was laughing at the previous ones.


I loved the underdog story of this instantly endearing crew, who engage in piracy almost out of the same immature whim that effects actual children when they play pirate in the backyard with sticks in place of cutlasses. The story follows this crew as they try to help their Captain, the Pirate Captain, become Pirate of the Year by collecting the most booty before the ceremony, leading them on an adventure involving Charles Darwin, monkeys, disguises literally on top of disguises, and an insane duel sword wielding Queen Victoria. I've been accused of hyperbole before, and perhaps I am about to invite the accusation, but I absolutely cannot conceive of anyone with any semblance of a human soul not falling in love with this movie in the first ten minutes. Pirates!: A Band of Misfits! does basically everything right.


If I had one minor quibble, I'd say that for a movie about pirates, Pirates! spends surprisingly little time actually on the high seas doing Pirate-y things. Apart from a very funny failed plundering montage at the beginning and a more successful raid in the climax, most of the action takes place in London as the pirate crew attempts to blend in to the scientific community to win a cash prize when they discover that the ship's parrot is actually the last living dodo. Still, I can't complain about any of what we get, on land or at sea, and to be fair, the original title of the movie and the book upon which it is based is The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, so I guess that is sort of the point.


And speaking of that book, a little Wikipedia-centric research leads me to discover that it is actually just the first in a series that apparently also involves Communists and Napoleon, and a sequel is already being planned, only awaiting financial backing. From what I gather, the box office for this movie was only modestly profitable, so if we want this to happen, you people need to start buying the fuck out of this movie on DVD right now. Seriously, stop reading this blog, go to the store, and buy as many copies as possible to justify a sequel. Make this another Office Space style home release hit. Do it now! Make my dream of a Pirates! sequel come true, America.

That is all.

 
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