‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ well worth your doubloons

Be sure to wear your thinking pirate’s hat when you go to see “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” because there are a lot of references to catch and the bits move very quickly!

I took all three kids to ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ on Saturday night and three out of the four of us loved it. At age 5, Lilina missed a lot of the references (Why doesn’t she know who Charles Darwin is?) and was afraid during the fight sequences even though they weren’t violent. (There are a few pirates that are “run through” with swords but it’s not bloody or graphic.) (She also had to go to the bathroom three times during the movie – damn you extra-large Sprites!)

Now the third and the fifth-graders were totally on-board this pirate ship and laughed (almost a little too loudly) through the entire movie.

Created by the “Wallace and Gromit” and “Chicken Run” team (Aardman), ‘Pirates” is a vibrantly animated pirate world from the 1830s with absurdly hilarious situations and references.

Parents and some kids will appreciate references and homages to “The Life of Brian,” “Sherlock Holmes,” Charles Darwin, the theory of evolution,  the Gourmet or Glutton society, “Blue Peter,” and the history of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Don’t worry there’s plenty of low-brow humor as well.

The basic plot is that the Pirate Captain wants to win the best pirate of the year award. There is some tough competition and he sets out to prove his ruthlessness as a plunderer. (His bad luck in plundering is one of the best sequences.) But then the movie takes an odd turn into science and history that I don’t want to ruin.

I think the kids were not only captivated by the humor but by the volume and detail of the Claymation animation. In a CGI world, it boggles their minds to think about these animators and cameramen painstakingly shooting each tiny movement of an eyebrow or monkey butler. (See I told you absurd!)

From the Los Angeles Times:

“Stop-motion is so labor intensive it took the filmmakers a full 18 months to film a key scene in a piratical pub. The gang’s trusty ship is so tangible it weighs 770 pounds and the Aardman team used 220,000 tiny props and 250 puppets to bring the world of circa 1837 buccaneers to life.”

We left the movie with lots of discussion about the theory of evolution and how long and through what methods they made the movie.

I found a blog from the film’s crew all about the animation and production. There are amazing photos showing the stages of work and  funny descriptions from the crew of their tireless effort moving those clay pieces. They say they dropped a lot of eyebrows and they were  hard to find on the floor. (The name of the blog “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists” must have been the original title or the title they are using in England.)

From one of the Production manager, Richard ‘Beeky’ Beek, entries:

“As of today we are in week 72 of a 79 week shoot.  OK.  THAT’S LESS THAN 8 WEEKS TO COMPLETE PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY! This fact does make me quite nervous, almost to the point I’d like to lie down under my desk with a cold flannel on my face.  Sadly this isn’t an option.

“To give a sense of the scale of the Pirates production, we have a crew of around 300 people, including 33 animator and 41 shooting units in 4 studios!  To date we have shot 79 mins 47 seconds and 6 frames of the finished film, this equates to 1245 shots.  Our current estimate is that we have about 15 mins / 250 shots before the end of the shoot.  As fascinating as these production statistics are the most surprising thing is (and I’m about to curse it by saying it) that we are more or less, just about on schedule.”

My kids loved seeing this extra information about the production.

We did not to the 3D version although The L.A. Times reviewer said it worth the premium to see it in 3D. I thought it was perfectly lovely in 2D and didn’t really notice that many places where the 3D would have been obvious.

My family definitely recommends this movie and thinks it’s well worth your time and money. I even think preteens and teens would like it. I would probably leave the 5-year-olds (maybe 6-year olds too) at home.

Did you see “The Pirates!” opening weekend? What did you think? Would you recommend? Did you catch all the references? Did the kids? Did they love the animation? What did they want to discuss on the drive home?

34 comments Add your comment

iggy

April 30th, 2012
6:20 am

Aye Matee, no more sprite far yuh!

A

April 30th, 2012
7:19 am

Saw it for free at a sneak preview last week, but would have gladly paid to see it. One of the more refreshing “kids” movies to come out in a long time. Adults can go without kids and really enjoy it too. My 3rd grader loved it and got most of the jokes and references. And the ones he didn’t, we discussed later on. I think it helped that we saw the recent exhibit on Charles Darwin at Fernbank, so he knew who the historical figure was. I did have to explain that they took many liberties with the Queen Victoria character, but overall a hilarious and clever movie. If you like kids films like Alvin and the Chipmunks, then this is not for you.

Voice of Reason

April 30th, 2012
8:05 am

I love the fact that it brings up and discusses Charles Darwin and Evolutionism. I was on the fence about this movie, but knowing that I may take my kids to see it.

Creationists, I’m sure will have a huge problem with this movie.

Fatty

April 30th, 2012
8:19 am

Xtra large sprite? Do you know how much sugar that has? Just a 12 oz has 39g of sugar……

Did you have extra large popcorn and candy too?

PHR

April 30th, 2012
8:21 am

We saw the 3D version and it was good (don’t typically pay for the 3D version). I’m a huge Aardman fan so our family was excited to go. My 10 year son loved it. I recommend it highly.

K's Mom

April 30th, 2012
8:32 am

@Fatty…oh good lord. Kids can have treats occasionally. I have found that if you let them have junk every so often and do not make it taboo, they are much less likely to binge on it when it is available and you are not around. Think about the college freshman who is drunk all of first semester because mom and dad drank beer out of coffee mugs so as to not let their kids see them drink alcohol!

Glad y’all enjoyed the movie. It sounds cute for children and adults and that is so hard to master!

Fatty

April 30th, 2012
8:47 am

K’sMom – An xtra large sugary drink for a 5 year old is a little excessive don’t you think? There has to be more than 100g of sugar in that drink. For a 5 year old……..that it truly disgusting!!!

It’s attitude like your’s that keep our kids FAT!!!

Raisin Toast Fanatic

April 30th, 2012
8:58 am

Kids can have treats occasionally

This was the key. Dear “Fatty”, you can calm down.

jarvis

April 30th, 2012
9:07 am

@Fatty, my kids are lean and I’d be willing to put them up against your overly protected gluten free d-bags in most any athletic competition. Get your fat kids off their arses and have them play outside, and you’ll be able to give them the occassional soda pop.

Get a grip.

Becky

April 30th, 2012
9:14 am

My two aren’t biga fans of the “Pirate” movies, so not sure that we’ll see it..

@Fatty..Theresa didn’t say that the X large Sprite was jsut for one child..I usually buy a large drink for three people when we go to the movies..Not everyone that drinks sodas is fat..My entire family grew up drinking Cokes (about 8-10 per day) and none of us were fat…

K's mom

April 30th, 2012
9:15 am

@Fatty, for all we know her kids split the large drink and she did not spell that out. My kid eats a very healthy diet and will out eat me and my husband in brocolli most nights. But guess what we went and got ice cream on Saturday and I think he had some french fries one day last week….and he is quite slim. But of course he runs around outside a bunch most days too!

Fatty

April 30th, 2012
9:23 am

That’s good….keep making excuses and keep the little ones chubby. Then when your little fat pumpkin has diabetes, or can’t concentrate at school, doesn’t sleep at night, too wound up….etc…….I don’t want to hear about it. And I sure has hell don’t want to pay for it either.

Augusta

April 30th, 2012
9:43 am

We haven’t seen it yet, but will wait for the DVD release, or on Demand. It’s too expensive to take 6 to a movie…….it would cost well over $100. No thanks.

I’d rather watch it in the comfort of my own home, with my own snacks. And certainly no xtra large sugary drinks….LOL…

K's kid

April 30th, 2012
9:49 am

Eating brocolli?? There is no brocolli in our house but lots of fried butter and gravy sandwiches. Im 5 foot 1 and already weigh 150 pounds. Im just “big-boned.”

JOD

April 30th, 2012
10:06 am

The previews looked really good, but it looks like most of the humor will be well over DD’s head. Of course that hasn’t stopped us from seeing some movies – she just enjoys what she gets and we enjoy the rest.

I think we might see this On Demand and take DD to see Brave. The trailers are so cute!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 30th, 2012
10:21 am

The movie chain out here has an Xtra large cup that if you bring back you get $1 refills so I got two drinks and brought in empty water bottles and split the drinks among the 4 of us. 5-year-old pee a lot on any amt of sprite. The movie chain also has an interesting popcorn deal — you buy a T-shirt for $25 at the beginning of the year (actually sell in in November so you can use for all of the Christmas movies). You bring it in with you and you popcorn for free (medium), $1 for large or $1.50 for extra large. So definitely a deal for a family. Key is you just have t remember to bring it in. I keep it in my car so we always have it. (I think the original inception is you were supposed to wear the T-shirt but no one does.)

ps none of my kids are heavy. occasional sprites are OK fine.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 30th, 2012
10:25 am

if your kids liked the movie or you think will like it, do check out that web site I listed from the production crew. The photos and notes on how they made it are fascinating.

PHR — A. will love that site. Be sure to show him.

shaggy

April 30th, 2012
10:27 am

Fatty,

jarvis is absolutely correct about getting outside and pounding some calories out, instead of sitting behind a computer, smartphone, etc…, scared to live, like…well you maybe.

For me personally, it’s not Sprite. it’s beer. I would like to see you try to follow me up one of those big pieces of rock called mountains that are measured in 1000’s of feet, like you find in The Rockies. We always take a couple of large beers packed for the summit, and of course, more than a couple waiting for the end of the climb. You would cry like a little girl, as your muscles pound from the exertion. while I just feel alive.

K's kid

April 30th, 2012
10:30 am

I love it when mom slathers my stack of pancakes in mayonnaise and powdered sugar. MMM!!!

Fatty

April 30th, 2012
10:31 am

Shaggy – good for you. I’ll climb with you, if you can run the Boston Marathon with me.

I do races all the time. I run at least 10 miles a day. I mountain bike also…….

You know what they say about “assume”……

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 30th, 2012
10:54 am

JOD — we were invited to do a test screening a few months back and I am pretty sure it for The Brave (they don’t tell you but they said it was a new Disney/Pixar release) — but they made this huge point about no one under 6 could come so we didn’t end up doing it because L. is too young — so I wondering if that was about expressing what you liked or disliked in the test screening or if they think it will be too scary for under 6??? I’m sure we will take her to see it with us — they are all excited about it — but I will be paying attention to why they might have made that rule

tim j

April 30th, 2012
10:56 am

Shaggy, how many times are you going to harp on all the mountains you climb? You’re quick to jump MJG but do realize you do the same thing?

JOD

April 30th, 2012
11:13 am

@TWG – Very interesting, thanks. I’ll note it but I don’t know if we would keep her from seeing it (she’ll be 4). When you look at some of the Disney princess movies, there’s a bit of darkness/violence even there. Malificent from Sleeping Beauty is some scary stuff (I thought she was in my closet!), but a lot of little kids aren’t fazed at all. I wonder if it’s some kind of liability/CYA for Disney and/or the theater?

JOD

April 30th, 2012
11:16 am

PS, TWG – Funny that so many call you a paranoid, helicopter mom, and today you’re the crazy, too-lenient mom for letting the kids have Sprite :o)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 30th, 2012
11:39 am

JoD — I don’t think any of mine have ever made it through Sleeping Beauty — Malificent is scary as he##!!! Definitely dark, scary stuff in a lot of the disney movies

HB

April 30th, 2012
12:10 pm

Brave looks pretty scary. One preview was frightening enough that I thought they shouldn’t have tacked it on to Cars 2. Cars 2 seemed appropriate to me for kids as young as 3 or 4, but I thought the Brave preview could scare kids up to age 6, so it was a bad match. The little guy I was with nearly jumped of his skin and several young children started crying.

shaggy

April 30th, 2012
1:21 pm

Fatty,

Running is booooooring, unless you are being chased by something like a grizzly bear. Then, it has it’s appeal.

Last alpine climb: start at midnight – approach until early mountain dawn – start the hard stuff, which is rotten snow that the steps you are trying to kick while breaking trail, keep collapsing leaving you in chest high snow, over and over – make a traverse across to a cornice, where a small avalanche completely encases your partner’s lower body and you must dig him out, as he can’t – get to cornice and take a razor ridge that is exposed about 800 feet on one side and maybe 1200 or so feet on the other…that is your way up – get off ridge and kick more rotten snow to the top – 12 hours from start at 12,000+ feet…7000 or so feet of it vertical. – Then, down climb for another 4 hours and walk out.

That is what, about 3 marathons in one day. Plus, we rest for a day or two, drinking large quantities of beer, only to do it again…different mountain.

See you in Wyoming? I think NOT!…but I will drink a few beers for you. BWAHAHAHA!

shaggy

April 30th, 2012
1:23 pm

tim j,

I do it just to piss you off. Apparently, it works. I am happy.

jarvis

April 30th, 2012
2:18 pm

I read this blog every day and honestly, that is the first time I’ve ever know you climb shaggy. Very cool.

tim j

April 30th, 2012
2:34 pm

Oh it doesn’t piss me off shaggy…just makes you look like a broken record.

shaggy

April 30th, 2012
3:42 pm

tim j,

UhhhhHmmmmm…WHY do you read it?
You are probably the same kind of nitwit that gripes about what is on a television channel that you can change, ignore, or turn off altogether.
Next are you going to whine, “get a life”?

shaggy

April 30th, 2012
3:49 pm

jarvis,

Thanks. Yes. indeed I do. Apparently, tim j is offended all the way down to his panties.

I am currently planning a trip out west this summer to see if I can continue not falling off of stuff. I know that I sometimes write too much about it…you should read some of my trip reports on other climbing sites. now, that is a lot of writing and would make tim j hallucinate or get in a fetal position.

Longtime Educator

April 30th, 2012
8:50 pm

Theresa, I know when a little one has to go they “HAVE TO GO!” , but thought I’d pass on an app called “Run Pee” that tells you when the action of a movie is slow enough to run to the restroom. It’s pretty handy!!

Ray O

May 2nd, 2012
7:26 pm

“Creationists, I’m sure will have a huge problem with this movie.”

You kidding? Creationists will love this movie. It rakes poor Charles Darwin over the coals. It portrays him as a villain, a buffoon, a loser with women, and someone who doesn’t understand the difference between chimpanzees and men. It even finds a way to have him tarred and feathered. Creationists will go wild for this movie.