Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) Pirates! They have invaded the media landscape in the last few years, led by a certain Johnny Depp Disney franchise, but you haven’t seen pirates like The Pirates! Band of Misfits. The animated feature’s advertisements and trailers show some humorous moments, but does the full-length film steal the day, or does it need to walk the plank?
From Aardman Animations, the studio behind Arthur Christmas and Wallace and Gromit, Pirates shines on all levels. The quirky humor you saw in the trailer? It is present throughout the film, so cast all doubts aside. The story goes like this; the Pirate Captain (yes, that is his name in the film), who is voiced by Hugh Grant (from the Bridgett Jones films), is out to do one thing: win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award. Not an easy feat, as he has tried for the past twenty plus years and came up short every time. Surrounded by a dedicated motley crew, along with an odd looking “parrot”, the Captain tries once again to show he can do it.
Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that this adventures takes the crew into a chance meeting with Charles Darwin, who is voiced by the former Doctor Who, David Tennant. Hilarity and obscurity ensue, as the film fires on all cylinders to an ending well worth it. Many of Hollywood’s brightest show up for this triumph in animation: Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, even NBC personality Al Roker lends his talents to one of the crazy pirate crew members. What about the animation, you say?
The animation is done superbly well. One look at the scenes on the sea will show how much time and effort went in to making this the best film possible. I especially liked the “map scenes”, where the pirate’s journey is shown through a unique animation that mimicks the style of an actual old pirate map. I have been a fan of Aardman’s animations since watching my first Wallace and Gromit DVD, so to see this film up the ante even more from Aardman’s already high level of quality was a pleasure.
If you are looking for a family film, I cannot recommend this Pirates enough. If you are looking for a great movie period, you need to go see this film. The characters will burn a spot on your brain, as it will be hard to forget the Pirate Captain and his unusual band of misfits.