I’m sure when the makers of this movie began production, they were thinking, “Pirates are so popular right now, we should totally make a pirate movie.” Which I’m sure sounded like a good idea at the time, bu it takes a long time to make a claymation, stop-motion film, so as this movie came together millimeter by millimeter, the pirate fad faded. Still, if you’re looking for a light-hearted film that’s just a whole lot of fun, The Pirates: Band of Misfits may have missed the boat when it comes to the pirate fad, but not when it comes to just having a good, fun time at the movies.
The film exudes the quirky wit and charm of its makers, Aardman Animation, makers of Chicken Run and last year’s surprisingly enjoyable Arthur Christmas. It starts with the names of the various characters, such as Surprisingly Curvacious Pirate (who of course is a woman in disguise) or Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens to lines such as “I admit I’ve done horrible things in my piratical career; like that time when I let a turtle drive the boat.” The humor is witty, punny, subtle and very thoroughly British at times, all of which makes it so very enjoyable; if you enjoy that kind of thing.
The story centers around Pirate Captain’s (that’s the name of the pirate captain, Pirate Captain) desire to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award. Unfortunately, he’s not quite as adept at pirating as some of his fellow nominees. While they’re swimming in their impressive collection of booty, Pirate Captain is raiding plague ships and ghost ships, which as you may know, rarely contain booty of any kind. The desire to win that award becomes so great, that Pirate Captain eventually does the unthinkable, and when he comes to his senses, must try to make up for that mistake. I confess that I know how that feels; I can get rather single-minded about something I want every now and then, just ask my wife. Of course, the danger of that is we can becomes so obsessed with…whatever it may be we want so badly, that we lose sight of what’s truly important. I think that’s why Jesus reminded us in Matthew six, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures (or booty to pirates) on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves (or pirates) break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV 1984, additions about pirates and booth mine) The truth is, no matter what we pursue in the here and now, even Pirate of the Year Awards, it’ll never satisfy the eternal desires of our soul. The stuff of this world just won’t last. In order to find true contentment and satisfaction, we need to look elsewhere, and Jesus came to help point us in the right direction in order to help us find what we really want.
There hasn’t been a fun family film in theaters since The Lorax, but thankfully The Pirates come along to save the day in that regard. There are a few salty, rather suggestive quips, but aside from that, this is an easy movie for the whole family to enjoy. It won’t have you rolling in the aisles with laughter, but I was smiling the whole time, enjoying the British nuttiness of it all. While the anticipation for The Pirates: Band of Misfits isn’t quite as high as it is for next week’s Avengers, while we wait for that, this movie provides plenty of fun to tied you over until Summer’s biggest movie arrives.