Booty Call

The British Pixar sets sail with a pirate adventure

The Pirates! Band of Misfits, the latest movie by Aardman – the British animation studio responsible for Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run – is another stop-motion bit of whimsy that puts more effort in its finicky craft than the mediocre story.

A group of 19th century pirates support their inept captain (voiced by Hugh Grant), who calls himself the Pirate Captain and covets the Pirate of the Year Award, despite stiff competition from far more qualified buccaneers including two played by Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven. Actually, the Pirate Captain craves any type of award. So when Charles Darwin (yes, that Charles Darwin) shows up with a science-contest proposition involving the captain's pet dodo, the crew sets sail for London in search of fortune and fame.

Like in most Aardman productions, the jokes and sight gags come quick, but few last longer than the time they're onscreen. And as any pirate will tell you, it's not really the journey that counts, but the treasure hopefully waiting at the end of it. --Michael Gallucci