"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" Hits All the Kid Pic's Regular Stops

Hugh Grant, right, voices the pirate captain in The Pirates! Band Of Misfits.
Aardman Animation for Sony Pictures Animation

The year is 1837. A newly crowned Queen Victoria, voiced by Imelda Staunton and animated in clay as a shrewish little turnip of a woman, decrees war on buccaneering. Well down her most-anted list is the Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), an only middling terror of the trade routes who's a perennial also-ran for Pirate of the Year. On the way to the Queen and Captain's crossing swords, The Pirates! hits the usual kid's pic stops — pop montage, theme-park-ride action, heartwarming affirmation of true friendship — but a script that consistently finds fresh outlets for its running gags makes for a sufficiently rollicking pleasure cruise. The take-home lesson is a kind of outcast morality — better to be an honest pirate than a dishonest queen.

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