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The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) - Movie Review for Parents

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Pirates Band of Misfits
Photo © Sony

Bottom line: The Pirates! Band of Misfits tells a swashbuckling tale about a Pirate Captain who wants to be Pirate Captain of the Year. This animated movie contains some cartoon style violence involving various weapons and lots of mildly suggestive jokes.

MPAA Rating: PG, for mild action, rude humor and some language
Genre: Animated Family Comedy
Guide age recommendation: 7+
Runtime: 88 minutes
Starring: Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton
Release Date: March 30, 2012

The Pirates! Band of Misfits - Overview

The Pirate Captain is after the one treasure that continues to elude him year after year: the coveted Pirate Captain of the year award. When he and his hapless crew arrive on Blood Island to sign up for the competition, he vows that this year he will reign over his rivals by bringing in the most booty.

After several misadventures on the high seas, the Pirate Captain and his crew are beginning to feel a little hopeless and depressed. But then, they happen across the vessel of the famous Charles Darwin, who discovers that The Pirate Captain's own bird, Polly, is actually a dodo bird (thought to be extinct).

Upon learning that the discovery of a dodo could lead to a lot of loot, the Pirate Captain and his crew set sail for London, where they hope that science will lead them to a bountiful booty. Unfortunately, London is under the rule of the pirate-despising Queen Victoria. In order to obtain his prize, The Pirate Captain will have to deal with the Queen and face some tough choices that will put his pirate integrity to the test.

Darwin and The Pirate CaptainPhoto © Sony Pictures Animation, Inc.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits - Guide Review for Parents

An irreverent, rollicking tale presented in Aardman's signature stop-motion style, The Pirates! Band of Misfits delivers a fun and quirky adventure. Sometimes witty and often very silly, the movie will generate a lot of laughs from kids and a few for adults as well. The scientific component that Charles Darwin brings provides a fun juxtaposition between the life of a scientist and the life of a pirate, and could be a great way to springboard some fun scientific learning opportunities for kids as well -- starting with something as simple as a study on the real dodo bird.

The irreverent humor goes a little far in the suggestive department, with lots of pirates ogling women and making comments. One pirate, Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate, is actually a female who is secretly in love with the Pirate Captain. Many animated scantily clad women and mermaids are shown, and there is even a boat full of naturalists who are all nude (nothing explicit is shown).

The movie also contains a fair amount of cartoon style and slapstick violence throughout. Weapons such as swords, knives, guns and cannons are used. The movie contains fighting with weapons as well as hand-to-hand combat, a lot of close calls and even a death but no blood and gore is shown associated with the violence.

The pirates in the movie engage in a lot of boisterous behavior, use some rude language and a couple mild profanities, and characters are shown drinking various alcoholic looking drinks in several scenes. At times the pirates act like they are drunk. For a more detailed description of content, see the overview below.

- Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (High): Cartoon style and slapstick violence occurs throughout this movie, but it is generally not too vicious and there is very little blood and gore. Pirates engage in swordfighting, shooting, pillaging, brawling, and more. A few precarious situations occur, like when a pirate is about to fall onto a spinning propeller blade. Pirate style swashbuckling violence is celebrated in the movie.
  • Scary Scenes (High): See content listed under "violence." Some of the precarious positions in which pirates find themselves could be scary for young children. Very young children may be scared of the crazed looking Queen Victoria, who comes after the Pirate Captain viciously in a drawn out battle involving several weapons, weapons of opportunity and perilous situations. Kids may also be scared or disturbed by scenes involving a close call with a pirate and the guillotine.
  • Sex/Nudity (High): Lots of animated scantily clad people/mermaids and a few nude people are shown (all done for laughs, nothing explicit is shown). Pirates make a few mildly suggestive comments about beautiful women. The Pirate Captain has a little fantasy where Cutless Liz acts suggestively, but it is cut short before anything happens.
  • Drugs and Alcohol (High) Pirates are often shown drinking "grog" in bar/pub style settings. Some people are shown drinking what looks like wine. Some drunken behavior is present.
  • Language (High): For a PG animated movie, there are a lot of rude words like "butt" as well as a couple instances of profanity including the words "hell" and "ass."
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (Extreme): Pirates in this movie engage in the typical pirate behavior that kids love to imitate: swashbuckling, pillaging, talking in pirate-speak, throwing out humorous insults and threats and more. The Pirate Captain makes some choices for his own gain at the expense of others.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits PhotoPhoto © Sony Pictures Animation, Inc.

  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Low): A betrayal by a friend saddens some pirates in the movie.
  • Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: extinct species, pirates, Charles Darwin, evolution, mermaids, nudists, cross dressing, selling out,
Disclosure: The studio provided a free screening of this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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