By the time you read this the awkwardly named The Pirates! Band of Misfits may well have left theaters. It’s not doing great business and the summer movie season has started so you either make a butt-load of money or disappear. With a juggernaut like Avengers raking in the Krugerrands this little movie is not likely to make much of an impression. Why then am I bothering to write a review? Because I have plenty of other stuff that I want to talk about, so read on!
The Pirates! is produced by Aardman Animation home of Wallace and Gromit and pretty much any commercially successful clay animation that’s been produced in the last 20 years. However, unlike other fine Aardman films, this one is uneven and, in a way, feels rushed and incomplete. I say “in a way” because if there’s one thing you can’t do with stop-motion animation it’s rush it. They didn’t even bother to name the main characters. You would think spending all day producing four seconds of film they would have a little time on their hands to think of a proper name, or at least a good joke around why they don’t have any names. That’s not to say there aren’t good jokes in the film, we enjoyed it, even though the kids thought Queen Victoria was a little over the top in the creepy department. Sort-of-spoiler Alert! Our vegetarian son found the plot twist about her diet to be particularly unsettling – and I thought it frankly unnecessary in adding to her role as antagonist.
There are a number of previously released songs on the soundtrack and one of our biggest laughs was listening to the lyrics of Not Crying by Flight of the Conchords. This has inspired me to go out and annoy the wife by getting Flight of the Conchords CDs and playing their songs endlessly.
Unfortunately, while Flight of the Conchords is great fun for an adult audience their lyrics are a bit too racy for the kids. Sure, I had them singing about “business socks” two years ago when the rest of the song Business Time had no meaning for them – but it was hilarious to hear them singing about business socks. Now, however, songs like The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room) while hilarious carry sexual content that they mostly understand. We have been very open about talking to the kids about sex and providing books like It’s So Amazing to help them understand the mechanics but there’s a whole level of romantic and sexual relationships that we haven’t really gotten to yet and I’m not sure I want to go there now. We’ll have to deal with it soon enough and you can certainly make a case for exposing them to the real world as soon as they can deal with it. But like any parents we don’t want them to grow up too fast.