The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

PG | 1h 28min | Adventure, Comedy

After many fruitless attempts to pillage and plunder the Pirate Captain and his crew meets a quiet fellow named Darwin who promises ‘untold riches’ for their prized parrot Polly back in London.

As the Queen, Darwin, and the Pirate Captain peruse their own agendas everyone will have to make some tough choices. Will the Pirate Captain choose fame and fortune or his crew?

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Verdict

The Pirates! is a fun twist from the viewpoint of the typical bad guys, the pirates. See what it feels like to be in the shoes of a pirate and trying to win the respect of friends and comrades by acquiring treasure and hopefully becoming recognized at The Pirate of the Year!

Movie Details

Release Date: April 27, 2012

Director: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt

Writers: Gideon Defoe

Cast: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Lenny Henry, Brian Blessed, Russell Tovey, Anton Yelchin Brendan Gleeson, Ashley Jensen, Al Roker, and more

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Trailer

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Videos

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Parents Guide

Parents should know The Pirates! Band of Misfits is not your typical pirate movie. In this spin-off, the pirates are the main story and portrayed as the good guys. The audience sees from the pirates’ point of view what it may be like to strive to be the best pirate by winning the coveted prize, Pirate of the Year. There are some fighting scenes with swords and guns as well as mild language such as “hell.”

There are also some historical characters throughout, Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria but there doesn’t seem to be any educational value added by these historical characters. Overall the pirates’ typical scary and violent reputation is outgunned by their values of family, friendship, and striving to do their best to accomplish their goal.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Box Office

Opening weekend in the U.S. The Pirates! Band of Misfits brought in an estimated $11,137,734. The movie budget is estimated to have been around $55 million. The Pirates! Band of Misfits brought in a worldwide gross total at the box-office of $123,054,041.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Games & Apps

Scooby-Doo Mystery Cases app icon image

Scooby Doo Mystery Case

Hop in the Mystery Machine and join Scooby, Shaggy, and the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang to solve mysteries. Become famous on Mystery-Tube and gain more followers as you look for clues in cluttered scenes, play mini-games, build traps, and unmask the villain.

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The Pirates! Band of Misfits Review


I found myself looking forward to this movie’s release this past summer. I believe it was the first of three claymations of the year and I was looking forward to something besides 3D animation.

The claymation was good and didn’t take anything away from the movie however it didn’t really add any extra pizzaz either. It was just good. They just didn’t seem to push the boundaries with it or try anything new.

Related: Hotel Transylvania

The story could have been much better. I think this is where the film let me down most of all. The story wasn’t very interesting and it didn’t have much to do with pirates or competing with other pirates. It probably could have been better if they would have left London out of the story and focused more on competing with the other pirate crews.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Plot Summary (Spoilers)

For all those who have loved the quirky and endlessly funny claymation movies from Aardman Animation, Pirates: Band of Misfits is another addition to their long list of titles. 

If you enjoyed all their other animated movies with their unique brand of English humor, then this is a must for you too.

Released just a year after Arthur Christmas and before the Shaun the Sheep movie, this film had another strong cast of English actors voicing the characters. 

Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, and Imelda Staunton all put in great performances and seem to enjoy the humorous script. As with most Aardman productions, the movie is perfectly balanced so that all the family will enjoy the film equally.

The Pirates: Band of Misfits is set in 1837 with a rather inept Pirate Captain (Grant) who leads an even more hopeless bunch of pirates. 

They try to build a reputation for themselves for being ruthless and cutthroat but fail miserably every time. The Pirate Captain decides to prove his worth to the pirate world by entering his “Band of Misfits” into the Year Competition’s Pirate. 

The winner is decided by which pirate ship plunders the most booty, so the Pirate Captain sets off to attack various ships without success. 

Feeling thoroughly dejected, he confides to his First Mate, Pirate With a Scarf (Freeman), thinking of packing it up and selling Babies Clothes instead. Pirate With a Scarf convinces the Pirate Captain to try one more ship.

When they board this ship, they discover Charles Darwin onboard and capture him instead. The Pirate Captain has a pet “parrot,” called Polly, but Darwin realizes this is the last surviving Dodo in the world! 

He tells the Pirate Captain he should enter his “parrot” into the Year Competition’s Scientist at the Royal Academy in London. When the Pirate Captain hears that the winner gets a valuable prize, he sets sail for England, immediately risking all their lives as Queen Victoria (Staunton) hates pirates!

Charles Darwin has plans of his own. He wants to win the competition to impress the Queen as he has a crush on her. He wants to steal the Dodo for himself and uses Mr. Bobo, a Trained Chimpanzee from one of his Old Theory, to get it. 

Pirate With a Scarf prevents the attempt as the kidnapping goes awry when the rest of the pirates are alerted. But much to the frustration of Pirate With a Scarf, Darwin avoids implicating himself. The Pirate Captain decides he will enter the competition on his own and hides the Dodo as well.

The Dodo display is enough to win the top prize, and the Pirate Captain is presented with a very tiny trophy, a set of encyclopedias, and an audience with the Queen. 

At the ceremony, the Pirate Captain accidentally reveals to Queen Victoria that he is a pirate, but Darwin is quick to defend him from the Queen’s anger. 

He implores her not to kill him as he knows the whereabouts of Polly. The Queen issues a full pardon to the Pirate Captain but instructs Darwin to find Polly by any means necessary.

Later, Charles Darwin brings the Pirate Captain to a tavern where he reveals that he’s been hiding Polly inside his beard. Darwin and Mr. Bobo steal the Dodo and make their escape but being chased by the Captain all the way up into the Tower of London. 

Here the Queen is waiting for them, and she dismisses Darwin and Mr. Bobo, leaving just the Pirate Captain alone with her. She offers him a deal: a large amount of treasure in exchange for the bird. 

After this, he returns to his crew with his newfound wealth while explaining that Polly is asleep in his beard. They now head for the Pirate of the Year ceremony though Pirate With a Scarf doubts whether the truth is being told.

At the Pirate of the Year ceremony, the Pirate Captain wins first prize from the Pirate King – but disaster strikes! His Queen’s pardon is discovered, and he is stripped of everything: his prize, plunder, and pirating license. 

When his crew discovered he had deceived them about Polly, they abandoned him, as well. He returns to London alone to sell Babies Clothes.

He grows determined to free Polly and meets up with Darwin, who is now devastated. He has discovered that Queen Victoria belongs to a rare animal Eaters Club. 

She is onboard her steamship, QV1, and various world leaders to prepare to eat Polly and other rare breeds. With Darwin’s help, the Pirate Captain will steal a dirigible and rescue Polly.

Aboard QV1, Darwin and the Pirate Captain are met by his crew as Mr. Bobo had tipped them off that they needed their help. They disrupt the meal though the Queen locates them and tries to kill both of them, the rescue party foils her. 

During the course of the battle, they inadvertently mix the ship’s store of Baking Powder with Vinegar, causing a very violent reaction. As the ship is sinking, they rescue Polly and escape, leaving behind the furious Queen.

With a large bounty on his head, the Pirate Captain’s reputation has been restored. They leave Charles Darwin on the Galapagos Islands, where he finds a girlfriend, finally. 

Mr. Bobo joins the crew, and the Band of Misfits set sail for the high seas, searching for adventure and shenanigans.

The Pirates: Band of Misfits is a delightful watch with the usual zany British humor level that marks all of Aardman’s previous work. The jokes and the in-jokes work on many levels, which allows all the family to appreciate it. 

The animation is another fine example of claymation that has been a roaring success since the first episode of Wallace & Gromit.

Their success in animation began much earlier than the loveable couple; way back in 1977, they would film their first attempts at stop animation using clay figurines. 

A little brown figure called Morph first appeared on tv screens in a children’s art show called Take Hart. These would be concise clips of a couple of minutes only with Morph getting into high jinx of one sort or another. Watching these now, you can see the beginnings of Wallace and Gromit.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits Soundtrack

The Pirates! Band of Misfits soundtrack album cover
  1. I Hate Pirates!
  2. Attacking Ships
  3. The Competition
  4. Not a Total Success
  5. The Ascent of Man
  6. Masked Monkey Chase
  7. Attacking the Beagle
  8. Feathery Heart and Soul
  9. Fog on the Thames
  10. Girl Guides
  11. Wait a Mo’!
  12. Dreams Turn to Dust
  13. The Captain’s Dream
  14. Baby Clothes
  15. The Queen’s Lair
  16. Market Chase
  17. The Dream Fulfilled
  18. Panda Face Fritters
  19. Poor Defenseless Me
  20. Unpardoned