Before "Arthur Christmas" in late 2011, Aardman Animations had been absent from the U.S. film scene.


The partnered with Dreamworks and successfully launching "Chicken Run" in 2000 and earning $106 million domestically. Aardman and Dreamworks then released "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" using stop motion claymation. The production cost was only $30 million it returned $56 million in t he US and $192 million globally.


Now, feeling pretty good about themselves they were ready for another animated feature that would cost a bt more to produce. Dreamworks went for it and they released "Flushed Away" which made all of $64 million in the U.S but cost $149 million to produce. Oops! Dreamworks severed the relationship faster than the film could make it to DVD.

Aardman couldn't get a deal in the United States until "Arthur Christmas" teamed with them for "Arthur Christmas". It earned only $46 million in the US but also had over $100 million on the global market. Perhaps Sony invested very limited amounts, but here they are again with "Pirates: Band of Misfits".


This is a return to the stop motion claymation for which they are known in Europe. But keep in mind, that even though "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were Rabbit" made miney, it was only because its production cost were relatively low compared to CGI animation. Obviously, the cost is not released yet concerning "Pirates: Band of Misfits". So, we'll have to see how it flies.


The British subtleties of comedy traditionally does fly well in the United States. American's tend to like the comedy more in-your-face than the Brits. Americans even prefer intelligent comedy to be easy-to-read. "Pirates: Band of Misfits" is subtle with veiwers needing to apply both listening skills and visual senses at the same time to "get it".


Hugh Grant voices the Captain of a pirate ship. The Captain has never received much respect and this is something he would like to change by winning the "Pirate of the Year" contest. To win the contest the ship must present the most valuable loot.

Initially, it doesn't look good for his ship, the other pirate ships really have their act together. That is until they come across Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Obviously you need to know that Darwin came up with studies about origins of man and evolution.


Darwin notices The Pirate Captains' unique looking parrot and realizes it is actually the last living doo-doo bird. Moreover, it would be quite valuable and would easily help The Pirate Catain win Pirate of the Year.


So the two presumably team up to bring the parrot home. However, in the way is Queen Victoria (voiced by Imelda Staunton) who detests pirates but also wants the loot. She somehow finds out about thebird and is hellbent to stop them.


And so the subtle mayhem begins with a Jack Sparrow type of pirating chaos.


Along the lines of "Wallace and Gromit" you must watch amd listen at the same time or miss the double entendres and sarcasm. But when you get it, it is hilarious as well as not politically correct.


"Pirates: Band of Misfits" is a perfect example of British humor,which I have always enjoyed - since Monty Python and Fireside Theatre. The claymation is exact - in it's own way - which should entertain the children.   -- GEOFF BURTON