The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The leader of a band of well-meaning but inept buccaneers (voice by Hugh Grant) hopes to win the Pirate of the Year award, and his clumsy efforts lead to an improbable alliance with the young Charles Darwin (David Tennant)—while catching the evil eye of the villainous Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton). Villainous Queen Victoria? Yep, that’s typical of the wacky turns in Gideon Defoe’s script (based on his novel). The plot of this farce from Britain’s Aardman Animations never quite becomes fully engaging—the participation of Nick Park of Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit fame is sorely missed—but Defoe and directors Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt pepper the edges of the frame with enough amusing throwaway gags to keep us entertained. The starry cast helps: Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Anton Yelchin, etc.