The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (released in North America, Australia and New Zealand as The Pirates! Band of Misfits) is a 2012 British-American 3D stop-motion animated swashbuckler comedy film produced by Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation as their second and final collaborative project. Directed by Peter Lord, the film is loosely based on The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, the first book from Gideon Defoe's The Pirates! series. It follows The Pirate Captain and his crew of amateur pirates in their attempt to win the Pirate of the Year competition.
|The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!|
British theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Lord|
|Screenplay by||Gideon Defoe|
|Based on||The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists|
by Gideon Defoe
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Edited by||Justin Krish|
|Box office||$123 million|
The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures and was released on 28 March 2012 in the United Kingdom, and on 27 April 2012 in the United States. The Pirates! features the voices of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Lenny Henry and Brian Blessed. The Pirates! is the fifth feature film by Aardman Animations, and its first stop-motion animated feature since Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in 2005, and Aardman's first stop-motion clay animated film released in 3D and shot in 2.35:1 widescreen. The film received positive reviews, while it was a modest box office success, earning $123 million against the budget of $55 million.
In 1837, the Pirate Captain, inexpert in the ways of pirates, leads a close-knit, rag-tag group of amateur pirates who are trying to make a name for themselves on the high seas. To prove himself and his crew, the Pirate Captain enters the Pirate of the Year competition, the winner being whoever can plunder the most. After several failed attempts to plunder mundane ships, they come across the Beagle and capture its passenger Charles Darwin. Darwin recognises the crew's pet "parrot", Polly, as the last living dodo, and recommends they enter her in the Scientist of the Year competition at the Royal Society of London for a valuable prize. Secretly, Darwin plans on stealing Polly himself with the help of his trained chimpanzee, Mr. Bobo, as to impress his love interest Queen Victoria.
The pirates disguise themselves as scientists to enter the competition, and the dodo display wins the top prize, which turns out to be minuscule trinkets and a meeting with the Queen. The Pirate Captain hides Polly before the meeting. There, the Queen requests that the Pirate Captain donate Polly for her petting zoo. The Pirate Captain refuses and accidentally reveals his true self, but Darwin steps in to spare the Captain's life, secretly telling the Queen that only the Captain knows where Polly is kept. The Queen pardons the Pirate Captain and orders Darwin to find Polly by any means necessary. Darwin takes the Pirate Captain to a tavern and coaxes out of him that Polly is stashed in his beard. Darwin and Mr. Bobo steal the bird, leading to a chase into the Tower of London where the Queen is waiting. She dismisses Darwin, and instead offers the Pirate Captain enough money to ensure his win as Pirate of the Year in exchange for Polly. He accepts the offer and returns to his crew, assuring them Polly is still safe in his beard. Though the Pirate with a scarf (Number 2) is suspicious.
At the Pirate of the Year ceremony, the Pirate Captain wins the grand prize from the Pirate King. But rival pirate Black Bellamy makes the Queen's pardon known to all and explains that if the Pirate Captain has been pardoned, then he is no longer a pirate and, as such, cannot be Pirate of the Year. The Captain is stripped of the prize, treasure, pirate attire, and his pirating licence and is banished from Blood Island by the Pirate King, and admits his loss of Polly to his crew, who abandon him. The Captain returns to London, intent on rescuing Polly. He reunites with Darwin, learning that the Queen is a member of an exclusive society of world leaders that feast on endangered creatures, and that Polly is likely on her flagship, the QV1, to be served at the next meal. The Pirate Captain and Darwin work together to steal an airship to travel to the QV1. Mr. Bobo, meanwhile, goes to find the rest of the Captain's crew to enlist their help.
Aboard the QV1, the Queen locates the Pirate Captain and Darwin and attempts to kill both of them, but Number 2, Mr Bobo and the crew come to their aid and together they best her. In the battle, they accidentally mix the ship's store of baking soda with vinegar, causing a violent reaction that rends the ship in two after the pirates reconcile. The Pirate Captain rescues Polly and they escape safely, leaving behind a furious Queen. With his reputation among pirates restored because of the large bounty now on his head, the Pirate Captain is reinstated as a Pirate, and he and his crew continue to explore the high seas in search of adventure.
In a few post-credits scenes, they leave Darwin on the Galapagos Islands so he can return to his science work; Mr. Bobo joins the Pirate Captain's crew; the Queen is left at the mercy of some of the rare animals she had planned on eating; the Pirate Captain is finally the most wanted pirate; Black Bellamy is forcefully stripped of his Pirate of the Year trophy by the Pirate King due to the Pirate Captain's new infamy; Darwin encounters some hula maidens on the island; and the crew present the Pirate Captain with their very own homemade Pirate of the Year trophy.
- Hugh Grant as Pirate Captain
- Martin Freeman as the Pirate with a Scarf/Number Two
- Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria
- David Tennant as Charles Darwin
- Jeremy Piven as Black Bellamy
- Salma Hayek as Cutlass Liz
- Lenny Henry as Peg-Leg Hastings
- Brian Blessed as Pirate King
- Russell Tovey as Albino Pirate (United Kingdom)
- Anton Yelchin as Albino Pirate (United States)
- Brendan Gleeson as Pirate with Gout
- Ashley Jensen as Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate
- Ben Whitehead as Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens (United Kingdom)
- Al Roker as Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens (United States)
- Mike Cooper as Admiral Collingwood
- David Schneider as Scarlett Morgan
- Mitchell Mullen as Gameshow Host
Aardman extensively used computer graphics to complement and enrich the primarily stop-motion film with visual elements such as sea and scenery.
Peter Lord commented, "With Pirates!, I must say that the new technology has made Pirates! really liberating to make, easy to make because the fact that you can shoot a lot of green screen stuff, the fact that you can easily extend the sets with CG, the fact that you can put the sea in there and a beautiful wooden boat that, frankly, would never sail in a million years, you can take that and put it into a beautiful CG scene and believe it."
For the release in the United States, the film has been retitled to The Pirates! Band of Misfits. The official explanation from Aardman was that Defoe's books don't have "the same following outside of the United Kingdom," so it was not necessary to keep the original title.
Hugh Grant, the voice of The Pirate Captain, said that the studio "didn't think the Americans would like the longer title." Response from the director of the film, Peter Lord, was that "some people reckoned the United Kingdom title wouldn't charm/ amuse / work in the United States. Tricky to prove eh?"
Quentin Cooper of the BBC analysed the change of the title and listed several theories. One of them is that the British audience is more tolerant for the eccentricity of the British animators. Another is that the film makers did not want to challenge the United States viewers who do not accept the theory of evolution. He also developed his own explanation, in which he notes that the word "scientist" is rarely used in the Hollywood films due to it not being "cool," representing "the mad scientist or the dweeby nerd that dress funny, have no social skills, play video games, long for unattainable women."
In January 2012, it was reported that the latest trailer of The Pirates! attracted some very negative reactions from the "leprosy community". In the trailer that was released in December, The Pirate Captain lands on a ship demanding gold, but is told by a crew member, "Afraid we don't have any gold, old man, this is a leper boat. See?" when his arm falls off.
Lepra Health in Action and some officials from the World Health Organization, expressed that the joke shows the illness in a derogatory manner, and it "reinforces the misconceptions which leads to stigma and discrimination that prevents people from coming forward for treatment." They demanded an apology and removal of the offending scene, to which Aardman responded: "After reviewing the matter, we decided to change the scene out of respect and sensitivity for those who suffer from leprosy. The last thing anyone intended was to offend anyone...".
LHA responded that it was "genuinely delighted that Aardman has decided to amend the film," while the trailer was expected to be pulled down from websites, and the final version of the film changes the line in question to "Gold? This is a plague boat, old man! I'd give my right arm for some gold! Or my left! "
The film's score was composed by Theodore Shapiro who made his animated feature score debut with this film. The score was released digitally by Madison Gate Records on 24 April 2012, and as a CD-R on-demand on 17 May 2012. The film also includes a number of previously released songs by various artists, including "Swords of a Thousand Men" by Tenpole Tudor, "Ranking Full-Stop" by The Beat, "Fiesta" by The Pogues, "London Calling" by The Clash, "You Can Get It If You Really Want" by Jimmy Cliff, "Alright" by Supergrass, and "I'm Not Crying" by Flight of the Conchords.
|The Pirates! Band of Misfits|
|Film score by|
|Released||24 April 2012|
|Label||Madison Gate Records|
|Theodore Shapiro film scores chronology|
|1.||"I Hate Pirates!"||2:25|
|4.||"Not a Total Success"||2:03|
|5.||"The Ascent of Man"||0:38|
|6.||"Masked Monkey Chase"||2:20|
|7.||"Attacking the Beagle"||2:31|
|8.||"Feathery Heart and Soul"||0:43|
|9.||"Fog on the Thames"||1:02|
|11.||"Wait a Mo'!"||5:17|
|12.||"Dreams Turn to Dust"||0:46|
|13.||"The Captain's Dream"||1:33|
|15.||"The Queen's Lair"||4:28|
|17.||"The Dream Fulfilled"||3:23|
|18.||"Panda Face Fritters"||2:51|
|19.||"Poor Defenseless Me"||4:28|
The Pirates! was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D on 28 August 2012 in the United States, and on 10 September 2012 in the United Kingdom. The film is accompanied with an 18-minute short stop motion animated film called So You Want to Be a Pirate!, where The Pirate Captain hosts his own talk show about being a true pirate.
The short was also released on DVD on 13 August 2012, exclusively at Tesco stores in the United Kingdom. As a promotion for the release of The Pirates!, Sony attached to every DVD and Blu-ray a code to download a LittleBigPlanet 2 minipack of Sackboy clothing that represents 3 of the characters: The Pirate Captain, Cutlass Liz and Black Bellamy.
The film has grossed $123,054,041 worldwide. $26 million came from United Kingdom, $31 million from the United States and Canada, along with around $92 million from other territories, including the United Kingdom. As of 2017, it is the fourth highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 86% of 150 critics have given the film a positive review; the average rating is 7.24/10. The website's consensus is, "It may not quite scale Aardman's customary delirious heights, but The Pirates! still represents some of the smartest, most skillfully animated fare that modern cinema has to offer." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 73 based on 31 reviews.
|Academy Awards||Best Animated Feature||Peter Lord||Nominated|
|Annie Awards||Best Animated Feature||Julie Lockhart, Peter Lord and David Sproxton||Nominated|
|Character Animation in a Feature Production||Will Becher|
|Production Design in an Animated Feature Production||Norman Garwood, Matt Berry|
|Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production||Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria|
|Writing in an Animated Feature Production||Gideon Defoe|
|European Film Awards||Best Animated Feature Film||Nominated|
|Visual Effects Society||Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Will Becher, Jay Grace, Loyd Price||Nominated|
By August 2011, Aardman had been already working on a sequel idea, and by June 2012, a story had been prepared, awaiting Sony to back the project. Eventually, Sony decided not to support the project due to insufficient international earnings. According to Lord, "it got close, but not quite close enough. I was all fired up for doing more. It was such fun to do! We actually have a poster for The Pirates! In an Adventure with Cowboys!. That would have been just great."
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- The film's credits
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- "THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS, ADDED VALUE". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Sony Pictures Animation (6 April 2012). "Sky Movies in the UK posted the first five minutes". Retrieved 6 April 2012.
Sky Movies in the UK posted the first five minutes of The Pirates! Band of Misfits short that will plundering on DVD and Blu-ray later this year. Take a look and tell us what you think!
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- Jardine, William (21 June 2012). "Interview: Peter Lord, Co-founder of Aardman and Director of The Pirates!". A113 Animation. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (film)|
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! – official site (US)
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! on IMDb
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! at The Big Cartoon DataBase
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! at AllMovie
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! at Box Office Mojo
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! at Metacritic
- So You Want to Be a Pirate! at The Big Cartoon DataBase