Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Pirates: Band of Misfits 2*

Pirate Band at play & Queen Victoria en garde Teaser. Preview. Clips

Stop-motion animated musical mania à la slapstick vaudeville style. Swords plunge bloodlessly, too easily, strictly for silly laughs. Despite too-acceptable cartoon deaths, lots of light-hearted songs make all cheery puffery. Based on "The Pirates in an adventure with scientists" by Gideon Defoe. Fun chases later, on bathtub, bicycle, then through steamship kitchen. The final lesson is "Is not about the treasure, it's about who you are inside" (Scarf).

Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton - Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter) impresses the necessity of her motto, engraved above her chair, is "I hate pirates", upon her navy admiral, Meanwhile, the pirate gang "briny rogues" argue about the "best bit of being a pirate". Crew root for looting, shiny cutlasses, the chance to catch exotic diseases, the Captain (Hugh Grant) chuffs grog, scurvy, and scantily clad mermaids, all for "Ham Nite (sic)", a meat ballet.

His crew include Number Two with Scarf (Martin Freeman), with Gout bulbous-nose (Brendan Gleeson), Albino (Anton Yelchin), , Surprisingly Curvaceous (Ashley Jensen), who likes Sunsets and Kittens (Al Roker), and fat "big-boned" Polly Parrot looks more like a dodo.

To win the Pirate King's "Pirate of the Year" Award, the ship crew dance their way to Blood Island ("so-called" for "the exact shape of some blood") via "plundering", to submit an entry. Captain ticks off Booty, Shanties, Roaring, and Beard. But PegLeg Hastings (Lenny Henry) brings in a sack of gold coins, Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) brings the world's biggest diamond, and Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) brings a whale-full of coins.

Captain swings over to attack: plague ship, child geography field trip, naturists, ghosts, then Charles Darwin (David Tennant - does not sound like Dr Who #10), who promises first prize "untold riches" at the Royal Science Academy, for presenting 150-year extinct dodo Polly.


To avoid capture, the pirates disguise themselves as girl scouts, then next day as bespectacled boffins. That night, in a bathtub, chased by a giant Easter Island rock, down 12 flights of stairs, they pursue Mr Bobo kidnapping Polly, and demolish Chuck's house.

At the Science Academy, "priceless" turns out to be a personal audience with Queen Victoria, that goes awry when Captain's disguises dissolve. Guillotine raised, she pardons him, in order to get her hands on Polly. When she tempts Captain with her treasury, he has to choose between riches and family.

Captain is on the point of accepting the Award from an Elvis-type Pirate King (Brian Blessed), but Bellamy produces the newspaper announcing Vickie's pardon. The King demotes Captain to lubber status, and strips him to undershirt. When he admits to selling Polly, his crew desert too.

After a musical interlude of rain and tears, he breaks into the Royal Zoo to retrieve Polly. Chuck explains Victoria belongs to a secret society of rulers who dine on "the rarest and most endangered creatures" aboard her flagship QV1. This year's feature is Dodo à l'Orange. Regretful Chuck supplies the balloon, they fly to rescue Polly.

Mr Bobo rows "halfway across the ocean" to warn "the lads" in the nick of time. Vickie is an unusually capable sword fighter. Ballooning away, she unpardons Captain. They free the entire endangered menu, and sail away to plunder again.


EXTRAS Drawings 1:25. Making of 3'. Puppets 9:46.

1 Commentary
with director Peter Lord, co-director Jeff Newitt, editor Justin Krish
Gout has badge on his hat for TV show "Blue Peter", "all kids are brought up with", in England or Britain, that is. Set very detailed, like harmonium behind Ham Nite sign. Foam off beer mugs is wax beads, hand animated. Polly is 3" high puppet. One shelf labelled Medicines and Poisons. Crows' nest jokes. I missed them all.

Tons of green screens. All exteriors. Ship all CG. Title music late "Hoorah hooray hey" by Tenpole Tudor Seafront built. Gout eats pork scratchings in pub, like all English people. Tiny background stories behind main action, bartender peeks above bar. Hard to animate female swivelling hips. Somersault and swaggery to set Captain up for a fall. Ghost tails are plasticine, made transparent and luminous via special effects. Cash register ka-ching inside Captain's head first, joke to show real. Girl guide costumes means whole new puppets.

"Sweet Neptune on a bike" & later "Kraken's biscuits" clever curses Light switch is private joke because candles in those days. No, first home gas lighting 1792, patented in 1801.

Motto above Science Society is "playing God since." Geek extras are all CG. "Thus Spake Zarathustra" 2001 song to reveal dodo. Applause-meter manufacturer U.E. Green refers to old British TV star Huey Green (NA audience not in on joke.)

When Vickie dumps Chuck into the kitchen trash, he picks up a card, reading, his mouth drops in shock. This puzzled me at the time, then I completely forgot. Turns out to have been the endangered menu. So why does Chuck not call for help then? Why wait till Captain finds him in the garden later?

Audience again in Awards Show is all CG (computer generated). Confiscate "your pirate badge with googly eyes", down to his knobbly knees beneath long-john underwear shirt, now beard unkempt, lost gloss. Weather reflects emotion: storm, rain, wind blows leaves. Chuck as tramp wears "West Ham" gun? gum? dunno

I did not understand where the foam comes that explodes the steamship, apparently from 50' vat of baking soda, after 50 casks of vinegar roll down and smash. Originally, end stories winding up each character was too long, was cut and interspersed with credits.

2 So you want to be a pirate Short
In talk-show format, Captain advises how to be "dashing yet sensitive Terror of the High Seas". He answers questions about treasure maps, with Pirate with a scarf (really Number Two, so why two names). Measure wind on the Beaufort scale, with Chuck and weevil "Stegobium paniceum", mortal enemy of biscuits everywhere.
Next skits are Lady Recruit (Sophie Laughton), Gout and Albino cook lemon squid leg, King treats Lubbermatosis (inability to say "Arr") and shouts. Beard gel turns King's beard green. Generically burly aka Kittens (Randolph Matthews) leads shanty on piano. another pirate with two names.

3 Mr Bobo's flash card challenge Translate 5 number-picture combinations into English from 3 answer choices, usually A. Play again has different set. I played 4 before tiring, improved with practice.

4 Printable activity pages "available for limited time". Insert disc into computer, probably links online.

Previews Hotel Transylvania. Arthur Christmas. Swan Princess Christmas. Smurfs. 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue.

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