"It's only impossible if you think about it."
Clay animation, or "claymation", usually leaves me cold—except when it's by Aardman Animation, the creators of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. They enchant with characters simultaneously goofy and winsome, sly humor that entertains adults while sailing over the heads of the kiddies, and animation that is fluid and complementary to the story line. The Pirates! Band of Misfits may not soar to the heights of Wallace and Gromit, but it is nevertheless worthy of its nomination and provides a delightful romp.
Hugh Grant voices Captain Pirate, who longs to win Pirate of the Year against his arch nemeses Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz. As he seeks to prove his worth, he and his crew attack ship after ship for booty, only to discover them populated with lepers, ghosts, and schoolchildren on field trips—and no gold. His "parrot" Polly ultimately connects him with Charles Darwin, and later, Queen Victoria. (Who knew she could transform to a pirate-hating, somersaulting, sword-wielding ninja?)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) is the voice of "Number 2", Pirate Captain's sidekick, and brings such memorable lines as "Don't think that ending every sentence with 'Arrrr' makes everything all right."
After the intensity of 3-hour bladder-busters such as Les Misérables, Django, and Lincoln, The Pirates! Band of Misfits offers the charming relief of grand adventure steeped in Brit humour—all in less than 90 minutes.