Even when the whimsy in The Pirates! Band of Misfits's history-be-damned story (which also ropes in Charles Darwin) feels a bit forced, the magic of the medium never does.
Adam Markovitz - Entertainment Weekly
A curiosity cabinet of visual pleasures but so breezy and lightly funny that you may not realize at first how good it is. (You're too busy grinning.)
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Sure-footed, witty and zany fun.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
It makes for an experience that, while geared toward younger, more fidgety audiences, has enough humor to keep Mom and Dad from falling asleep.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
The movie looks meticulously crafted, of course, and is consistently, drily amusing.
Tom Russo - Boston Globe
A script that consistently finds fresh outlets for its running gags makes for a sufficiently rollicking pleasure cruise from Britain's Aardman Animations...
Nick Pinkerton - Village Voice
The result is indeed a rollicking good time, even if Aardman's ambitions don't quite dazzle as usual.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
The action is beautifully staged, delightful, and exciting.
Bruce Diones - New Yorker
Another deliriously silly stop-motion animation delight from Aardman, filled with giddy pleasures and witty details.
Nell Minow - Chicago Sun-Times
A few hours after seeing the 3-D version of "The Pirates!" I was smiling at the memory of the best bits, some so fleeting they practically dare an audience to catch them on the fly.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
This splashy sendup is a dead man's chest of laughs.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
I wouldn't use it as a study guide for Victorian history, though it would be fun to see the reaction on the teacher's face when the test was graded.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
After dipping its toes into pure CG animation for Arthur Christmas, Aardman integrates its feted old-school stop-motion technique with top-drawer visual effects to create the irrepressibly amusing The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
Leslie Felperin - Variety
The joyfully silly gags in "Pirates!" often feel old-fashioned in a "Looney Tunes"-esque way...
Sara Stewart - New York Post
Purists can rest easy. This marriage doesn't scupper Aardman's classic clay-based animated heritage and the script is still filled with the kind of dry laughs only the Brits can conjure up, with many of the jokes of the visual variety.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
To paraphrase a certain man with a certain luxuriant beard, it's only impossible to enjoy if you stop to think about it.
William Goss - Film.com
Designed to please all generations of irreverent humour-lovers, The Pirates! Band of Misfits may not be heart-warming (it is about nasty, scurvy pirates!) but it's breezy rollicking fun.
Jennie Punter - Globe and Mail
The Pirates!, like previous Aardman productions, is not just for kids.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A delightful romp whose varied pleasures should please kids all along the age spectrum.
John DeFore - Hollywood Reporter
The movie ... is a cheerful entertainment, suitable for kids and parents of the brighter stripe. It's just not Nick Park great.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
A clever piece of business that is a complete pleasure to experience.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Funny for families of all ages, this animated comedy is a rare and delightful treat.
John Hanlon - John Hanlon Reviews
This is one of the few times I watched something from Aardman and found myself watching the clock...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
This is a good Aardman Animations feature, from a studio that's proved itself capable of being better than good.
Kirk Baird - Toledo Blade
The Pirates! Band of Misfits is cinematic booty that shines like gold.
Jason Buchanan - TV Guide's Movie Guide
The Pirates! is the first truly great animated film of the year: a painstakingly-modelled laugh riot that boggles the mind while tickling the funnybone.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
It's got great vocal talent and well-done animation, but it proves once again that the story is the key ingredient.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
A rollicking good time that offers enough broad comedy mixed with more cerebral sight gags to ensure this will be a family favourite for years to come.
Kristal Cooper - We Got This Covered
It's full of jokes for adults that will fly right over kids' heads, but retains just enough plot conflict and slapstick to keep younger audiences involved as well.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
The Aardman folks might not have created a pirate film to rival the big screen's best, but they've created a subtle parody of pirate movies that's well worth watching.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
Yes, the film feels childish, but in the best possible way.
Witney Seibold - CraveOnline
There's comic treasure in this animated feature
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
... enough amusing throwaway gags to keep us entertained.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
The Pirates! Band of Misfits deserves two doubloons up. It shivered me funny bone.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
The fun, infectious tone is set early on and never peters out. The humor is kind of like Monty Python for kids.
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
Droll and charming, and will probably appeal more to fans of Monty Python and 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' than to young kids...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
This is a very funny, very good looking movie getting lost in the fray.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
Warning to all ye who enter: drollery, Pythonesque absurdity, and some smartly silly swashbuckling with history ahead. The dark corners of wooden ships and buildings ground the zaniness in Victorian atmosphere, so even modern jokes sail smoothly along.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
The best laughs come around the fringes, with great throwaway gags and Grant's usual self-deprecating way with dialogue.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
A few funny lines and a great vocal turn by Hugh Grant. All else is unexciting. Can't see the kids going wild over this one.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
A first-class Aardman Animations comedy.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Gadzooks, is this movie bonkers. I mean, really.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Deserves no small amount of credit for being an absolute delight... and for never acting like the viewer is an idiot even as it never requires that the viewer be a genius.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
As a running gag, the man-panzee is pretty predictable, but as an observation of how cute creatures are perpetually manipulated and abused in family entertainments, it is rather rich.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
...as sprightly and bright as the studio's cherished favorites, such as Chicken Run, though the sheer volume of gags hurled here leads to a slightly lower hitting percentage.
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
It's hard to emphasize enough just how intricate it is, abundant with rich details... At the same time, it's also warmly human, with characters so expressive you'll want to join the crew.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - San Francisco Examiner
The wonderful folks at Aardman have created another deliriously silly stop-motion animation delight, filled with giddy pleasures and so many witty details flying by that you wish for a pause button.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
The majority of the film can't quite live up to this barnstorming first half hour, but it remains a delight throughout, even when the gags become a little more hit and miss.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
At best a picturesque pantomime, it is ultimately a plodding pastiche that represents a whole lot of effort for very little return.
Simon Foster - Screen-Space
A whimsical confection that effortlessly puts a smile on the lips of the harshest cynic.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Another winner from Aardman
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
I wish I could call the plot about a dodo bird 'whimsical,' but there just wasn't enough laughs from these 'Pirates.'
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
Sly jokes come as fast and furious as the imaginative visuals that overflow like an exploding booty of goofy action. Every nook and cranny of the movie seeps with humorous purpose.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
The Pirates! Band of Misfits, succeeds in spite of a faint but persistent sense of factory settings and finishes.
Michelle Orange - Movieline
The Pirates! Band of Misfits fares OK against most modern toon flicks but pales next to other Aardman releases. How a person chooses to rate its success depends on whether one looks at a glass of water and views it as half-full or half-empty.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Frequently funny and layered with humor to suit all ages.
Kate Erbland - Film School Rejects
The filmmakers have said they are already dreaming up a sequel. They needn't hurry. Whatever treasures these pirates have are well buried.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Pirate adventure blends Victorian history, high-seas fun.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
This pirate tale is a misguided adventure that doesn't fully set sail.
Jody Mitori - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Not many films aimed at kids would also make room for radically bastardized versions of historical figures Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin as prominent supporting characters
Geoff Berkshire - HitFix
Of interest to anyone keen on laughing outloud at a charming comedy.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Pirates haven't generated this many laughs since Johnny Depp's first dip into the Caribbean.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Like all of the other Aardman films, it is utterly charming.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Even with all the enormous pirate ships, detailed cityscapes and dazzling action, Pirates! is at its best when it focuses on the sillier, calmer moments.
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
You may laugh more than the child who brought you to "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," a subtly screwball animated comedy with a distinctively British wit.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Even when Band of Misfits is struggling to find its storytelling groove, the hand-crafted puppets and sets are a pleasure to watch.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
The artistry in this Aardman effort is most evident in dizzyingly acrobatic sequences evoking traditional action-movie mayhem and classic slapstick comedy.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
...an entertaining piece of animated nonsense that shouldn't be left to just the kids.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Many of the clever, rapid-fire one-liners might be over the heads of some kids, who can enjoy the broad slapstick and colorful characters while their parents are laughing.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
The lovingly crafted sight gags are plentiful and the lightly Pythonesque dialogue is cleverer than your average live-action comedy.
Jesse Hassenger - Filmcritic.com
Drew Taylor - The Playlist
The humor is both broad and sly, existing in a mutually non-exclusive arrangement that brings to mind the best examples of symbiosis to be found in nature. While the appeal of lichens, one of nature's best symbiots, is limited, that of this film is not
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
a gem of a movie that deserves more praise and audience than it'll probably get
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
You're guaranteed originality, wit, impeccable artistry and attention to detail and, most of all, a plain old good time.
Dave White - Movies.com
Delivers all of the laughs, giggles and guffaws land lubbers like us want in a silly film like this.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Never mind the awkward title. The Pirates! Band Of Misfits is as energetic and fearlessly goofy as anything bearing the stamp of Aardman Animation.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
Pirates are right up there with vampires, werewolves and people saying "LOL" out loud on the list of Played-Out Pop Culture Phenomena, but leave it to Aardman Animation to find the remaining reservoirs of fun in a bunch of seafaring scalawags.
While it looks nice, it ends up being more "meh" than "arrr."
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
There is a lot to like about The Pirates!, especially for those of us who watch a lot of BBC America.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
The Pirates! Band of Misfits is one of the funniest animated films in years.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
Young and old alike love a good pirate yarn and the stop-motion specialists at Aardman Animations deliver the goods.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
The figures, materials, and sets are beautifully and intricately designed, so polished it's difficult to tell the models and puppets from the computer-animated figures used to fill out the frame.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
The majority of the movie's quirky humor is more chuckle than guffaw, but it's consistently fresh and, in general, surprisingly gentle.
Cathy Jakicic - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Pirates! comes with all the usual Aardman strengths intact, particularly the sense that its characters and creators alike are too good-hearted and sweet to nitpick.
Tasha Robinson - AV Club
If you crave an animated adventure that isn't dumbed down, this is for you -- a pirate adventure in the spirit of Wallace and Gromit.
Leslie Gornstein - E! Online
Pirates is just what audiences have come to expect from Aardman: smart, adventure-driven comedy with all-ages appeal and an affinity for clever sight gags.
Ian Buckwalter - NPR
The science competition gives the filmmakers another chance to add a dash of Wallace, but pay attention as some of the film's best gags lie around the edges of the screen (make sure to read business signs both on Blood Island and the streets of London).
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
As it races frantically to its conclusion, "Pirates" becomes more mean-spirited than funny, undermining any attempts at a positive message about loyalty and friendship.
Loey Lockerby - Kansas City Star
It's smart, funny, and, most importantly, entertaining for multiple generations.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
It starts out as a fairly easy spoof of the pirate-movie tropes resurrected by Depp and Disney but quickly finds humor in Victorian science, awards shows, Jane Austen and Elephant Man cameos while mostly avoiding the easy pop-culture gag.
Mike Russell - Oregonian
This is a movie where the key to enjoying it is how much you get into the spirit of it. I did and was rewarded with some fine movie booty. (Full Content Review for Parents also available)
Teddy Durgin - Screen It!
Aardman's first stop-motion feature in 3D doesn't overdo the now-ubiquitous special effects, but the added dimension refreshes the studio's signature chases without dampening its endearing drollery.
Rex Roberts - Film Journal International
While the movie manages to retain a unique feeling, The Pirates! Band of Misfits still loses much of its unruly spirit as the plot continues in earnest.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Offers fewer innuendos about 'sparkling booty' than might be found in an American animated effort or a Kim Kardashian mall appearance. [Still], my timbers remain unshivered.
Matt Pais - RedEye
That the film happens to be in 3-D, with digitized settings and backgrounds, doesn't detract from the timeworn charm of watching blob-like characters lurch erratically through harebrained comic pratfalls.
Amy Biancolli - San Francisco Chronicle
Swashbuckling, family-friendly frolic on the high seas, subtly referencing evolutionary science with an insidious spoonful-of-sugar.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
It's a special treat for anyone who's lost their pirate verve in recent years, returning to a realm of endless seas, bearded men of dubious character, and delicious ham dinners.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
My 7-year-old guest tugged my sleeve midway through the screening and whispered, "This is a good movie." I'll second that.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
A worthy addition to the Aardman stop-motion canon.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
The film is content as it is to run clever one-liners and 19th-century pop-cultural references into the same comedic whirlpool.
Glenn Heath Jr. - Slant Magazine
For all its posturing (it's based on the books by Gideon Defoe, who also wrote the script) and visual elan, Pirates never really raises anchor.
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
Droll, delightful...[and] jovial enough to redeem the whole pirate genre, which one might have thought had been tarnished irredeemably by the last two dreadful 'Caribbean' movies.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
"Pirates" plays like a fussy film made by fussy little fussbudgets, clever chaps all wrapped up with making perfect Plasticine trees, but who lose track of the forest - the funny movie that is supposed to be animated around all this detail.
Exactly how much wind is left in the sails of pirate movies after Capt. Jack Sparrow is an issue. There are only so many ways to buckle a swash, or shiver timbers. When Veggie Tales beats you to an idea for animation, you know rough waters lie ahead.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Anyone still doubting that the Claymation studio behind Wallace and Gromit deserves a seat at the grown-ups' table only needs to see its pitch-perfect collaboration with author-screenwriter Gideon Defoe...
David Fear - Time Out
Harmless fun, with the occasional inspired gag.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
This is the first time I've gone to an Aardman film and left feeling that there wasn't anything in it for me.
CJ Johnson - ABC Radio (Australia)
Feels perfectly of a piece with everything else the studio has made-- daffy, self-assured, willing to try pretty much anything, and utterly unique.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
[Not] just a hoot and half -- funny, clever, and wittily animated, basically pure delightful perfection -- but perhaps the sneakiest educational film ever... [F]riends are an excellent sort of booty, but... knowledge is the bestest booty of all.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Pirates' attention to detail and determination to give the audience a rollicking good time is worthy of acclaim.
James Croot - Flicks.co.nz
Forget the rum; it's the fun that's running dry in Aardman Animation's The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
Pirates... is a visually appealing film, and there are moments of adventure and comedy spread throughout which will entertain. But enthusiasm can only take a film so far, with Pirates... an enjoyable yet middling animated tale.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
The Pirates! does feel a tad slight, but as with Arthur Christmas, Aardman have hit on a pleasant winner that appeals to all ages.
Matt Neal - The Standard
Silly, stylish, inventive and enchanting, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is simply good fun.
Sarah Ward - Trespass
There's not a lot of wit involved. And the film, despite its 88 minute running time, seems to run out of puff early on.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
It has a very English kind of daffy humour, absurd but good-hearted, and it is pitched at adults as much as children.
Paul Byrnes - Sydney Morning Herald
Pirates and Scientists alike should enjoy it, even if the young Darwin is reincarnated as a humourless, prestige seeking weasel. Remember, he wasn't really like that, kids. He was probably a hell of a lot worse.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
A funny, thoroughly enjoyable and oddly subversive film: at a time when CGI reigns in family films and Elizabeth Windsor celebrates a jubilee, here's a film where puppets battle a fiendish regal villain.
Catherine Bray - Film4
The frequent use of slapstick works a treat for smaller kids, and the assorted fruitcake characters work for everyone
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
A splendid romp liberally peppered with chuckles and crammed with surprises. The genius of the film is that it works on every level for every age
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
The graphic work is charming, the voice casting excellent, and there's a small part for the Elephant Man.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
The Pirates! has so much loving attention invested in it, and there is a lot of naughty fun to be had.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
The loving, thumb-printed claymation and an anarchic spirit mark this out as top-flight Aardman, over and above the comparative disappointments of Chicken Run and Flushed Away.
Tara Brady - Irish Times
With its mix of ingenious chase sequences, hilarious fights and jokes, Pirates! is a real gem and not to be missed.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Beautiful animation from Aardman and brimming with swashbuckling gags and delicious moments.
Mark Adams - Daily Mirror [UK]
Backgrounds are crammed with detail and sly visual gags that warrant a second or even third viewing.
- Liverpool Echo
It is effortlessly and unassumingly funny - and terrifically smart.
After 30 minutes you start to hanker for Wallace and Gromit.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
This is a quintessential Aardman production that's as hopelessly endearing as the Pirate Captain himself: well out-of-sync with the mainstream and quite bonkers.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Awash with jollity and drollery in equal measure, Gideon Defoe's Pirates! book series was sailor-made for Aardman Studio's brand of sophisticated, stop-motion silliness.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Slick, sharp, funny and thrilling. Pirates! is never less than tremendous fun - but never quite a masterpiece.
Matt Bochenski - Little White Lies
A hugely enjoyable and frequently hilarious family adventure with a witty script, a terrific voice cast and a high enough gag rate to ensure the film will appeal to both adults and children.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Those old salts at Aardman Studios have come up with a rollicking comedy adventure that more than lives up to the company's tradition of teeming visual invention and quirky fun.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
It is, by rapidly-twisting turns, enchanting, surprising, predictable, eccentric, chaotic, confusing and, even though it has a U-certificate, rude.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
A brilliant mish-mash of styles and genres, crammed with ideas and intelligence and carried off with a sense of rebellious fun and breathtaking invention not seen since, well, 'The Wrong Trousers'. Glorious.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
The Pirates! no doubt will play well to the whole family and with such enchanting visuals and astonishing attention to detail there's still much to treasure here.
Rob Carnevale - The List
Plasticine pirates wreak havoc on the high seas in a gloriously silly caper from Aardman's Animations.
Stella Papamichael - Digital Spy
Another Aardman triumph.
Olly Richards - Empire Magazine
Congenial and unpretentious, the storytelling could be tangier, but it isn't a bad bet for kids.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
Jennie Kermode - Eye for Film
Despite a little sag in the middle, where the script could have used some extra punch, this wonderfully imaginative movie succeeds in being that rare thing: a family film that the whole family will enjoy.
Karen Krizanovich - Radio Times
It doesn't look expensive; nor does it look cheap. It just looks the way Aardman films should, which is glorious.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
It'll be worth a case of doubloons to anybody with little ones to entertain over the Easter hols.
Neil Smith - Total Film