Pirates! Band of Misfits, The (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 26-Sep-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 88
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Lord
Jeff Newitt

Universal Sony
Starring Hugh Grant
Martin Freeman
Imelda Staunton
David Tennant
Jeremy Piven
Salma Hayek
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Theodore Shapiro

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Danish Dolby Digital 5.1
Finnish Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Norwegian Dolby Digital 5.1
Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Aardman Animation are one of the best animation studios operating in the world today, up there with Pixar and Ghibli, however when it comes to stop motion animation even those two cannot compete (and probably don't try to). If you have been living under a rock, Aardman are responsible for Wallace & Gromit plus films like Flushed Away & Chicken Run. Their most recent theatrical release is The Pirates! Band of Misfits which followed close on the heels of Arthur Christmas. Pirates has now been released on both shiny disc formats. This review is of the standard Blu-ray version. I reviewed the DVD version previously here.

     Anyway, this film is another dose of fun and silliness from Aardman, directed by Peter Lord who hasn't directed one of their films since Chicken Run. It is loosely based on a children's book, The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists, and is the first Aardman film to be filmed in 3D. The story involves a fairly inept bunch of pirates led by The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) whose greatest desire is to win Pirate of the Year. His rivals for the crown include Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Peg-Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry). His crew includes his loyal and reliable number 2 (Martin Freeman) and a collection of pretty ordinary pirates including an albino, one with a cork nose, one with gout and Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate who might just be a woman in a beard. In their many attempts to capture some booty they come across Charles Darwin's (David Tennant) ship. He tells them that their ship's parrot is actually a rare dodo and that it is valuable if taken to London to enter in the Science prize. Unfortunately, London is the home of Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) who has set out to rid the world of pirates. Can they win both the science prize and Pirate of the Year?

     This is a very funny and extremely silly film which is very enjoyable to watch. There are many sight jokes, one-liners, inspired comedic ideas and lots more including a monkey butler. This is combined with some great action sequences to provide some excellent entertainment for kids and adults alike. The animation is a combination of stop motion and CGI and looks fantastic. The sets are marvelously detailed with many jokes in the backgrounds to be enjoyed. You will pick up more each time you watch the film. The music used also adds a lot of fun to the film. The film did not do as well at the box office as previous Aardman productions but it certainly didn't disgrace itself either.

     The film is also available on Blu-ray 3D.

     There is lots of fun to be had here for adults and children. Get it!

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is excellent. This BD is (as you would expect) a significant step up from the DVD version.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p HD encoded using the AVC codec.

     The picture was extremely clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was excellent.

     The colour is excellent, significantly improved over the DVD version which was excellent for DVD.

    There was some minor shimmering occasionally.

     There are subtitles in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Turkish and for the commentary which were clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is also excellent, a jump up from the DVD.

     This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1 plus a Descriptive Audio track in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus dubs in Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Swedish & Turkish in the same format. This is a great soundtrack, so much fuller and more enveloping than the DVD.

     Dialogue was easy to understand throughout.

     The music is great, both the score by Theodore Shapiro and the use of pop songs which really worked well.

    The surround speakers were used wonderfully well, filling out the sound, highlighting action sequences such as the bath chase and more.

     The subwoofer was used to support the music and action such as cannon shots.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     A good selection of extras are included, although a game that was present on the DVD is not included here. There is one BD only extra. The Region A version has significantly more extras (see below)


     The menu featured an intro, music, motion and lots of fun.

Audio Commentary - Peter Lord, Co-Director Jeff Newitt & Editor Justin Krish

     Quite a good commentary featuring the creative team. They covers on-screen trivia, stop motion use vs. CGI use, the sets, animation challenges. They are interesting and personable. Worth a listen.

Pirate Disguise Dress Up Game

     A much better game than the one on the DVD. This game gets the user to remember a mixed up outfit and then replicate it.

From Stop to Motion (20:02)

     High quality making of which includes details of the animation approach, the source material, design, story, creating puppets, the detailed sets, mouths, voices, animating the water plus sound and music. Very interesting.

Creating the Bath Chase Sequence (8:03)

     Scene specific making of which documents the months of work which went into one of the most complex sequences in the film plus some of the secret methods they use are revealed. Some cross over to the longer making-of.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region A release includes all the extras included here plus three short films, So You Want to be a Pirate? plus two of Peter Lord's older films. Easily a win to Region A.


    Aardman release another funny and silly animation this time featuring pirates.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are pretty good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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