Movie Update: The Pirates! | Flushed Away | Over the Hedge Animation | My Reviews 21 OCT 2013

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

Set in 1837, the Pirate Captain, inexpert in the ways of pirates, though an expert in beards, 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 on an annual basis, with the winner being decided whoever can plunder the most booty – unfortunately for the Pirate Captain, they aren’t very good at getting the gold.

However, a chance encounter with Charles Darwin (another plunder gone bad), leads to the idea that the Pirate Captain stands a good chance of winning the Scientist of the Year award (thanks to his pet dodo, mistaken as a pet parrot), which should in theory give them enough gold in order to win the coveted Pirate of the Year award.

Unfortunately for the Pirates though, the one small snag with this plan is that the Scientist of the Year awards are held in London – the place most dangerous to pirates thanks to the pirate-hating Queen Victoria’s presence!

Aardman Animation and stop-motion feature films are pretty much synonymous these days and pleasingly The Pirates: Bands of Misfits continues this wonderful legacy with the craft. Directed by Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt, and featuring the voice talents of actors like Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, and Salma Hayek, the film weaves an enjoyable tale that is packed with colourful characters and lots of British wit and humour.

And while it doesn’t necessarily have the animal charm that seems so important for kids to really enjoy it (in fact, I wouldn’t really say it’s a kids movie to be honest), The Pirates! is still an enjoyable film that you can sit down and watch with your family, and it certainly is a film that I don’t mind adding to my already packed animation DVDs shelf.

the pirates band of misfits screenshot

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Flushed Away (2006)

When posh pet rat Roddy St. James gets booted out his Kensington home by being flushed down the toilet, he is pretty certain his life is over. However, in the dark depths of the sewers he stumbles across a fantastic rat city where he bumps into an enterprising scavenger rat by the name of Rita, who soon has him all tangled up in a horrible mess that involves a stolen ruby, martial arts frogs, mob rats and a rather insidious head toad.

In other words, it’s time to start running!

Directors David Bowers and Sam Fell, together with the animation teams of Aardman Animation and DreamWorks Animation, and a cast of A-list voice actors including the likes of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Bill Nighy, pull together to craft this gloriously enjoyable family movie that features fantastic visuals, an awesome soundtrack, and just a great story brimming with witty British humour!

There is plenty to enjoy here for both young and old, and as such makes it a great choice to sit down and watch with the kids – in other words exactly what I look for in a family movie.

flushed away movie

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Over the Hedge (2006)

A scheming raccoon fools a mismatched family of forest creatures into helping him repay a debt of food, by invading the new suburban sprawl that popped up while they were hibernating…and learns a lesson about family himself.

Of course, messing with humans isn’t exactly a risk free endeavor, especially if the human in question is a near psychotic chairperson of the homeowner’s association, and coupling that up with a rather vicious bear with a penchant for cruelty, all of which means that these hapless woodland critters are in for quite the adventure!

In short, that’s what the charmingly enjoyable kids movie Over the Hedge is all about, and having recently bought it to watch with Jessica, I had the pleasure of reacquainting myself with the genuinely likable and funny animated family movie.

Featuring a swathe of A-list actors to provide the voices of these lovable characters (Bruce Willis as the raccoon RJ, Eugene Levy as the porcupine Lou, Steve Carell as the squirrel Hammy, and Nick Nolte as the bear Vincent to name but a few), directors Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick, together with the animators of DreamWorks Animation, really brought together all the elements required to make for a great family film.

It’s funny, it’s cute, children love it, and it is pretty damn polished, story and all, making for a great DVD choice to hunker down and watch with the kids!

over the hedge movie

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.