AFTER YEARS of failing to get recognition from his colleagues, Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) makes it his mission to take home the coveted Pirate of the Year Award. Taking a page from the Michael Scott style of leadership (right down to his World's Best Captain mug), Pirate Captain bumbles and misfires himself and his team into laughingstocks. Their luck takes a turn when they run into Charles Darwin, setting them off on a historically dubious science adventure involving extinct creatures, Queen Victoria, and a lot of explosive baking soda and vinegar.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits—from Aardman Animations, the same British stop-motion studio behind Wallace and Gromit and a bunch of other good stuff—is for kids, but it works for adults, although I didn't even know what some of their old-timey British slang meant. What gives, children's movie? Why you gotta make me feel dumb? But kids won't care if they don't get all of the dialogue, and the animation is awesome and should entertain the most discerning baby cinephile. Frothy beers, shiny treasures, and a hilarious bathtub sled ride look exceptionally cool in 3D. Adding to the fun are voices of Imelda Staunton, Salma Hayek, David Tennant, Martin Freeman, and, what the hell, is that Jeremy Piven? Okay.