As is the case far too often, however, almost all of the parts I really enjoyed about The Pirates found its way into the blasted trailer and therefore fell flat in the context of the film. There are a few more laughs here and there but for the most part, if you saw the trailer (and how could you avoid it, honestly, given how fervently the studio pushed it) then you’ve already cashed in most of the movie’s bigger chips. The monkey who communicates through humorous cards, the misguided pirating shenanigans, the sea monster bit, etc. all of the funnier bits can be found in the three minute preview. On the flip side, much of the film’s plot is completely unexpected and the tone is significantly different than what I imagined going in. The Darwin component caught me off guard and the twist that he initially brings to the table is great. But those plot points are almost always swallowed up by the lack of interest that began brewing within me from very beginning.
The Pirates definitely has a British sensibility at its core and that comes in to play in terms of the unhurried, meticulous way in which Lord and Newitt take the audience through the narrative. I love British films and television shows and I thoroughly appreciate the detailed way that British filmmakers tend to tell their story. But good grief, that style just doesn’t work at all in a kid’s film. I cannot imagine any of the kids I work with even sitting through The Pirates let alone coming away impressed. I laughed a few times and I enjoyed the handful of obligatory adult-themed bits, but I had to work to get through this film more than I ever should when watching an 88 minute kid’s movie.