Wednesday, April 25, 2012 | 5:31 p.m.
The folks at Aardman Animations, creators of the Wallace & Gromit series, bowed to progress by moving from stop-motion to CGI for their productions Flushed Away and Arthur Christmas, but The Pirates! Band of Misfits brings back the company’s unique stop-motion look, albeit augmented by a substantial amount of CGI. It’s a smooth blend of the two approaches, with a pleasingly handmade style to the characters complementing the digitally enhanced world around them. The story of a band of second-rate pirates led by a captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) determined to win the Pirate of the Year award is endearingly goofy, full of Aardman’s trademark dry British humor and clever background touches. As with Arthur Christmas, the lesson-learning has a tendency to overwhelm the humor at times, but director Peter Lord moves things along briskly, throwing in a few surprisingly deviant twists as he goes, making The Pirates! a worthy addition to the Aardman stop-motion canon.