Although pirates in the movies can be murderers, rogues and true criminal miscreants, somehow through the years they have also become kid-friendly rascals who are just as funny as they are adorable.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits is the latest children’s film to make cute out of making mayhem. In the claymation adventure, a goofy crew of pirates set their sights on winning the Pirate of the Year Award over their more dastardly brethren – and it’s hilarious. The world loves drunk, lying, disloyal, thieving Capt. Jack Sparrow, the anti-hero of one the most financially successful family film franchises and theme park rides, Pirates of the Caribbean. Even Veggie Tales, the movies featuring scripture-spouting edibles, released the animated feature The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. Heck, on Disney Channel Jake and the Neverland Pirates teach teamwork and how to be a good friend to preschoolers.
But is it all “Yo-ho-ho” without the bottle of rum? Surprisingly, yes. By making a menacing yet ridiculously dressed crew of rapscallions inept and dumb, they become less scary -- which is empowering to the audience. With pirates nearly extinct (except on the Internet), they don’t represent a true threat to kids anyway. Just don’t take them on a cruise to Somalia.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits opens April 27. Here are three films you can enjoy in the theater with your family, just in time for Earth Day.
Chimpanzee. The film about baby chimpanzee Oscar trying to find his place in his tribe should be the new standard to which all nature films aspire. Kids and parents will be riveted by the astonishing cinematography, Tim Allen’s witty narration and, most importantly, the moving story which is funny, emotional, dramatic, action-packed and so incredible it might not be believable if it weren’t true.
To the Arctic 3D. Forget “Mama Grizzlies,” Into the Arctic shows the extent a Mama Polar Bear will go to ensure the survival of her twin baby cubs. As narrator Meryl Streep puts it, “it’s not like we can just get in our car and drive to the Arctic,” which is why this beautifully shot, majestic film is a rare treat.
The Three Stooges. Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest – kids love it when they’re smarter than grown-ups! The Farrelly Brothers creatively offset any fears parents may have about kids trying to reproduce eye-poking and sledge-hammering their siblings with a clever “don’t do this at home” epilogue.
To find out what kids think about Chimpanzee, Into the Arctic 3D and The Three Stooges, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.