Pirates! Band of Misfits, The

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Not recommended under 5, parental guidance recommended to 8 (Violence; Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pirates! Band of Misfits, The
  • a review of Pirates! Band of Misfits, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 April 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 5-8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children over the age of 8 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Pirates! Band of Misfits, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild comedic violence and coarse language
Length: 88 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Under the leadership of the Pirate Captain (voice of Hugh Grant), the pirates are indeed a band of misfits. Not quite sure how to be dastardly pirates, they inevitably attack the wrong sort of ships in their quest for gold such as plague ships, a naturists’ ship and ghost ships. The Pirate Captain needs to steal lots of gold in order to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award, which has so far eluded him.

They eventually attack a ship with Charles Darwin (voice of David Tennant) aboard. He recognises that the Pirate Captain’s parrot Polly is in fact a long lost Dodo. Darwin sees this as his opportunity to win the Scientist of the Year Award and tries to capture Polly. He also wishes to impress Queen Victoria (voice of Imelda Staunton) who is known to have an appetite for exotic creatures. This adventure takes the Pirate Captain and his crew to the foggy city of London where much mayhem ensues.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Pirates; execution

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of slapstick violence done for laughs in this movie including:

  • A lot of swashbuckling and sword fighting.
  • Things being blown up and destroyed
  • Fighting between people – hitting each other with objects such as frying pans and rolling pins.
  • Cutlass Liz blasts her way in with a shotgun then stabs someone with a sword
  • The Pirate Captain threatens Darwin with a sword and then smashes things up in his room.
  • Darwin is made to walk the plank
  • Queen Victoria orders the Pirate Captain’s head to be chopped off and he is shown with his head on the block. The executioner, in black, lowers the axe as far as his neck, but he gets a last minute reprieve. (This could be quite scary for children)
  • Queen Victoria has a sword fight with the Pirate Captain.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Some of the pirates are scary looking with wooden legs and eye patches.
  • Some are quite aggressive - firing guns and being menacing.
  • London looks very creepy in the fog and pirates are shown hanging, seated from posts.
  • Darwin’s home is very creepy looking from the outside and inside has stuffed bears with large teeth in the corridor.
  • Queen Victoria is depicted as a rather manic person who often gets very angry.
  • Queen Victoria belongs to a society of people who eat exotic creatures and they almost chop Polly’s head off before she is saved.
  • The Pirate Captain and Polly fall from an air balloon and are heading towards a ship’s propeller when they are saved at the last minute.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes, in particular when the Pirate Captain is about to have his head chopped off.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

OK for this age group

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

OK for this age group

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The Pirate Captain falls into a tub where one of the crew is taking a bath. We discover later that this crewman is in fact a female dressed as a male.
  • A scientist says that his invention is “good for looking down ladies’ tops”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • The Pirates attack a nudists’ ship but not much is shown.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • The pirates are often seen drinking beer.

Coarse language

There is some infrequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • arse
  • crap

In a nutshell

The Pirates! Band of misfits is an animated adventure comedy made for children. The main pirates are really quite harmless and the violence is not intense or graphic. However, young children however might find it too scary – note that, in spite of the G classification, the Australian Classification Board warns of “very mild comedic violence and coarse language”.

The main message from this movie is that people and animals are more valuable than gold and recognition.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • loyalty
  • friendship and companionship

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • That fighting and hurting other people is not really funny and would cause harm in real life.