Time Pirates has some of the worst movie genetics I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a Tubi Original with a title that mockbusters Terry Gilliam’s classic Time Bandits because it was made by The Asylum. It was directed by Anthony C. Ferrante (Sharknado franchise, Zombie Tidal Wave) and features Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street, Lord of the Streets) as the dread pirate Blackbeard. And it’s a time travel musical comedy for kids starring the internet famous band, SM6. The warning signs were all there, but I had to watch it anyway.
After sword fighting Captain Cooper (Jack Pearson, Jungle Run, Jurassic Domination) Blackbeard notices some words tattooed on the Captain’s arm. Cooper warns him not to read them, so of course, he does and a waterspout appears and carries Cooper’s ship, The Red Queen, and the half of a treasure map they were fighting over off to parts unknown.
In this case, parts unknown are present-day Los Angeles. The ship is now a tourist attraction and the six siblings that make up SM6, Eliana, Jack, George, Adam, Isabel, and Emily Jones are shooting a music video on it. Needless to say, they find the half map which has the same inscription on it. They use it in their lyrics and get transported back in time and have to defeat Blackbeard and get the other half of the map to return to the present.
Time Pirates opens up about as you would expect with the band finding the map and a book that somehow, in all the time the ship has been in the present, nobody else noticed. Their arrival in the 1700s is cause for a musical interlude, jokes like “This can’t be Jamaica, it’s in Florida not California”. And signs in modern English.
While I wasn’t expecting great comedy I did have some hope for Time Pirates. It was written by Marc Gottlieb who wrote two of The Asylum’s best films, Jungle Run and Triassic World. And while I haven’t seen it I know a lot of people who loved Aquarium of the Dead as well. So I was hoping it might rise to the level of tolerable. Instead, it’s cringe-inducingly unfunny, recycling bits from other, much better films such as Micheal J Fox inventing rock and roll in Back to the Future.
I’m not sure what the average age of SM6’s fans is, but if they’re young enough they might find this funny. Or the cartoon animated scene, cheaper than even Asylum level CGI, of them passing through a haunted cave entertaining. And speaking of CGI, the effects in Time Pirates are bottom of the barrel even for The Asylum. which leads me to wonder why so many low-budget filmmakers think that because they’re making a kid’s film they can cheap out even more than usual on effects. Do they really think kids won’t notice?
If you are a fan of SM6, there is plenty of their music in Time Pirates, so at least you’ll get that out of it. If not you may or may not like it depending on how you feel about generic pop music. According to the film’s publicity, they’re big on Tik Tok if that tells you anything.
Time Pirates wants to be a cute and funny absurdist comedy, a kids’ version of The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night. But this doesn’t even rise to the level of The Monkees TV show. Or maybe I’m just too old and cynical to enjoy it. If you are a fan of SM6 you’ll probably ignore this anyway, and hopefully, you won’t be disappointed. I’m pretty sure everyone else will be though.
Time Pirates is available to stream on Tubi where it’s available. There may be information about where you can see it elsewhere on the band’s Facebook page. Or you can find suggestions for something similar on FilmTagger.