The Pirates! In an adventure with Scientists (Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt, 2012)

The Pirates!

The latest from Aardman, this film incorporates some CGI with the claymation for which the studio is famed and, to my eyes at least, to wonderful effect. The story is simple, and silly, enough. A hapless pirate captain, who goes by the name ‘Pirate Captain’ (voiced by Hugh Grant), wants to win the “Pirate of the Year” competition, for which he must win more swag than his rivals. After numerous failures, he encounters the Beagle, whose then unknown occupant, Charles Darwin (David Tennant), is about to walk the plank in the pirate crew’s attempt to cheer their captain for yet another failure to find treasure, when he recognises that the pirate’s squat, ugly ship’s parrot is, in fact, the world’s last surviving dodo. Seeing the opportunity for scientific fame, Darwin persuades the Pirate Captain that untold treasures await in London on scientific presentation of the bird. But the pirates face certain, and unpleasant, death if they are discovered as Queen Victoria particularly loathes pirates…

There are idiosynchratic and utterly ahistorical portraits of historical figures galore here, from the wheedling, scheming Darwin to the acrobatic, ninja-fighting Queen Victoria, all drawn with a great sense of fun. I’ve seen some criticism that it isn’t as funny as Chicken Run or Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I haven’t seen the first, but I found much of the humour in Were-Rabbit a bit blunt for my taste and so the jokes here were more akin to the skewed and slightly odd that the earlier Wallace and Gromit, so were more to my taste. But what was even more beguiling was that it just looked so fantastic. The claymation and CGI were each so beautiful and so well-integrated, that the screen was glorious to look at and, as you’d expect from Aardman, there were jokes all over the place – this is definitely one for multiple viewings, to try to spot all the jokes that have been crammed in to the screen. I was stunned that so many people left as the credits rolled, because they too were full of jokes. It seemed such a waste to pay to see a movie and then leave when there was so much more on offer.

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One response

  1. Pingback: PIRATES IN 3D: I MUST BE GETTING OLD « Fairy Godsister's Blog

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