Hurray, another Pirate film, well at least this time it is done differently. I wonder if Aardman get bored with continuously doing Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Adverts (that’s not a wacky animated TV Show). I wonder if Morph will get a film one day. There must come a time when they want to do something a bit different and they have shown that in the past they can do it. Rex the Runt was brilliant, Flushed Away and Chicken Run were both amazing films and now there is The Pirates!
Aardman’s first film in a while but to be fair that is to be expected, it is a slow process using the animation techniques that they do. Apparently it is not uncommon to only produce 4 seconds of footage a week; it’s a good thing then that there is more than 1 person working there. This time the story is set on the high seas. When Flushed Away was made that was done in CGI because the effects needed could only be done in CGI but that brings the question of why I this one done in Plasticine and has several water splashes in it.
Anyway the story goes that a pirate captain simply called The Pirate Captain and his crew of mixed match pirates including the long-suffering Number 2 and one pirate who is obviously a girl with a fake beard enters the Pirate of the Year competition, however when he sees the other entrants he knows he really needs to impress to win. After several unsuccessful plunders he lands on the beagle and meets Charles Darwin. As he is made to walk the plan he notices that the crew’s beloved parrot Polly is actually a Dodo. He convinces them to go to London and try to win a science prize. However this is a bad idea as Queen Victoria hates pirates. When they arrive in London they pretend to be Girl Guides and sleep over night at Darwin’s house. During the night Darwin tries to steal the Dodo with help from his butler monkey. He fails and the pirates disguise themselves as scientists and win the prize; however they are unmasked by Queen Victoria. The Pirate Captain is then pardoned and given lots of Gold in exchange for his Dodo.
He goes to Blood Island and wins the Pirate of the year award but is then stripped of it when the Pirate King finds out about his pardon and this means he is no longer a pirate. He is stripped of his Pirate clothes and then the crew of his ship find out that Polly was traded and leave him. He returns to London and discovers that Polly has been taken aboard the Queens Flag Ship as part of special club for people who like to eat rare animals. The captain and Darwin go to rescue the Dodo and have a long fight with the Queen and with the help of his crew rescue Polly. He then learns about the true meaning of friendship and the monkey joins his crew, while Darwin gets a girlfriend in the Galapagos.
The film as a whole is quite short and feels quite short but to be fair you can’t really string out an animated film like this for too long or you’ll ruin it. The cast has been well-chosen with Hugh Grant taking the lead role with David Doctor Who Tennant as Charles Darwin and Martin Freeman as Number 2. Other cast members include the Fantastic Lenny Henry and the Incredible Brian Blessed playing the Pirate King.The film has a nice soundtrack but for me the best part of the soundtrack is used in one scene where the pirates sail to London and in the background you can the song London Calling by The Clash, it’s a shame it’s not used anymore in the film.
The film is well written but it is based on a book, so who knows maybe more than one film. It does have a nice Britishness sense about it which makes a nice change from American Pirate films. It has some verbal comedy in it but it’s best comedy is more visual and in case more slapstick including things on the map and the early ships that are plundered.
While this is a pretty short review you cannot say much more about it because it is a pretty short film, but that is not necessarily a bad thing because for a short film there is a lot of content. I mean at the moment it is my third favourite film this year behind The Muppets and a certain film I saw a couple of weeks ago. I do see a possible future series from this film and one that will be exciting to see how it pans out. The film at best is a comedy and so while it does have the scenes you would expect to have in a film such as emotion the comedy pieces are the highlights and really enjoyable, It is all round an enjoyable film and makes a nice change from Wallace and Gromit and Pirates of the Caribbean.