The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!
Aardman hold a well established position in the UK film industry as the premier animation studios. Their Wallace and Gromit films are a thing of childlike beauty and are revered by adults in a way that is not entirely healthy. So it wasn’t that much of a surprise to see about 20 people in a 21:15 screening of their new film Pirates!, even though absolutely none of them were children. And the film is for children, whatever nostalgic and knowing factors might be present- it’s a searing adventure across the seas and through 19th Century London. For kids.
I think it’s important to make the point that this doesn’t have Wallace and Gromit’s short film origins. It a beautiful and lovingly crafted tale, yes, but this is a more mercenary project, an out and out family film. Stars like Hugh Grant (being wonderfully Hugh Grantish), David Tennant and even cameos from Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven, grace this animation, given the financial might of Sony. But despite its monetary position, the film still, first and foremost, bears the marks of Aardman’s love and creativity. This has the same silly sense of adventure that has been the hallmark of their previous works and, God willing, will continue to be so.
The story moves very briskly and is stronger when the band are at sea, sometimes accompanied by Charles Darwin and a parrot that’s actually a dodo. When we’re in London we’re confronted by Queen Victoria/Dolores Umbridge who seems to want to get hold of Hugh Grant’s beloved dodo for purposes unknown. But the real strength of The Pirates! is when it lets the pirates be pirates (in a very PG way) and just maraud around the sea in search of the coveted ‘Pirate of the Year’ award. But it’s strengths outweigh it’s deficiencies in terms of plot.
Though it ought to focus itself on the seas, The Pirates! is a great family adventure from the greatest ever British animation studios.
|Title:||The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!|
|Starring:||Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, Salma Hayek, Brendan Gleeson|
|Running Time:||90 odd minutes|