Although I’ve always enjoyed virtually everything that has come out of the Aardman studio over the last seventeen or so years, I would never class myself as a claymation connoisseur. With their latest feature film, I could soon be a fully committed member of the fan club.
Along with his steadfast loyal seamen, the approapriately named Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) goes on a quest to find his biggest booty of the year in a last ditched attempt to become the winner of the coveted Pirate of the Year award. Not really striking it lucky, the crew stumble across a piteous scientist called Charles Darwin (voiced by former Mr Who ‘that’s doctor who, to you!’ David Tennant), who promises to turn their rags into riches in ol’ Victorian London.
Suffice to say, The Pirates! is both my favourite Aardman feature to date, and also the company’s funniest. Even if the story is hurried and the depth of the gags, which come through thick and fast, mostly went unnoticed by my three year nephew, I was left rolling around in my seat. The film is so meticulously crafted that everything from script, to voices, to animation, is nothing short of perfect.
Pirates are great. Plundering excursions, sailing the seven seas, conversational poultry and unshakeable scurvy, what’s not to love?