The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!

Posted on April 16, 2012. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , |


Told you I wasn’t dead.
I’m still in the deep dark hole of revision for exams, but I escaped for just long enough to make it to a cinema and thought it was about time I actually wrote something on here that wasn’t an apology about not posting.  So what did I go and see with my precious few hours off? The Pirates! of course!

I’ve wanted to see this film ever since I heard it’s utterly brilliant title. (In full, it’s actually: The Pirates: band of misfits, in an adventure with Scientists!) I just love the brazen way they’ve gone, this is slightly silly film about pirates and scientists. Let’s just call it that.  When I then realised this was an Aardman film and had voice talent from pretty much every British actor who happened to walk past the microphone I knew that this was probably going to be something worth venturing to the cinema for.

As we’ve come to expect from Aardman, Pirates! captures a brand of British humour that is kind of hard to define. It’s the attention to detail that makes it work so well, such as the Blue Peter badge in the hat of one of the pirates, and leaves you wanting to see it again to pick up all the other little in jokes. The humour is deadpan and silly, which is a winning combination in a film like this, and manages to tap in to that elusive level that works for both kids and slightly bigger kids.  I particularly liked the generic character names, including  Pirate with Scarf and my personal favourite; Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate, a little nod to the fact that in these big ensemble movies, no one ever remembers the names anyway! (How many POTC crew members can you name?)

The voice cast reads like a who’s who. Hugh Grant is well placed as the slightly too nice for his own good Pirate Captain and Martin Freeman (who can basically do no wrong at the moment) is perfect as the second in command who’s clearly the brains of the outfit.  Imelda Staunton does what she does best, and David Tennant makes a surprisingly good Darwin. Throw in Brendan Gleeson, AshelyJensen, Lenny Henry and even Salma Hayak and you’ve got one of the most eclectic cast lists I’ve ever read, but one that somehow comes together (and lets you play a fun game of name the voice while you’re watching).

Seeing as this is essentially a kids film, you can be forgiven for thinking the plot will be a bit thin, but it actually didn’t feel predictable or generic.  I decided I wanted to see it knowing fairly little about it, and was genuinely surprised by some of the turns the plot took.  I never thought I’d see a British film with a slightly psychotic Queen Victoria  and a snivelly Charles Darwin as it’s villains, and a Pirate Captain (albeit with a luxuriant beard) as the hero you’re rooting for, but there you go. It works!

I shouldn’t really need to convince you to go and see this film. It’s a great bit of fun if, like me, you need to escape for a couple of hours.

And in case you’re worried I’m going to tease you with a post and then disappear again, The Avengers comes out on the 26th April. Guess where I’m going on the 29th… 😉

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