Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
The source for The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a short comic novel The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists by Gideon Defoe. Aardman co-founder Peter Lord directed this latest animated film from Aardman Animation, the famous creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run.
We are presented with a colourful collection of clay characters that are painstakingly manipulated frame-by-frame with 3-D CG backgrounds of landscapes, buildings and seascapes of artstic quality. Aarman has proven once again how their flawless attention to detail has created a wonderful collection of clay characters that are not over-shadowed by CG special effects.
There is no denying Aardman leads the way when it comes to this form of clay craftmanship, but the colourful characters don't deliver the entertainment and laughs I have come to expect.
The slapstick antics got laughs from the children in attendance during my screening, but at other times there was little laughter to be heard during my screening. Certainly not the lively reponses Aardman's earlier films received, or other studios' animated movies like Ice Age or Finding Nemo. At times the quite subtle oddball humour was more directed towards adults with reference to historical figures such as Jane Austin, the Elephant Man and Lord Sandwich (the policeman who lifts his hat to reveal a sandwich).
Hugh Grant (Love Actually, and Bridget Jones's Diary) gives his usual bumbling baritones to the leading character named Pirate Captain. He's the bungling and insecure pirate leader of crew of buccaneers, who are more at home with celebrating 'Ham Nite' than plundering the seas for gold and treasures.
The Pirate Captain has ambitions of winning the "Pirate of the Year' award, but unfortunately he and his crew haven't been all that successful in collecting booty. They meet Charles Darwin who suggests that the Pirate Captain's parrot is actually the last-remaining dodo, and would qualify for the Royal Society's Scientific discovery of the year award. The only problem is they must get it by the ruthless Queen Victoria who hates pirates.
This was Grant's first role in animation. One curious thing was Grant's voice, which my friends and I had difficulty in recognising. Grant's usually distinctive voice wasn't so recognisable, well not to us anyway. It didn't distract from his performance, just was an interesting occurence, that's all. We enjoyed his voice- over along with the other actors.