10 Arrrguably Awesome Things About Aardman’s The Pirates!

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The Pirates! tickets (Instagram by Simon Kisner)The Pirates! tickets (Instagram by Simon Kisner)

The Pirates! tickets (Instagram by Simon Kisner)

On Sunday morning my family and I were lucky enough to get hold of some charity preview tickets for Aardman’s latest stop-motion extravaganza “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!“, courtesy of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. I’ll start by saying that we all loved it and, unlike some kids’ blockbusters, we laughed our way through the film together at the same verbal, visual and physical (plasticine based) gag.

While you wait for the next couple days before you head down to the cinema I thought I’d share our top 10 best bits from ‘Pirates’ without any spoliers!

  1. This film will toy with your preconceptions of history. Everything you learned at school could be wrong! Queen Victoria, the gentle, long serving monarch who doted on her Prince? Scrub that! Played by Imelda Staunton, she’s now the Pirate Captain’s arch enemy and is as evil as they come with a unique apetite to match. Charles Darwin features as a proper science geek who has trouble with the girls and the Panama Canal is a short cut that was dug especially for the Pirate Ship to return to Blighty.
  2. On the subject of Darwin… he’s obviously a very busy scientist and every busy scientist is going to need some help. Darwin’s help comes in the shape of his own monkey butler, or manpanzee, Mister Bobo, although Charles hasn’t made the connection yet between himself and his simian companion, in evolutionary terms. Of course, monkeys don’t talk so keep your eye on his own unique way of communicating.
  3. The fabled Pirate King only appears a couple of times in the film but if I had the option to make every one of my top 10 best bits Brian Blessed I would! All of the voices in this film are superbly cast from Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman and David Tennant to Salma Hayek and Jeremy Piven, but this is quite possibly the role that Brian Blessed was born to play! As well as reveling in every moment this rhinestone encrusted Elvis jump-suited Pirate King is on screen, it’s also worth watching out for the options for pirate laugh on the entry form for ‘Pirate of the Year’.
  4. Superb cameo appearances from a band of well known scientists plus a special mention for John Merrick, the Elephant Man.
  5. 1837 has a lot of steampunk. Check out the lift that takes the Pirate Captain to Queen Victoria’s throne room, the coin-op cannons on the pirate ship and the airship that gives Darwin a view to behold.
  6. There is no cheesy soundtrack for this film. It will probably pass the kids by but there are cracking tunes from Tenpole Tudor, Supergrass and The Clash to name a few. All perfectly placed and primed for a little parent sing-a-long.
  7. It’s nothing new, but the 3D is superb. If you have the choice to go 3D rather than 2D then shell out the extra few quid (or go on your own!!). There are a few cutlass at the camera moments but it certainly helps to keep you immersed in the action all the way through to the end.
  8. As with a lot of kids films, and certainly Aardman films, there are many small details to look out for but far too many to list here. The first one you’ll notice and might have already seen in the trailers, is the small Blue Peter badge that adorns the hat of one of the sea-dogs. It’s the perfect way to draw parents in to this kids film. If you miss all of the signs, posters and other pieces of ephemera then hang in there for the credit sequence where you’ll be able to see them all again.
  9. When is a pirate not a pirate? When he’s a Girl Guide! The pirate crew have a penchent for dressing up and there are a few superb disguises to watch out for.
  10. Finally, of course, luxuriant beards.

If you’re in the UK, you’ve only got a couple of days to wait until this hits your local cinema so save up your pennies and enjoy the ride. If you’re in the US, you’ll have to wait a bit longer until April 27th – and you’ll actually be seeing “The Pirates! Band of Misfits“, but don’t worry, it’s the same film!

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