Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Best Thing About Pirates is Ham Nite

Besides the fact that the only way I could watch this marvelous film in wonderful 2D was to see it surrounded by screaming children who didn't understand anything that was going on, I really enjoyed this film.

Most of the jokes in the film I only heard adults laughing and annoying children behind me talking (breaking a law of the cinema). I did laugh out loud, as hoped, but at the oddest things. Most were gestures and expressions, things that would go way over children's heads. At times there was complete silence when I was laughing loudly. My point is, that this is not a children's film, simply because they didn't get the jokes.

For those who don't know Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, is adapted from a book of the same name by Gideon Defoe. He has also written various other tales involving the Pirates where they go on adventures with Communists, with Whaling and Napoleon. This particular story involves the Pirate Captain wanting to enter the prestigious Pirate of the Year competition. But the only way he can win is to plunder himself a large amount of 'booty', money or gold to you and me. But while trying and failing to find one boat that has any gold, the crew find a ship with wimpy love sick Charles Darwin. But before they can make him walk the plank, he discovers that Polly the parrot is in fact a Dodo, a creature thought to have been extinct for 150 years. He suggests that they take Polly to London and present her at the Scientist of the Year awards to win 'untold treasures'. So begins the adventure for fame and fortune and for the ultimate prize, the Pirate of the Year trophy.

Of course every story needs a crazy villain, in this story it isn't a rival pirate, at one point it is Charles Darwin but ultimately it is her majesty Queen Victoria. What happens at the end after a big reveal is very amusing, involving Queen Victoria turning into a crazy assassin.

Aardman really have outdone themselves. The story is perfect for their very British ways and excellent humour. I have been looking forward to this film ever since I went Empire's (very disappointing) Big Screen event last summer. One of the few highlights was seeing the Aardman presentation which featured The Pirates! heavily. Luckily Pirates in general haven't been ruined yet by the Johnny Depp franchise, so I was very excited about the film. We were shown behind the scene footage, the animation process and clips from the film that took 5 years to make.

The characters are brilliant, each with their own trademark such as The Pirate with Gout. They have been crafted out as individuals instead of the 'general background'. We are introduced to them arguing over what the best thing about being a pirate is, the looting or the cutlass'. All the Captain has to do is stroll in and correct them. The best thing about being a pirate is, Ham Night (but spelt Nite in the film) and I agree, Ham Nite looks the best, plus its HAM! The Pirate Captain is of course a stand out as the ambitious fool in charge of follows who don't really know what they're doing. They are all likable, but not as loveable as Polly, who is the cutest parrot/dodo ever to grace the silver screen. I particularly enjoyed the fact that everyone else in the film knows it too. The Captain is forever going gooey eyed over her. The attention to every detail is amazing, with the shop names to small captions and Manpanze's (Darwin's monkey butler) cue cards.

Another random favourite moment of mine was when rival pirate, Black Belamy, (Jeremy Piven) arrives on the scene in a giant whale. Just watching this creature flying through the air was hilarious but sometime later when the Pirate Captain and his crew leave the scene, the whale is still sitting there. It was the expression that got me. Brilliant.

If you haven't seen it yet, do, but don't bother with 3D, there is no need for it. 2D is amazing without effects. Finally I leave with a link to the website because its really fun! http://www.thepirates-movie.co.uk/site/

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