After weeks of hearing good buzz, I was finally able to screen Aardman/Sony Pictures Animation’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits on Saturday morning. (U.K. readers will recognize the film’s subtitle as In an Adventure with Scientists.)
I’ve gotta say the buzz was mostly right.
While the central storyline—Pirate Captain’s quest to win the “Pirate of the Year Award”—didn’t grab me (as a comic macguffin, was it meant to?), the movie is a fun experience overall and plays well to audiences regardless of age.
The tongue-in-cheek, historical fiction subplot is admirably original. A besotted Charles Darwin duped into kidnapping a dodo by Queen Victoria, who turns out to be a exotic animal eating menace? Check.
Everyone who sees The Pirates! will absolutely respect the team at Aardman for their artistry. Five minutes in and you’ve forgotten all about its stop-motion origins. The character animation and set design is the best the studio has ever done.
The Pirates! opens in North American theatres this Friday.