January 23, 2013
Even as a child I was never a fan of clay animation like Gumby and the like. I just found them not too attractive or interesting. Therefore even as I grew up to be an adult, even more recent clay motion type of animation still did not interest me. This includes all the previous productions of Aardman Animations, home of "Wallace and Grommit" and "Chicken Run." Now this year, Aardman's latest output "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" made it as a nominee for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, so I decided that this would be my initial taste of Aardman.
Truth to tell, "The Pirates!" did not really appeal to me at the start. The clay animation initially did not look too interesting and the dry British humor was not too easy to get. However, with some patience, when the story got to the part where this past-his-prime Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) was joining the "Pirate of the Year" contest, I got hooked into the groove of the funny story. Since he could not cut it anymore as a real pirate, so, with the help of his odd but trusty crew, he had to resort to more, shall we say, "inventive" means to get the loot. I could not say much more without spoiling the hilarious plot, but I had a great time with the rest of the movie.
I don't think this is really meant for kids at all. The humor was pretty mature and more for the kids-at-heart. I think a lot of the humorous lines may just fly over the heads of many young kids. I don't know if there had been any controversy with the unorthodox way Charles Darwin (David Tennant) and Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) were portrayed in this film. Their inclusion of these historical personalities added another layer of interest for me, though maybe not necessarily for non-British kids who don't know . There were also important lessons about loyalty, integrity and honor. I personally enjoyed this film very much, and it piqued my interest to maybe check out other Aardman productions in the future.