Monday, 26 March 2012

The Pirates! In An Annoyingly Punctuated And Grammatically Questionable Adventure With Scientists

The latest futile attempt by animation boffins Aardman to come up with anything nearly as amazing as the Wallace & Gromit shorts predictably fails to do so, but if you enjoy the non-murdery, non-kidnappy, non-rapey side of piracy then this is certainly a better way to spend a couple of hours than watching Johnny Depp twatting about with knitted pubes dangling from his chin.
Technically, the animation on display here is as nipple-tinglingly great as you'd expect: The subtlest of emotions and expressions that would be beyond, say, Roger Moore, are conveyed with astonishing skill by the precision squidging of lumps of Plasticene. Still, technical brilliance does not a perfect film make, right Avatar?

Fortunately The Pirates! gets by with some pleasingly British humour, a lead character with a massive hairy scrotum hanging off his face, the inspired casting of certain historical figures as villains and an abundance of background detail and visual gags packed into every frame that means a Blu-ray viewing with pause button at the ready is inevitable. Of course some of us already enjoy the heavy pausing of DVDs featuring facefuls of massive hairy scrota, but that's...uh... oh never mind.

Sadly the film never quite gets going, despite a couple of impressive set pieces (which are rendered virtually unwatchable by Superblurrovision, or "3D" as it's commonly known). Hugh Grant does well not to be distractingly Hugh Granty as the voice of the Pirate Captain, but he doesn't get the chance to go as crackers as the film's tone demands, and the obvious attempts to create the new Gromit - a silent monkey whose single joke wears thin very fast and a dodo who dodoesn't dodo much - fail to make much of an impression.
As long-anticipated kidult movies go though, it's still better than The Muppets and at least features Flight Of The Conchords' own version of 'I'm Not Crying' rather than a shameful rip-off. Screw you, Muppologists!

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