¨You´ll see I will be Pirate of the Year! And then you´ll be laughing on the other side of your faces.¨
I was pleasantly surprised with this movie as I was catching up with the nominated animation films. I hadn’t really heard of it before the nominations, but was glad it received the recognition it got because this really is a fun and silly movie that the entire family can enjoy. My favorite animated film of the year continues to be Wreck-it Ralph, but this is still much better than Pixar´s Brave. The Pirates is one of those rare animated movies that will appeal to a diverse audience thanks to the subtle and clever jokes and puns that the British have us all familiar with. The animation is very detailed and skillful here considering this isn’t a computer generated animated movie; it´s stop-motion and was produced by Aardman, the same production company that brought us such great animated films as Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. Directors Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt also worked in Chicken Run; and in my opinion have perfected their craft here. You can´t make a movie about pirates without having some sort of exciting adventure, and this movie delivers a real fun and clever adventure that adults and kids will enjoy alike. It has the typical silly and dry British humor that we all love so much. The screenplay was adapted by Gideon Defoe from his own novels about the pirates. I had a really fun time with all the jokes and puns, and really loved these funny characters. They were as luxuriant as the Pirate Captain´s beard.
The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) dreams of becoming Pirate of the Year but has failed to do so for the past twenty years as he isn’t considered one of the favorites to take home the prize. His crew loves him and remains faithful to him, but are as quirky as he is and are not taken seriously by other pirates. The favorites are always Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven), Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), and Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry) who have a great amount of booty and treasures. The Pirate Captain knows that in order to win the prize he will need to find a great treasure so he begins his quest with his crew by raiding several ships unsuccessfully. Right when he´s about to give up, the Pirate Captain encounters a ship where a young Charles Darwin (David Tennant) discovers that his beloved pet, Polly, is not actually a parrot, but a rare bird that was thought to have been extinct decades ago. He convinces the Pirate Captain to travel to London with the dodo where he promises him great riches for his discovery, but Charles has a hidden agenda of his own and everything is not what it seems. The Pirate Captain´s Second Assistant (Martin Freeman) warns him about the dangers of traveling to London, but he insists on finding these riches. In London, the Pirate Captain and his crew must avoid being discovered as pirates because Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) is known for hating pirates. Thus the adventure begins. Arrr.
This is the first time Hugh Grant voices an animated character, but he does it masterfully creating one of the most enthusiastic and beloved characters of the movie. David Tennant, Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton all stand out in this film, but Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, and Lenny Henry really don´t have much screen time here. I really had a fun time with this stop-motion animated film and laughed several times at the clever gags and jokes. I hope more people get to watch this fun adventure because it is a movie that the entire family can enjoy and that is just a commodity that is rare to find these days. So if you have the opportunity to see this don’t hesitate and check it out.