The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists [DVD] 
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Set sail for a fun-filled voyage and hilarious pirate antics with the biggest Band of Misfits on the seven seas! When the infamous Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is shunned once again by his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz, he sets his sights to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award! With his trusted dodo, Polly and rag-tag crew at his side, the Pirate Captain will need to battle a diabolical queen, save a young scientist and never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: Adventure!
The wizards of stop-motion mirth at Britain's Aardman Animations have significantly stepped up their art, craft, and storytelling style in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. Commonly known as Claymation (though the elaborately rendered miniature sets and figures are constructed with high-tech Plasticine), the process involves painstaking manipulation of physical forms to create the smooth movements and clever nuance of character that made Aardman famous with their iconic Wallace & Gromit shorts and the features Chicken Run and Flushed Away. The source material is a series of books by Gideon Defoe that are of the for-kids-and-grownups-alike variety, which means The Pirates! is perfect family fare that has plenty of intelligent asides to counterbalance the wacky and slapstick shenanigans. The story is set on the tropical high seas and in the heart of Victorian London, where Queen Victoria herself (voiced by Imelda Staunton) has a starring role. The movie takes giddy pleasure in making her out to be a nefarious no-goodnik who has plenty of secrets, though none of the lacy unmentionable variety. The real star is the Pirate Captain (a husky-sounding Hugh Grant) who's more interested in procuring cured pork for his ship's regular "Ham Nite" feasts than plundering for valuable booty. This becomes kind of a problem when he enters the Pirate of the Year contest and finds himself up against the stiff competition of Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven), Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), and Peg Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry), all of whom have oodles of jewels and doubloons to back up their bids.
But the Pirate Captain has a bird in the hand that may win him the prize yet. His ship's mascot Polly is not a parrot as he and the crew believe, but rather the world's only surviving dodo, so identified by Charles Darwin (David Tennant) when his famous ship the Beagle is attacked by the pirates. Darwin assures the captain that Polly is worthy of winning him Scientist of the Year and untold riches. So it's off to London and into the malevolent schemes of both Darwin and Victoria. A madcap series of events leads to an air-sea showdown of breathtaking proportions that blends meticulous stop-motion technique with top-flight CG effects. Throughout the movie the attention to detail is sensational, even in the most throwaway gags. An underlying cleverness is woven into every precisely composed scene, adding to the overall sense of comic timing and the meticulous elements of story that imbue every movement. The laughs come fast and furious, especially in several elaborate set pieces that include a wild bathtub ride down a seemingly endless staircase, and the bravura finale that swoops and soars through, over, and around Victoria's behemoth of a steampunk sea vessel. The speed of the jokes and the sophisticated action never overshadow the wildly amusing story and dotingly-thought-out character details. Among the lovable and eloquently voiced ensemble pirate crew are the Pirate with a Scarf (Martin Freeman), the Albino Pirate (Anton Yelchin), the Pirate with Gout (Brendan Gleeson), the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (Ashley Jensen), and the Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens (Al Roker). But more than anyone it's co-directors Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt who are primarily responsible for deftly keeping The Pirates! afloat in what could easily become another memorable Aardman franchise. --Ted Fry
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Top Customer Reviews
Considering the price of these disc in supermarkets now £22 if it has 3D written anywhere near it! this is a good price too
Perhaps for some people the film is not what they were expecting from a pirate adventure - these pirates are not exactly the swashbuckling, ruthless outlaws of popular fiction, although anyone who has read Gideon Defoe's books on which the film is based will have more idea what to expect. Also, as with "Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit", the emotional core of the film is not so much in the plot, but rather in the relationships between the different characters.
Underlying the action of the film are moral messages, only subtly expressed - the middle of the film turns around "the danger of people only liking you because you're famous" (as Gideon Defoe puts it in his children's book version of the film). Ultimately, though, the mood of the film is more positive than this, the characters' actions and their consequences elevating romantic love above the love of money, and placing the value of true friendship above both of these. And I think that's beautiful.
An essential purchase for Shaun the Sheep fans wether they be adult or child!
The appearance of historical characters such as Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin is interesting, especially since they are both central to the plot and given unexpectedly colourful personalities.
While the movie is presumably aimed at kids there are certainly some things put in the script that are aimed at amusing adults, such as the movie title and the names of the pirate crew, e.g. Pirate with Scarf and Pirate with Gout!
The animation is excellent and the voices enthusiastically supplied by the likes of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman and Brendan Gleeson adds greatly to the enjoyment of the viewer.
Kids will probably love it (especially pirate loving ones!) and there is enough in it for adults to put a smile on their faces.
I would have to say that this knocks the spots off most Pixar films which tend not to be quite so sophisticated with the humour nor throw in the odd joke that younger kids might not understand but which will appeal to adults. The flow of jokes is practically non-stop and the action scenes are dealt with style and panache. The shear stupidity of the film is a delight and I love the references to the way that real-life characters like Charles Darwin, Jane Austen and the Elephant Man all manifest the storyline. Pirates of the Caribbean is obviously a point of reference too but that franchise of films were never as much fun as this effort. British humour at it's absolute best and amusing up to the very last credit.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
perfect seller, phenomenal lightning dispatch, magic coms & great item.Slainte !Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Having been a fan of Pirates and Hugh Grant films, this was a must watch! I'm pleased I did! Full of laughs, great story and fantastic animation, this is a perfect example of a... Read morePublished 20 days ago by BatmanFan17
Very clever and very funny, I'll never look at Queen Victoria in quite the same way again 😃Published 1 month ago by PAUL KING