Following the mildly disappointing Wallace and Gromit movie, rat-com Flushed Away and the sweet but slight Arthur Christmas, a case could have been made that Aardman Animation was losing its mojo. Well, said spark is back in this deliriously entertaining tale of a pirate crew and their efforts to become scientific boffins.
Hugh Grant voices The Pirate Captain, whose attempts to become Pirate of the Year are thwarted because, well, he’s not very good. But when kidnapped naturalist Charles Darwin points out that the Captain’s parrot is in fact the last living dodo, the merry crew set sail for London to present their find to the Royal Society.
Movies such as the Shrek series have largely devalued the idea of a film aimed at both kids and parents, but The Pirates! gets the balance spot on. Kids will be enthralled by the slapstick and yo-ho-ho-ing, while the olds will get a kick out of the intricate visual detail, sparkling wit and wild historical inaccuracies: find us another movie in which Jane Austen chucks a mug at the Elephant Man. Glorious.