Sunday, April 29, 2012

THE PIRATES! - scalawags, booty, fisticuffs and... Darwin... oh my

Nick Park (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run) it isn't but close enough to be thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and... educational? Awesome for kids and most adults I should think.

Claymation is a wonder to behold on the big screen. Stop motion in the cinema has been with us, arguably, since Muybridge's horses from 1878. It ceases to fascinate me when you think that what you are viewing on screen is 24 still pictures a second and wallah! apparent motion. Somebody is moving the clay, ever so delicately, thousands of times to get the result you see.

The captain pirate of his crew is down on his luck retrieving booty. He wants to be pirate of the year and so sets off to acquire the most gold. After many failed attempts, he lands on none other than the HMS Beagle, Darwin's ship. The captain has a dodo which he believes to be a parrot. Darwin of course notices this and suggests they go to London to show it off to the Royal Society. The queen gets involved who hates pirates and tries to get the extinct dodo bird from the captain to eat with her rich friends. Many evolutionary jokes ensue and skullduggery run amok. Interestingly, in real life, Darwin was in fact part of the Gourmet or Glutton society which did partake in the eating of odd animals.

Kids will be happy and enjoy the fantasy of pirating and adults can appreciate the beautiful animation and subtext of evolution. I'm not sure I like that they made Darwin out to be a bit sinister which could stay with some children but for some it may be their first introduction and how perfect for an array of interesting questions. Nonetheless, the illusory child prodigy of Willis O'Brien, Ray Harryhausen, would be proud of the visual effects in this pirate adventure.

Recommended Viewing: Wallace & Gromit (2005) - Chicken Run - Jason and the Argonauts

              Bob Scale: Objective: 7.0   -   Subjective: 7.6
             MetaCritic: 73
 Rotten Tomatoes: 87
                      IMDB: 7.1

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