Another instant Aardman Animation classic with painstaking dedication to their claymation appearance. There is use of CG for backgrounds and the sea but it does enhance the vision of the film and it doesn’t detract from their unique stop motion style. The characters all feel and look right, there is something just charming about doing cartoons in this manner. Wallace and Gromit were the two clay characters that captured imaginations and set Aardman Animations up into being what it is today. There is so much awe to look at the film and realise how much time went into it, sure hand drawn and CGI animations take time, but to mould and then move plasticine models one tiny inch at a time to get just a few seconds of film is a huge feat that should be applauded.
The story is pretty basic and based on a book, the characters each with their own quirks are what make the film. The Pirate Captain voiced by Hugh Grant is just so bad at being a pirate that you join his cause even if he is foolish and greedy. It being a kids film you know morals will be highlighted and he will turn it around to save the day, but along the way you meet more characters and see crafted set pieces that sweep you along making you feel like a child again. The bathtub scene in Charles Dickens house is amazing and you forget it was done through clay work…incredible.
Another part of the film that makes it great are the jokes and visual gags scattered about in the background on either signs or posters, even the Elephant Man turns up so there are things in there to keep adults interested. It’s a barmy British creation with a quintessentially British line up of voice actors, Brian Blessed is a boomy Pirate King and that’s British enough without including names like Brendan Gleeson, David Tennant, Hugh Grant and Imelda Staunton among others.
The story may not be one that gets you excited to see the film over and over but for the clay style and the work put into it there is at least an excuse to watch it a few more times to look at the effort involved.