The Pirates! In an Adventure with ScientistsWhen you have a rip-rollicking adventure with Brian Blessed, Charles Darwin, and a dodo, it’s hard to go wrong.

Especially when you learn it’s the latest Aardmaan Animation adventure, which probably rates alongside Disney Pixar as the world’s favourite studio.

Throw in a good dose of Blackadder-style humour and you have a sure-fire hit on your hands.

The Pirates follows the exploits of the simply-named Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), a rather nerdy character who has set his tricorner hat at the Pirate of the Year competition.

However, he has some stiff competition in the form of Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven), Cutlass Liz – a Rihanna lookalike (voiced by Salma Hayek), and Peg-Leg Hastings (Lenny Henry).

Fresh hope is ignited after he invades the ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant), who promises to help the Captain win the competition, with the help of his dodo, in exchange for his life.

From the high seas the high-jinks continue back home in Blighty as the Captain enters the Scientist of the Year competition, judged by Queen Victoria, who is cartoonishly complicitous.

Plenty of escapades follow as the various characters battle for supremacy ahead of the glitzy award ceremony, and I’ll leave you to guess whether our loveable hero comes out on top.

The animation, as you would expect from Aardman, is once again stunning.

With an immaculate attention to detail and scenes packed with sight-gags and in-jokes, the film would probably be just as much fun if there were no dialogue.

But dialogue there is, with director Peter Lord having assembled a mightily impressive cast that not only includes the aforementioned stars, but also the likes of Brendan Gleeson, Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton.

Everybody seems to be having a great time, and that energy crosses to the audience.

If I was to have a complaint, it would be that, while I was undoubtedly amused for pretty much the entire running time, there was a lack of real belly laughs.

But it is still fair to say The Pirates is a warm-hearted jape that kids and adults will love in equal measure.

About The Author

Rhian is a freelance journalist and editor living in London. A film fan for as long as she can remember, her tastes cover the entire spectrum of cinema.