Pirates get lost in translation
The team responsible for the hit film Chicken Run, and the Wallace and Gromit series, are back in the cinema. Aardman Animations has a new, claymation, stop-motion comedy, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
Pirate Captain decides to prove his status and win the Pirate of the Year competition by robbing as many ships as possible. Sadly, time and again, he raids ships carrying lepers and boy scouts, which have little or no treasure.
His moment seems to have come when he meets Charles Darwin, the genius biologist, who tells him he can win a fortune if he sails to the off-limits London. So a determined Pirate Captain follows Darwin's advice ...
The movie, directed by Chicken Run's Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt, really raises the bar with its refined clay figures (check out that beard), and endlessly inventive scenes. New technology mixes clay figures with computer-generated graphics so the film looks and feels 'authentic', but cuts down on the laborious work done by hand.
Sadly, the Chinese-dubbed version isn't worthy of the visuals; all the pirate dialogue is lost in translation. A pirate movie really isn't a pirate movie without regular 'Ahoy there!'s and 'Avast!'s.
Adding jokes about Pirate Captain switching jobs to sell milk powder to mainlanders, and learning Putonghua for better business prospects, felt crass and lame in a Cantonese-language film. So see it, yes - but only in English, as Aardman intended.