Just when I decided, with the help of you fine folk, to try to see John Carter, it had been pulled from the cinema. So I went to my next option, which was the Aardman animation The Pirates. Boy, what a great movie!
The animation is superb, and it boggles my mind that it is all done with stop-motion claymation. Wallace and Gromit were one thing, but with Pirates they have really gone to a completely different level.
The humour is very fast and sometimes almost hard to catch - there are many instances that will have to be enjoyed using the pause button with the DVD simply because they go by too quickly, like a fifteen-item list of 'Captain's Rules' pinned to the wall in one scene, or a myriad of street signs like the Man-Kee Chinese Laundry, or the tavern that has Cockney Baiting every week.
I was a bit disappointed that they edited the controversial leper joke. In the trailer, the Pirate Captain swings into a ship and demands gold, whereupon some poor soul says, 'Gold? We've got no gold, young man. This is a leper ship!' And as he waves, his arm drops off. In the movie, he instead says, 'This is a plague ship'. Good lord, some leprosy organization in India was angry that it 'contributed to misconceptions about leprosy'. Who in their right mind would think that it makes people's limbs just fall off???
I practically wet myself in this movie. The pirates all have great names like, 'Pirate with Gout' (a fat pirate), 'Albino Pirate' (nuff said), and the 'Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate', who is obviously a woman in a big fake beard, but everyone thinks she's a he. When she gets excited, she speaks in a woman's voice, then suddenly corrects herself and repeats herself in a deep, masculine woman's voice. It's so cool. There's big chase scenes, action scenes, a brief musical number, and scores of crazy jokes that come thick and fast.
I knew very little about the movie apart from it being an Aardman animation, so when certain historical characters turned up, I was very surprised and pleased. I won't spoil it for anyone else, so you can enjoy it just as much. But things take really strange turns, so just go see the movie. If you like Aardman animation and the Aardman style of humour you will love The Pirates.